Improper Imprisonment of U.S. Congressman

From a mail list post:

From Mon Nov 17 14:27:05 1997
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 97 19:06:00 GMT
Subject: [UWSA] Congressman tortured (long)

(Sorry if this has already been posted. It is a shocking story of torture in Federal prison. -- Dave)

The Government Wrongfully Drove GEORGE HANSEN, A 7-Term Veteran Lawmaker, Out of Congress, Sent Him to Prison and Destroyed Him and His Family Financially! It took ten long years, but the U.S.Supreme Court now confirms that federal prosecution of Congressman George Hansen SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED!

That high court decision is now a year and a half old, and this 66 year-old embattled veteran congressman still awaits action by his old colleagues to clear the record and provide him urgent and reasonable compensation for this great injustice.

Hansen Was Right All Along!

Former Representative George Hansen always said he was wrongly prosecuted for lying on his financial disclosure forms. Twelve long years later, he turns out to have been right.

Congressman George Hansen was a seven term congressman from Idaho at the time of his prosecution. Ex-Representative Richard Stallings, the Democrat who defeated Hansen in 1984, said the conviction was the key. "George could have had the 2nd district as long as he wanted. If he hadn't gotten in trouble, he'd probably be the Chairman of the Banking Committee."

Hansen would be in his 14th term now. "If you want to play "What if" games, there would have been a lot of things... chairmanships, leaderships..." Hansen said, "But I just don't look back."

Hansen's 1984 conviction cost him his bid for an eighth term in 1984-- by a mere 170 votes. It also brought incarceration in a federal prison and a $40,000 fine. In December of 1995, the conviction was vacated by the trial judge in Washington D.C.(ED: Who took 5 months to release George!), because the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled the law, under which Hansen was convicted, applied only to the executive branch.

Hansen got back his $40,000, but wants a Lot more. He's asking the House to withdraw its reprimand and pay him for legal fees and lost wages. "I feel like the guy On Boot Hill with the tombstone that says. "Hanged by Mistake," Hansen said.

Congressman Hansen was one of the first members of Congress to point a finger at the IRS. In the late 70s he wrote a book called "To Harass Our People". He was the first to get a full scale investigation into the crimes of the IRS against the American people. His outrage over what he discovered caused him to write and help pass the "Taxpayers Bill of Rights." Without George Hansen, the IRS would be the American equal to the Gestapo by now.

George Hansen was also the first member of congress to introduce the idea of the flat tax.(ED: GEORGE NOW EMBRACES THE NATIONAL RETAIL SALES TAX!) Hansen clearly saw the unfairness of the current tax laws and was trying to correct them for the good of all Americans, not just the rich elite. When he went to prison, his love of his fellow man and his reputation for trying to help

Americans allowed him to live among the prison population with no fear of the prisoners.

The harassment and torture that befell Congressman Hansen came from prison officials, in the form of neglect for serious medical problems and health hazards in the prison work place. The torture also came from the Federal Marshals who cruelly transported him from one prison to another.

Political prisoners (ED: Political prisoners? In America?? You betcha!!!) and those who are considered trouble makers arc given what prisoners call, "diesel therapy". "Diesel therapy" consists of being put on diesel busses or airplanes and being transported from prison to prison for weeks and months at a time (ED: ALL at the expense of the taxpayers!).

On the surface it sounds benign. What could be the problem with making a prisoner ride in a bus for hours at a time?

Torture American Style

Before the prisoner is put on the bus, he is put in handcuffs and shackles (leg irons). The handcuffs are tightened by a black box that stiffens the chains and puts the wrists in a 90 degree bind that painfully cuts circulation and damages the nerves. It takes several weeks for the circulation and nerves to return to normal. The handcuffs are connected with chains to a waist chain, which is in turn connected by another chain to the shackles which go around the ankles The prisoner can barely move once the shackling process is complete.

He is then placed in a small seat on a bus or airplane. (ED: George Hansen is a BIG man, standing well over 6'-3" and -- before his ordeal -- tipping the scales at well over 220 pounds.) Because of the shackles, the prisoner is forced to sit in one position for up to 20 hours at a time. And the guards will rarely go to the trouble of unshackling a prisoner. Prisoners who understand "diesel therapy" know that "fasting" is the only way to handle the ordeal without messing or wetting yourself.

But even those who are smart enough to abstain from food and drink, still have to suffer the stench of urine and feces which soon fills the bus or plane.

One other painful aspect of diesel therapy is the shoes that prisoners are forced to wear. They become too small. The cramped position and tight shackles cause the feet and ankles to swell. The shackles cut into the legs and cut off circulation. The blood pools in the feet and causes the feet to swell. The toes are forced up against the tops of the too small shoes, and unbelievable pressure is put on the toenails. The toenails soon become deformed, infected and painful.

