“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face . . . forever.” George Orwell, 1984.
(Disclosure: My 25-yr sentence to federal prison (I served over 22 of it; 1990-2012) was for a conviction for Cocaine Conspiracy. While we in the movement had eliminated powder cocaine from our “underground fund-raising” activities by 1983 due to the CIA and White House popularization of “crack” cocaine in order to fund the Contra-War against the left’s election in Nicaragua, I was nevertheless charged in 1989 with conspiracy. Refusing to take a plea and/or “cooperate” in the naming and prosecuting of others, Reagan’s judge in Detroit sentenced me to the maximum he could.)
When I went to prison in 1990, I already had accomplished careers in journalism in the US and Middle East, 17-yrs of criminal & civil investigations, and a lifetime of political organizing behind me (I was then 48). I had also completed 3 yrs at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Given the time and opportunity I had with a 25-yr sentence, one way I coped was with a determination to employ that time to complete my formal education. I saw it as a unique opportunity. The last thing I wanted was to do all that time and have nothing positive to show for it. more…