|On April 28 the following "Press
Release" was received from William Lincoln, M.D., a prisoner
at the Federal Prison Camp in Jesup, Georgia. It is addressed to
the attention of Human Rights Groups, and dated April 11, 1999.
"Did the Jews’ Status
as Prisoners Justify Poisonous Gassing?
Re: Poison Gassing of Inmates
at the Federal Prison Camp
"At a time when the World
is fixed on Serbian war crimes, a Ghastly poisoning of inmates
at the un-fenced minimum security prison camp has occurred.
Approximately one hundred low level offenders, marijuana dealers,
porno distributors and white collar miscreants were gassed while
they slept with a full spectrum biocide that kills all
life forms. While the biocide was pumped through the ductwork,
inmates became dizzy and suffered signs of neurotoxins (blurred
vision, nausea, vertigo and difficult breathing). Inmates were
unable to open their windows due to the windows being bolted
down shut only days before the toxic gasses were released. The
orders to cut off fresh air and bolt the windows shortly before
the gassing was carried out has led to speculation that the
gassing was premeditated. The prison officials state that the
order to use the biocide, which is not approved for use on or
near human beings due to its hazardous nature, was given in
order to sterilize the camp ductwork. In the process of cleaning
the ducts, the workers mixed the broad spectrum biocide with
chlorine bleach, the resultant mixture gave off the poisonous
vapors. The inmates were not evacuated from the units during
the biocidal duct work. The biocide product was produced to
sterilize boiler and cooling tower liquids and is not approved
for use on human beings. A small amount of the biocide sterilizes
thousands of gallons of liquids.
"The inmates are planning
to file a class action lawsuit, in part to discover what the
long term effects could be, after they recover from their present
acute illnesses. This comes after the Government has conducted
a lengthy defense of lawsuits related to ‘agent orange,’ a biocidal
herbicide used in Vietnam. The Jesup Victims intend to file
their legal action in nearby Brunswick, Georgia before the Honorable
U.S. District judge Honorable Anthony A. Alaimo who oversees
the Jesup Federal Complex. Investigations are ongoing and further
details are available through inmate contacts and the U.S. Court
Three days later, on May 1, a letter was
received from Paul, a marijuana prisoner with training in chemistry
who asks not to be further identified.
"My dear friends,
"I do this at great risk.
Officers have just led away in handcuffs William Lincoln – the
major whistleblower in this toxic chemical incident. Who knows
who will be taken away to isolation ("the hole") next
for their humanitarian activism.
"My cognitive functioning
has been affected. I fear retaliatory action against myself
for even discussing the toxicology of the compounds to which
we were exposed with William Lincoln.
"As I write, a new batch of
some chemical slurry with a pungent odor characteristic of phenols
has been dumped into the shower drains ‘to clean them.’ The
use of these compounds is reckless and irresponsible, and I
fear for our health as a consequence. I ask you to disseminate
"Your imprisoned brother,
Two further pieces of information arrived
during the week of May 2. The first of these consists of a Biocide Profile
Sheet and a Toxic Exposure Data Sheet, documents evidently obtained
from the manufacturer of Spectrus NX-104 Biocide for submission to the
court. The second is a submission by Dr. Lincoln entitled "Prescription
for Disaster: the Jesup Camp Gassings."
Biocide Profile Sheet
|Name of Product: Spectrus
Inc, 200 Witmer Rd., Horsham,
|Company’s Data Line:
methylene bis thiocyanate
|"The above chemicals are not
only toxic deadly chemicals when used alone, individually, but
when combined together and with other chemicals such as strong
oxidizers (bleach) or accumulates of buffer dust or vent accumulation
can form other chemicals and congeners.
|"The factory will give the best
version of toxicity and will state that [the] biocide is not approved
for human applications in any form and that it is extremely toxic
to all life forms."
The Toxic Exposure Data Sheet
lists as targets of liability the officers and directors of Betz-Dearborn
Chemical Company, Janet Reno as figurehead defendant, and certain staff
of FPC Jesup.
Charges and pertinent jurisdiction
for action include "Right to be free from cruel and unusual punishments,
freedom from cyanide type poisons, right to fresh air, and freedom from
toxic damage to our bodies."
Dr. Lincoln’s submission reads
"On or about the summer of 1995
inmate workers were ordered to block off the fresh air intakes
that serviced the individualized floor cooling-heating units after
staff complaints that the cooling units were failing to deal with
the summer heat and keep the units cool enough (the Unit inmate
population had been doubled over its design capacity).