Each day the metal shackles are put back onto raw and infected legs before the prisoner boards the bus. After weeks and months of diesel therapy, the ankles and shins have raw, infected and open wounds that will not heal.

Hour after hour, the prisoner sits in a cramped & painful position, with shackles cutting into already infected, raw flesh. Arthritis and bursitis compound the misery of the prisoners. The ingrown, infected toenails, which are jammed inside of purposely small shoes, cripple the prisoner to the point that he can barely walk or move when he is finally released from the shackles.

During the weeks and months of diesel therapy, the prisoner is out of contact with the rest of the world. In the case of Congressman Hansen, his wife did not know if he was dead or alive. His lawyer could not find him and therefore could not file court papers on time. Even the members of congress who were still trying to help him, could not locate him. During his diesel therapy" he disappeared into the black hole dug and run by the United States Marshals.

After "diesel therapy", Hansen was forced to operate on his feet himself. His toenails were so deformed that they pointed straight up. He could not wear shoes without excruciating pain. The only remedy that was open to him was to pull the toenails out by the roots. Our prisoners of war in SE Asia had their fingernails and toenails pulled out by their torturers. Congressman Hansen had to become his own torturer in an effort to stop the pain.

Several weeks ago, Congressman Hansen was testifying before his former colleagues in the House of Representatives. He told the story of his trip into Iran during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. He was the only United States official to get into Iran to try to negotiate an end to the crisis.

While he was there, he was shown the horrible human suffering that was inflicted upon the Iranian people by the Shah of Iran and his secret police.

He told his former colleagues about the horrors of the Shah's torture chambers. Ankles that had been smashed by heavy clubs. Legs that had been smashed and permanently scarred. Hands and feet that had no nails because they were repeatedly pulled out.

Then he stood up and walked around in front of his table. Leaning lightly on the table, he pulled up his pant leg and showed his former colleagues the raw, red scars on his own legs -- scars that stretched many inches, from his ankles up his shin bones. He told his former colleagues about his toenails, which have never grown back properly. He ended his "show and tell" session by informing the House that they did not have to travel to foreign countries to witness torture. All they had to do is visit any American prison and they would quickly find the effects of purposeful abuse and neglect on certain prisoners.

If his former colleagues have any sense, they will quickly reform the prison system, before any more of them end up there.

The scars on his legs and the lack of toenails were minor problems for Hansen. The major pain came from his teeth and deteriorating bones. These problems came from hazardous chemicals he was forced to work around during his job assignment in the prison power plant. The chemicals caused his bones to weaken and his teeth to become infected and turn to mush. (ED: Where oh where is OSHA and the EPA when ya' REALLY need 'em?). The pain' of abscessed teeth was unbearable. To be able to function each day, without even an aspirin to dull the pain, he picked up a plastic cap used to splice electric wires. He placed the cap in the infected area and bit down on it all day and night.

During his four years in prison, he lost most of his teeth through willful neglect on the part of the prison officials.

Hansen was forced to sell his homes in Virginia and Idaho. Everything he and his wife had accumulated during years of hard work went to lawyers or to pay the fine. Even though his retirement was not supposed to be touched, through some nefarious deal, it was tapped to pay fines, thereby denying his wife the means to live. She was approaching sixty, had a heart condition and diabetes, but she was put out of her home and didn't even have the money to rent an apartment. With the help of their children and a job, she just barely made ends meet until Hansen was released.

They are now in their 60s and they are starting over with nothing. He still has health problems associated with prison life, and still needs further dental work. He drives a leased Honda and lives with his wife in a rented apartment in Pocatello, Idaho. Thankfully, his federal pension has been restored.

"They almost made us homeless, but when this is all over, it will all be erased." Hansen is an optimist who is now awaiting the action by his old colleagues which will clear the record and provide him urgent and reasonable compensation for this great injustice.

Rangel Petitions the House To Reverse Hansen's Reprimand

On June 27, 1996, Representative Charles B.Rangel (D,NY), wrote a letter on Hansen's behalf to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct -- the same Committee that just passed judgement on Newt Gingrich:

"I am writing on behalf of our former colleague George Hansen in the hope that your Committee will take appropriate action to allow the full House of Representatives to consider and vote on the question of vacating the July 31,1984 reprimand of then-Representative Hansen.

"This is the only case in which a Member of Congress was prosecuted under 18 U.S.C.1001 for the content of filings under the Ethics in Government Act, convicted, served the time and paid the fine, only to have the conviction overturned ten years later.

"The Courts have recognized that the conviction was improper, with retroactive effect. The House of Representatives should also consider the matter in the light of conditions existing at that time.

