Bix’s journey: the ordeal in Atlanta

Update May 11, 2011, from Joe Power-Drutis

(Editor’s Note: The Y-12 trial is in its third day; click here for updates.)

Many apologies for the delay in receiving information; I have been
experiencing some problems getting the word out. Should go more
smoothly from here on out.

I arrived in Knoxville on Saturday May 7th, that evening I visited Bix
at the Knox County Detention Facility. Each inmate is limited to 2 –
30 minute visits each week; not very much time for family and friend
support. Once you pass through security, your allotted 30 minute time
slot begins; then comes a long walk down 3 very long hallways,
precious minutes of your visitation time used up in the walk. I
observed some visitors using canes and walkers, obviously requiring
them to use up even more of their visitation time. Other visitors
walked quickly, some ran.

You finally arrive in a cubby hole of a space with a steel bench and a
3 x 4 foot, one inch thick glass barrier surrounded by concrete block;
a phone hangs on your wall to the left with a cord that extends barely
long enough for you to both talk and look through the glass – that
will be the extent of intimacy allotted for you to visit.

This next part I want to share with you contains some of the reason
why I have been delayed in writing to you – I just needed time to
process.

I am not sure what I expected to encounter but, what I did see was a
broken and very hurting soul. Pale, frail, mildly shaky, complaining
of being unable to hear because of fluid in his ears, dizziness and
lightheadedness, pointing with his fingers that he is struggling to
push the right numbers on the phone – eyes glassed over, flat affect,
and complaining that his gait is so poor, yet he has been commanded to
“keep moving”, requesting a wheelchair and being refused. (Well that
was the easy part to listen to) – Then he began to talk about the week
he spent in Atlanta.

Looking back we all spoke of our grave concern of his traveling via
federal prisoner transport, but I sincerely believe none of us
realized he was going to go through at the Atlanta Federal
Penitentiary.

He went onto tell me, with tears in his eyes, that he was placed in a
cell and locked in there, with woefully inadequate bedding and
clothing, for a week. He repeatedly asked guards for clothing and an
extra blanket, and was laughed at and ignored. At some point after
repeated requests, another inmate gave up his loan blanket to Bix.

Bix’s medical problems create a lack of blood and oxygen to his hands
and feet; leaving those extremities white and ice cold when his
overall body temperature falls. Following this, much like one drowning
in a frozen body of water, your hands, and feet are filled with pain,
like being jabbed repeatedly with needles. He then spoke of the never
ending pain, leading to sleep deprivation, insomnia and ultimately
disassociation and hallucinations.

Bix was certainly aware of what he was doing as he walked onto the
base at Bangor and across the blue line at Y-12; and for these acts he
is ready to remain in prison and pay the ultimate price. But, this in
no way permits this system of criminal injustice to do what it has
done to him. These unjust and unlawful acts perpetrated on him in his
trip from Seattle are tantamount to torture.

I have consulted with his attorneys both here and in Tacoma; legal
avenues are being looked at to ensure Bix is not returned to SeaTac in
the same form of prison transport that was used to bring him to
Knoxville.

On a happier note: Kathy Boylan and I went to see him on Sunday
evening and we could see even then that his overall frame of mind had
improved.

On Monday, May 9th, the trial began for Bix and 11other defendants
charged with trespassing at the Department of Energy Y-12 facility in
Oakridge TN on July 5, 2010. Today is the 3rd day of the trial and
there have been some very interesting moments and words spoken that I
will share with you soon.

Editor’s Note: You can read all about the “interesting moments” at the Y-12 trial at The Nuclear Abolitionist Blog “Y-12 Witness page.

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