Gordon Cucullu

Communicating a threat in Supermax; al Qaeda and their lawyers wage jailhouse jihad

President Barack Obama said, “Nobody has ever escaped from one of our federal, supermax prisons, which hold hundreds of convicted terrorists,” during his May 21, 2009 speech at the National Archives.

In this morning’s Washington Post, they report a 2006 Department of Justice memo states that convicted al Qaeda prisoners in Supermax at Florence, Colorado “coordinated the beginning of a hunger strike” and developed “a sophisticated method to resist compulsory feeding” by communicated via “tapping on the pipes.” (Has no one at the Bureau of Prisons ever heard of the Hanoi Hilton and how John McCain et al communicated by tapping on the walls?)

The WaPo stopped short of quoting from footnote 11 on page 13 that, “Ultimately, due to this coordination, the al Qaeda terrorists succeeded in gaining transfer from high security detention.” The DOJ’s memo does not go on to explain if the transfer was temporary or permanent yet there are no reports that al Qaeda detainees were transferred away from Florence. It sounds to me like the BOP, at least temporarily, had to shuffle prisoners around so that the plumbing was not common.

There has always been a waiting list to move dangerous prisoners into Florence’s Supermax yet the number of open beds there has hovered between 26 and 28 (currently 28) the last 3 weeks. Perhaps they are doing some remodeling to both house detainees in a distinct wing and prevent such communications between them once they are there. While that may silence pipeline communications, that will not break the Ratt [sic] line.

Obama vs. the Atomic Axis of Evil

In the New York Post this morning, Gordon Cucullu writes of President Obama’s proposed defense program cuts as Iran and North Korea continue to cooperate; their joint efforts will soon bring Israel and our West Coast within range of their nuclear weapons:

The focus of the joint program is multi-faceted: Begin with rocket bodies produced by North Korea. Improve them with enhanced, longer-range capabilities. Meanwhile, develop a warhead and payload capacity. Then add terminal-guidance technology so the warhead can hit what it aims for. Finally, produce a nuclear payload that can vaporize cities and populations. (The bomb Pyongyang has tested was small — analysts don’t think it has a Hiroshima-size nuke yet.)

Years of diplomacy led by the Europeans (and encouraged by the Bush administration) have failed to stop either Tehran or Pyongyang’s progress, let alone their cooperation. How will the new administration respond to the latest chilling developments?

To date, President Obama has indicated policies that have been interpreted by America’s enemies as signs of weakness: a willingness to enter high-level diplomatic talks without precondition; closing Guantanamo; his apologetic Al Arabiya interview.

The new president is also on record opposing missile-defense technology. Yet decades of R&D are now paying off: Stunned critics watched recent tests at Vandenberg Air Fore base where “hitting a bullet with a bullet” proved to be well within the capability of USAF scientists.

Of course, the administration has also ordered Defense Department planners to cut 10 percent from their budget. This, while it pushes a $900 billion “stimulus package.” Billions for special interests, but not a cent for defense?

Editor — Gordon Cucullu is a Vietnam veteran, Special Forces officer, and retired Army Lieutenant Colonel. His new book is ‘Inside Gitmo: The True Story behind the Myths of Guantanamo Bay.’