FLORENCE, Colo. ­- Unrepentant, Olympics and abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph sits in his cell at Supermax complaining about being treated like a “terrorist” and composing “satires” mocking his victims.

Rudolph’s homemade bombs in Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala., killed two people and injured 120. He was captured in 2003 after hiding out for five years in the North Carolina mountains.

In correspondence with The Gazette during the past 15 months, Rudolph refers to himself as a political prisoner and accuses the federal Bureau of Prisons of inhumane treatment for keeping him and other terrorists in their cells for 23 hours a day.

“It is a closed-off world designed to isolate inmates from social and environmental stimuli, with the ultimate purpose of causing mental illness and chronic physical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis,” Rudolph wrote last month to The Gazette. He has no remorse for his victims, and they’re glad he doesn’t like his accommodations.

“It gives me a great deal of pride to think he’s never coming out of there,” said Diane Derzis, who runs the Birmingham family planning clinic Rudolph bombed in 1998. “He should never see daylight again.

“He’s a monster.”

Rudolph is serving life without parole because federal prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty in exchange for his pleading guilty to the bombings and revealing the location of dynamite he buried.

At his sentencing hearings in Birmingham and Atlanta last summer, Rudolph was smug and largely unapologetic.

He read a statement saying he bombed two abortion clinics because “abortion is murder, and because it is murder I believe deadly force is needed to stop it.”

The attack at the Olympics in 1996, he said, was meant to “confound, anger and embarrass” the government for sanctioning abortion.

He offered a muted apology for the woman he killed and the more than 100 people injured by the nails and screws he packed into the explosives.

He concluded his statement by saying, “The talking heads on the news opine that I am “finished,’ that I will languish broken and unloved in the bowels of some Supermax, but I say to you people that by the grace of God I am still here – a little bloodied, but emphatically unbowed.”

Nearly 16 months in isolation have not changed his attitude. Last month, Rudolph sent The Gazette a 16-page story he said was a “satire” based on his sentencing in Birmingham in July 2005.

The names were changed slightly, he wrote, because the Bureau of Prisons won’t let him send mail that deals with crimes or acts of violence.

In it, he mocks the prosecutors, judge and victims of his 1998 bombing of the New Woman All Women clinic, which killed off-duty policeman Robert Sanderson and maimed nurse Emily Lyons.

Lyons was struck by flying nails and shrapnel, which tore out one of her eyes. She has had 22 surgeries since 1998.

In a narrative dripping with sarcasm, Rudolph wrote that he “never learned that there is no freedom more dear to women than the right to dispose of their own unwanted children.”

Lyons, he wrote, “is a facilitator of this sacred right,” adding that he “had pointed his finger in judgment of Emily. And there is nothing more repugnant to citizens of the Brave New World than being called to account for one’s actions.”

Rudolph described Derzis as “brassy, worldly, the kind of woman who had not only been around the block a few times but was probably dragged behind a truck the entire way.”

“Releasing women caught in the shackles of maternity became her mission in life,” he wrote.

Sanderson, he wrote, was “a hero who stood steadfast watch as thousands of women made it to freedom over the corpses of their unborn children. That’s heroism folks!”

Rudolph also detailed his thoughts during the judge’s indictment of his motives:

“Deadly force is sometimes justified to save life. That is what his law books say. This is a riddle that even a fool can resolve,” Rudolph wrote. “The only real question is under what circumstances it is justified to take life.”

The document is among several by Rudolph posted on the Web site of the Army of God.

Provided a copy of Rudolph’s letter and account of the sentencing, Lyons called them “in character.”

“He will never ever say he’s sorry,” she said. “He doesn’t even think he’s done anything wrong, and all his writings and ramblings continue to show no remorse and that he thinks he’s great.”

Rudolph is said to retain some support among the most ardent foes of abortion. That troubles Derzis.

“I think there are some people in the country who support what he did, and clearly that’s who he’s posturing to,” Derzis said. “To them, he is a folk hero.”

But she was able to laugh at the “satire,” even while dismissing it as “more spewing of hatred.” Her biggest hope, she said, is that taxpayer dollars didn’t pay for the pen and paper he used to write it.

At Supermax, Rudolph spends 23 hours a day in his 7-by-12-foot cell – often more. He eats there, showers there, and his only exercise is in an enclosed area he described as a “large empty swimming pool” divided into “dog-kennel style cages.”

“Using solitary confinement, Supermax is designed to inflict as much misery and pain as is constitutionally permissible,” he wrote in a letter last month.

He offered other glimpses of his imprisonment: His neighbors are terrorists and psychopaths; the inmate above him runs the shower all day and night and screams for a half hour when asked to turn it off; another inmate yells incessantly at the Navy SEALs and CIA agents monitoring his thoughts.

Many inmates, he wrote, have “lost all hope” and stay in their cells all the time.

Supermax was built for inmates too likely to harm others – or be harmed – in a lower-security prison, and is supposed to hold them until they can be reintegrated into the general prison population.

But Rudolph said he and the other few dozen Supermax inmates – terrorists, high-profile mobsters, gang leaders and white supremacists – have no hope of such a transition.

“The government not only uses it to house problem inmates, it also uses it to add an extra measure of punishment for those inmates who have been convicted of politically motivated offenses,” he wrote. “It’s a political prison.”

Lyons dismissed his complaints. “This was the bargain he made,” she said. “He knew where he was going. I have no sympathy that he doesn’t get to go outside. I don’t think he’s been slighted. That’s what he signed up for.

“He gave away his freedom when he set the first bomb.”

She said she still would have preferred to see him get the death penalty.

Derzis, though, said she is glad Rudolph’s life was spared.

“At the end of the day, he hears bars clanging,” she said. “He can mock the rest of us as much as he wants, but we still have lives.”

Derzis said it’s appropriate he’ll spend his life in a cell.

“I thought, for him, he’s someone who loves the outdoors, this was the most appropriate punishment,” she said. “He’ll never see that again. That to me is a fate worse than death.”

The Gazette contacted Eric Rudolph shortly after he arrived at Supermax in August 2005, seeking an interview.

He is one of a few dozen inmates – mostly terrorists – held under “special administrative measures,” which means the government monitors what little communication they have with the outside world. Contact with the media is severely limited, and the FBI approves all reading material.

The prison has denied all requests to interview Rudolph. In September 2005, Warden R. Wiley told The Gazette that “due to continued security concerns, granting your request at this time may disrupt the good order and security of this institution.”

In an exchange of letters over more than a year, Rudolph at first agreed to answer written questions, then offered to share his entire life story, in several “narratives.”

“If you are in it for the long haul you will probably not be disappointed,” he wrote The Gazette in March.

Rudolph set the following condition for his providing The Gazette with his life story: the narratives would have to be made available to the public in their entirety.

The Gazette declined, saying any writings he provided would be used as a basis for articles written by a reporter. The Gazette did agree that if the writings were used for articles, the narratives would be made available to the public in their entirety “in some manner,” provided they were not hate literature or libelous.

Rudolph declined, writing he had other media offers to explore.

The Gazette resumed the correspondence last month, eliciting a response from Rudolph – a lengthy diatribe about conditions at Supermax and a 16-page commentary – which he calls a satire – on his sentencing in Birmingham last year.

The Bureau of Prisons is proposing to further limit the communication of terrorist inmates, which could prevent future writings from Rudolph from leaving Supermax.


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