Thursday, May 22, 2008

This Week in Gitmo & Torture

Oh, shed a tear for Robert Gates who woefully laments that the Bush administration just can't shut down Gitmo. It's "stuck", you see, because some countries either refuse to repatriate their prisoners or are willing to but might set them free. The fact that Bushco created a hellish legal limbo by asserting that the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War does not apply to the so-called Gitmo "unlawful enemy combatants" has brought the Pentagon to where it is now which is, as one of my favourite bloggers Marisacat would put it: is one huge "congealing fuckball".

Come to think of it, has anyone asked Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton how they will go about fulfilling their promises to close Gitmo considering these prisoners are basically men without a country now?

Meanwhile, a defiant Afghan prisoner became the 6th to boycott the sham military tribunal system this week:

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — An Afghan detainee was dragged from his cell to his first pretrial hearing at Guantanamo on Wednesday, then refused to participate, telling the judge he felt "helpless."

Mohammed Kamin joined a growing detainee boycott of the war-crimes trials at the Guantanamo Bay Navy base in southeast Cuba. The military judge, Air Force Col. W. Thomas Cumbie, said Kamin tried to bite and spit on a guard on the way to the courtroom.

Wouldn't you? The fact is that Kamin is helpless. These are nothing but show trials.

And, shouldn't this fact be a matter of huge concern to the American public?

The U.S. military says it plans to prosecute roughly 80 of the 270 men imprisoned at Guantanamo on suspicion of links to terrorism, the Taliban or al-Qaida.

What of the rest of them? Detained indefinitely without charge? Is there anyone, besides the staunchest, delusional, neocon bedwetters out there who still thinks what's going on in Gitmo is anything near humane?

I'm sorry. I forgot that the US public is too wrapped up in election fever right now while it tries to survive the war-created recession and ridiculous gas prices to pay attention to a little thing like the human rights of people its government has shipped off to some prison in Cuba to rot forever. And protesting and impeachment are just so passé. The Dems are so busy, after all. (Apparently, it's taking years for them to actually find their collective spine. Don't hold your breath. It's probably somewhere underneath that table that Pelosi took impeachment off of before the last election.)

And yet there are still those who believe the Democrats will actually do something quickly about what's happening there (just wait until they win the White House year...maybe...they say) and are quite happy to natter on about superdelegates and Michigan and Florida - as if that's all going to mean anything in the scheme of things considering the torture, death, and destruction this administration has brought to the world. All of the candidates crow "the US does not torture" as if it's true and these people are America's next best hope? And their supporters actually let them get away with saying that without challenging it?

Just how many Americans even heard about this testimony this week?

Bremen, Germany - In a landmark congression-al hearing Tuesday, former Guantánamo detainee Murat Kurnaz described abuses he said he endured while in US custody – among them electric shock, simulated drowning, and days spent chained by his arms to the ceiling of an airplane hangar.

Lawmakers were also provided with recently declassified reports, which show that US and German intelligence agencies had determined as early as 2002 that Mr. Kurnaz had no known links to terrorism. Still, he was held for four more years.

And the Pentagon's reaction to the torture allegations:

Commander Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, refused to comment on his treatment, but said in a written statement, "The abuses Mr. Kurnaz alleges are not only unsubstantiated and implausible, they are simply outlandish."

Implausible? Outlandish? They were policy at the time, sir. Your president has even admitted that. There are memos that prove it. Maybe you should talk to the FBI:

Does this sound familiar? Muslim men are stripped in front of female guards and sexually humiliated. A prisoner is made to wear a dog’s collar and leash, another is hooded with women’s underwear. Others are shackled in stress positions for hours, held in isolation for months, and threatened with attack dogs.

You might think we are talking about that one cell block in Abu Ghraib, where President Bush wants the world to believe a few rogue soldiers dreamed up a sadistic nightmare. These atrocities were committed in the interrogation centers in American military prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. And they were not revealed by Red Cross officials, human rights activists, Democrats in Congress or others the administration writes off as soft-on-terror.

They were described in a painful report by the Justice Department’s inspector general, based on the accounts of hundreds of F.B.I. agents who saw American interrogators repeatedly mistreat prisoners in ways that the agents considered violations of American law and the Geneva Conventions. According to the report, some of the agents began keeping a “war crimes file” — until they were ordered to stop.

These were not random acts. It is clear from the inspector general’s report that this was organized behavior by both civilian and military interrogators following the specific orders of top officials.

[and on the article goes...]

And what did the White House do about those warnings from the FBI? It ignored them, as expected. And we're not talking about low-level staffers here. We're talking about officials like John Ashcroft and Condoleezza Rice. They knew what was happening and did nothing. So, excuse me for wanting to scream when I see some Pentagon hack feign outrage about a man's torture allegations by sticking his head up his ass while mumbling "the US does not torture". Only an inhumane fool in the deepest denial believes that. Apparently, there are still far too many people in the United States who also fit into that category or who simply don't care anymore as they wait, wait, wait for the next presidential daddy (or mommy) to fix everything. Guess who else is waiting? All of those unseen prisoners who don't have a voice. Just how much longer should they be expected to wait?

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