"Clearly, Mr. Hansen has suffered enough and it is time that his name be cleared in this body which he served for seven terms with dedication and distinction. Therefore, I am appealing to the Committee to reconsider its earlier decision and take action to vacate the reprimand."

Hensen is still awaiting the decision of the committee.

Medical Neglect Is the Equivalent of Torture

While in Washington, Hansen presented Congress with a medical statement part of which is excerpted below: (ED: We will send the full medical statement to anyone requesting it.)

"Upon my release from federal custody on March 8, 1996, I have spent the past 24 weeks in an intense effort to seek the medical and dental relief so long denied me by the federal government. This was not easy because so many serious problems had developed during the three years I had been held in medical limbo that it was not a simple thing to develop and coordinate the many necessary treatments all begging for early attention.

"There was also the problem of limitations in my insurance coverage and having the necessary funds available to meet the abnormal demands my emergency medical and dental needs presented. A quick professional evaluation showed the dental requirements alone to be 1argely uncovered by insurance with costs estimated at $10,000 and perhaps much more.

"People could hardly believe what they saw in the examination of my condition. I could only explain that I am a victim of the government game of 'select and neglect.'" People are told that you are being assigned to an easy 'white-collar' institution: But the real truth is that you can then be selectively assigned to hazardous jobs and conditions with no protection, or be selectively sent on extended bus and airplane trips in chains with hardened and dangerous criminals where you remain harshly bound hand and foot, for 18 to 20 hours a day in the most cramped and confining circumstances -- a treatment called 'diesel therapy.' Blood circulation and pinched nerves never quite recover from this as my current health situation will attest.

It is this selective treatment that seriously undermines your health to begin with. Then you get the second phase which is the neglect treatment, where you are denied or cleverly discouraged from obtaining needed medical and dental relief -- a very painful time when you are dealing with painful abscesses and infection, severe swellings, open sores and even more serious matters involving internal organs. Having most of my perfectly good teeth rapidly deteriorate to shattered remnants broken off at the gum line or in painful splintered condition can only prompt your imagination as to the pain involved -- without relief -- and that was only the dental part of the problem.

"This is the "Gulag" or political prisoner operation that goes on in federal prisons (and others), where former public officials and law enforcement officers often find themselves singled out for that "select and neglect" process. The federal prosecutor in my own case, (now overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court) Reid Weingarten, has publicly verified this kind of treatment in federal prison. Mr. Weingarten, who conducted the improper prosecution against me, is now a criminal attorney defending a former FBI official who was an investigator of public corruption and served as FBI liaison to the White House. The Washington Post of Sunday, July 28,1996, in a feature article Weingarten 'a star federal prosecutor' and quotes his concern for his client who served a 12 month sentence in federal prison.

Weingarten said:

`It was leaked to guards that (my client) had been FBI. He was confronted constantly by guards who took him for a spy and by any inmate with a generic grudge against law enforcement. He came back a shell of himself...he was crushed and deliberately.'

"I was in prison four times as long as Weingarten's client and I didn't allow myself to become a 'shell.' However, I did suffer the same kind of abusive treatment which tore me up physically and which I am now struggling to repair and deal with.

"My medical and dental condition has become a scandal to many leaders of Congress in Washington, both House and Senate, who have asked me to present my 'souvenirs' in line with legislative and oversight responsibilities.

This has been done twice... During these 'show and tell' visits, I have wryly joked with these Congressmen about my visit to Iran in 1979 where I was taken through the torture chambers of the Shah's main prison and shown where shins were broken, teeth smashed and nails pulled. Never did I dream that I would later have shins, teeth and nails to match from being wrongfully sent to prison in the United States of America."

Upon his return to Pocatello from Washington, D.C. he wrote a letter to his former colleagues, giving them a further medical update: "As I advised you. I have experienced several weeks of serious illness along with dental surgery and the subsequent problems of recovery.

"These conditions have kept me at a virtual standstill during July and August... While in Washington, I continued to press the legal and medical aspects of my case with the proper authorities and professionals and returned to Pocatello as scheduled for more medical appointments.

"...I underwent several hours of intensive root canal and repair work on three key 'anchor' teeth vital to planned implants now scheduled pursuant to the dental surgery which removed the nine teeth broken off at the gum-line.

"To capsulize, I've been and continue to be involved with oral surgery, root canals and periodontal repair involving sixteen different doctors; and concurrently I have been and continue to be in the care of medical specialists of all sorts for serious infection in the legs, feet, body organs, chest and shoulder muscles. The diagnoses have included inflammatory bursitis, serious neural damage, E.Coli, troubling irregularities of bodily functions, severe and permanent debilitating stasis, dermatitis of the legs, and severe toe disorders, secondary pedal edema accompanied by painful fungus infection (secondary to being shackled with legs in a dependent position for long periods of time and from confinement).