"Winter of 1998-99 saw a new Captain,
Mr. Grady Turner, assume his duties at F.C.I./F.P.C. Jesup. Captain
Turner became obsessed that for eight years the inmates were able
to raise or lower their windows to get fresh air. During wax stripping
operations noxious fumes could be ventilated out, the inmates
being confined to their dormitories by prison regulations for
much of the 24 hour day. This freedom apparently irritated the
Captain, who began to make personal surveillance of the window
opening-closing operations by inmates. Two inmates were seen by
Captain Turner smoking in the rear stairwell with a raised window
and were sent to the "hole." The word went out that
inmates who sought fresh air would be put in the disciplinary
unit in the adjacent medium-high security prison. Captain Turner
would often be seen watching the windows from the distance with
binoculars. He appeared to be obsessed with having windows sealed
shut. Under the Captain’s pressure, the windows were bolted down
shut making nearly air-tight "chambers" out of the dormitories.
Back doors were also sealed shut and locked. During the final
weeks of March 1999, just a few days before the gassing, all lower
floors had their windows sealed shut. Although upper windows had
not yet been bolted down, workers were told they too were to be
done. Under threat of disciplinary action, inmates were forbidden
from opening their windows in any event. The only possibility
for fresh air in the sixty-person closed chamber dormitories was
a front exit way that consists of two doors with an airlock between.
In effect the prisoners were in air-tight chambers.
"The prison camp staff were notified
by inmates of concerns over the inability to ventilate the units
during wax-stripping and drain-cleaning, but these concerns went
"The Maintenance Department decides
to clean the interiors of the vent systems. The Maintenance Supervisor
contacts "Powerhouse" Supervisor for some chemicals
to sterilize the vent systems. The "Powerhouse" Supervisor
provides a jug of "Biocide" manufactured by Betz-Dearborn
Chemical Company. This is kept outside the powerhouse facility
due to its toxic nature, and has the symbol of skull and crossbones
marked prominently on its side. This Biocide is not approved for
human contact. It contains thiocyanate, a combination of sulfur
and cyanide. A quantity of chlorine bleach was also provided to
the inmate workers. Mixed with chlorine bleach, cyanide gas can
be released…. The Biocide/chlorine was mixed and applied to the
A-1 and A-2 Units on April 8 and to the B-1 and B2 units on April
9. Many inmates reported to medical as the toxicity built in their
systems from the poisonous vapors. Many inmates would not be treated
because of fear that the prison camp would retaliate and place
them in the "hole" or ship them. Burning eyes, dizziness,
severe headaches, raw throats, bleeding noses and sore lungs were
common complaints. The long term effects of this exposure are
not at present known."
(signed) William F. Lincoln, M.D.
a Jesup victim
Writing from the "hole" in response
to a request for more detailed clinical information, Dr. Lincoln records
that "First my eyes burned and the right eye went out of focus,
severe headaches began, throat became raw, sinus blocked, chest pain
over the pericardium, and sore lungs developed. Chest X-ray showed a
diffuse toxic pneumonia. My right eye is still blurred. My general neurological
responses are slowed and prone to error" He concludes with the
observation that access to breathable air is a human right as basic
as access to food, water, and shelter, a right he had a moral obligation
to defend on behalf of all prisoners incarcerated at FPC Jesup.
The above report was transcribed and submitted
to Dr. Lincoln for his approval. In response Dr. Lincoln wrote on June
"Thank you for your letter. Yes, the report
is accurate and I back it and am glad to have it made public. Also the
article should state that the 'Lawsuit is assigned for hearing now before
the Hon. Magistrate Judge James E. Graham, U.S. District Court, Brunswick,
Georgia and has been assigned Case No. CV 299-097'.
"I think the above information is key to
go with the other data since it adds credibility to it. After all it
is now a federally docketed case and as such is a proper topic for coverage
The writer notes that he is still confined
in the SHU isolation unit at FPC Jesup and has been told he is due for
shipment to Atlanta. He ends "Words cannot express my gratitude for
your help in the ongoing struggle for human rights."
Dr. Lincoln requests that the information
he has provided be made public, and gives permission for his name and
Registry Number (44505-019) to be published.
The Committee on Unjust
|Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1999