“We hereby request to spend our precious and limited days, should the government continue to insist on holding us captive unconstitutionally as pre-trial detainees, to be transferred and reside at Guantanamo Bay,” the letter reads.
The seven-page letter, which was included in an exhibit in a court filing last Friday as part of a prisoner’s efforts to be released from the jail, primarily consists of a laundry list of complaints about conditions at the D.C. jail—cockroaches, rusty water, moldy showers, mice, and constricted exercise.
The letter says the correctional facility should be renamed an “evisceration facility”:
“For nothing is being corrected within the forsaken concrete walls of the District of Columbia Jail. Its woeful captives are all but slowly murdered in every way except for their very soul being ripped from their famished chests on behalf of this mercilessly sinister institution.”
Among the laundry list of unbearable conditions to which they are exposed, they include: “Politically mocked by staff with Democrat, Black Lives Matter, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden related attire.” The letter also complains that the inmates are punished for expressing “any political views whatsoever.”
Guantanamo Bay, the letter claims, would be preferable to “remaining trapped within the wretched confines of cruel and unusual punishment of the D.C. jail.”
A number of right-wing pundits and politicians have wielded the comparison to Gitmo as part of their rhetoric defending the Jan. 6 “political prisoners.” Tucker Carlson’s pseudo-documentary about Jan. 6 called the D.C. jail “Guantanamo Bay for American citizens,” while MAGA Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed that Guantanamo Bay detainees were living in better conditions than those in the D.C. jail.
In reality, the conditions at Guantanamo have included the torture and beating of prisoners, small cells with no light, limited recreation and access to water, and most of all, the detention of prisoners without any charges.
The letter’s laundry list of complaints about conditions (“worms in the salad,” “black mold on walls of cells,” “broken sinks in cells”) mostly describes issues at the D.C. jail that criminal-justice activists and attorneys have historically raised in a variety of lawsuits. A 2019 city auditor’s report found the D.C. jail conditions were “hazardous” and dangerous for both the inmates and guards.
The complaints also include risible issues about their treatment. The electronic tablets prisoners are given to work with are loaded with “CRT propaganda” and “re-education propaganda.” It also lists: “Perpetually mocked and/or insulted for our skin color on ‘religious’ documentation.”
The letter appears to have been handwritten by Robert A. Morss, a Pennsylvanian man who is accused of leading the attacks on police officers at two separate fronts of the insurrection, including an attempt to reach members of Congress through a lower tunnel entrance.
Among the prisoners who signed the letter requesting the transfer to Gitmo are Dominic Pezzola, the Proud Boys leader who was captured on video smashing out a window of the Capitol with a police riot shield—believed to have been the first breach of the building on Jan. 6. Jessica Watkins and Kelly Meggs of the Oath Keepers, who participated in the infamous “stack formation” that played a key role in breaching the Capitol’s eastern side and who are both currently on trial, also signed the letter.
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