"Obviously, this has necessitated the use of heavy dosages of medication to relieve the inflammation, control E. Coil and fungus and dental infections. and to alleviate pain. This has largely prevented me from doing any real or sustained work, except unavoidable maintenance tasks. I am hopeful that this intensive treatment and continuing recuperation will allow me to increasingly get back to full and normal productivity at a reasonably early time. Hopefully, this information will be useful to you."

Corruption Permeates Our Government

While continuing to recuperate, former Congressman Hansen is busy trying to awaken his former colleagues to the corruption which is now rampant in our government. RMNews reprints this confidential letter without revealing to whom it was written and faxed on January 7, 1997:

"...I have discussed the matter of providing you with the basic information on the genesis of the Ron Brown (Department of Commerce) corruption process (worldwide), beginning with Viet Nam, spreading like cancer to other nations wholesale, and exploding with the Lippo Bank (Taiwan, etc.).

You indicated this could be most helpful, so I talked to the former high political official mentioned, and he is most willing to help give you a confidential start -- this could involve more than one knowledgeable individual.

"...with regard to our discussion on the delicate but provable fact that the CIA is keeping two sets of books to deceive Congress and maintain a very dangerous and dirty operation, I am prepared to back up this charge with reliable evidence and experts from the DEA, DIA, CIA, and Department of Justice -- and also establish the surprising extent to which the CIA (and affiliates) is saturating the street corners and school yards of America. It's dangerous to challenge these people (provable) and a reluctance exists on the part of legislative committees because of many 'staff technicians' maintaining allegiance and rapport with the agencies from which they were recruited. This seems to be a matter for the independent consideration of your committee which enjoys no conflict of interest, and the courage of a fearless Chairman. Certain other Members of Congress are in position to be helpful in this (both parties). Hopefully, this can be discussed meaningfully soon (while the best proof remains current and available)."

Blatant Corruption Goes To The Highest Levels

The following confidential document generated from the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee on the same day that Congressman Hansen faxed the preceding letter, January 7, 1997:

"This Committee on Government Reform and Oversight reorganizes today in the face of awesome and unusual challenges for which we are particularly prepared to effectively deal with, and for which there is little tolerance among cynical and frustrated citizens for lack of action.

"Politics as usual and scandalous government corruption have created great alarm and distrust of public agencies and officials, particularly at the federal level where we have jurisdiction and responsibility.

"The last half of this century has seen our government repeatedly and increasingly engage in acts of violence and abuse against its own citizens and then lie, manipulate and coverup to avoid detection and responsibility.

Key enforcement agencies of the Justice Department, including the FBI, as well as the CIA and IRS are wallowing in scandal and citizen abuse -- often sensationally fatal.

"This blatant corruption and failure of government operations is clearly widespread and goes to the highest levels regardless of politics while partisan fingers point at others and reform lays in gridlock. Congress has an especially difficult problem in instituting real reform because the legislative committees generally staff heavily from 'the technicians' in the agencies they oversee, (RMSnews translation: In other words, the CIA etc, place their own people on legislative committees to insure nothing is done which would harm the CIA, IRS, etc.) and a cocoon of self-serving protectiveness develops to retard objective oversight. This is why this Committee is ideally suited to become the real Legislative ombudsman to a frustrated and cynical public desperate for reform and relief -- we do not have that built-in conflict of interest.

"Obviously this Committee does not have the resources to deal with the mass of legitimate complaints that could be pressed upon us, but we can aggressively pursue issues on a worst-first basis while providing an interested ear to citizens hopeful of germinating a case upon proper presentation of evidence. And it's only fair that our efforts be as even-handed and bi-partisan as possible.

"There is no question that cynical citizens want answers to such current questions as campaign finances and the influence of foreign funds on elections and government operations. We plan to deal with this immediately.

But somewhere along the line, it might be appropriate to find out why we've had fifty years of uninterrupted Presidential deception from the U-2, through Cuba and Gulf of Tonkin and Watergate, to Iran-Contra, and the current reported cover-ups. Also, Presidents continue to feel they can use federal enforcement agencies as their personal pit bulls. Why? No doubt, victims of the holocaust would like to know why this government sat on this issue throughout WWII; and the victims of our government secret chemical and nuclear tests on citizens deserve honest answers and just compensation. This committee does indeed face awesome and unusual challenges. May we rise to the success the public prays for. Confidential"

If the Government Reform and Oversight Committee follows through on this letter, maybe there is hope for America. This letter is the brightest hope out of Washington in decades.

      (03/23) America's favorite political PRISONER to tour country.

+ * * * * *


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