As the first of the war crimes cases under a new law began here a few days ago, a military law specialist said it was a test run “to show that this plane will fly.”If I'm writing it, I'm asking: What sort of nonsense is this? Is this your new public diplomacy "proving ground"?
You notice the pentagon never has "testing" anymore, just "proving". They never want to find out whether the plane will fly, only to show that it will.
And sometimes it won't, of course. What insanity! But it's a traditional military insanity, and of only slight import compared to the horrendous new insanity initiated in the immediate wake of 9/11.
From the start, Guantánamo, its detainees and the legal proceedings here have provided enough grist to support the competing views of the detention center: a necessary mechanism for dealing with a new kind of enemy, or the embodiment of the war on terror gone awry.
What a bald-faced lie!
From the start?? Guantánamo has never provided any "grist" to support the view that it is "a necessary mechanism for dealing with a new kind of enemy", if by "grist" one means actual legitimate palpable and/or verifiable evidence.
Or, as Chris Floyd points out,
Only a self-deluded fool [...] could believe that the hideous regime of concentration camps, secret prisons, torture, kidnapping and "extrajudicial killing" established by Bush is anything but "the embodiment of the war on terror gone awry."But oh! no! the Times also tells us:
Military officers quickly began to refer to Mr. Hicks as the “convicted war criminal” in the not-so-subtle battle of competing words here.But then you look at the case, and how it was settled, and there's just so much more nonsense, all interleaved with reasons why the David Hicks case shows exactly the opposite of what the five-sided demons claim. Listen:
To the prosecutors and the extensive public relations apparatus assembled by the military here, Mr. Hicks’s case proved, as one spokeswoman regularly repeated, that the military commission system offers a “fair, legitimate and transparent forum.”
The chief military prosecutor, Col. Morris D. Davis of the Air Force, told reporters ... it was ... a victory for a much maligned system that he said had been unfairly criticized before it was given a chance to prove it could deliver justice.
“There’s a notion that this is a rigged system,” he said when asked if he was disappointed by the outcome. “I think this shows that’s not true.”
The military commissions being convened here are special war crimes tribunals to try terrorists that do not offer the legal protections of civilian courts. One justification for the looser rules is that they will deal with the worst of the worst.Glaberson doesn't quite get around to mentioning the fact that before the shooting started in Afghanistan, the Taliban and al-Q'aeda were supported by the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, which in turn was supported by the CIA. Not for nothing is al-Q'aeda sometimes called "al-CIA-duh".
But the first man through the double doors of the heavily secured courtroom here was no Osama bin Laden. He was David Hicks, a 31-year-old Australian whose lawyer described him as a ninth-grade dropout and “wannabe soldier” who ran away when the shooting started in Afghanistan.
Of course the New York Times doesn't call it that.
In the somber, makeshift courtroom, the lead prosecutor of the Hicks case, Lt. Col. Kevin Chenail of the Marines, tried to portray Mr. Hicks as public enemy No. 1.Killing Americans how? By running away when the shooting started?
“Today in this courtroom, we are on the front lines of the global war on terror,” Colonel Chenail told a panel of military officers assembled from around the globe Friday to hear arguments on the appropriate sentence. Mr. Hicks pleaded guilty on Monday to providing material support to Al Qaeda. “The enemy is sitting at the defense table,” Colonel Chenail added, gesturing to Mr. Hicks. “We are face to face with the enemy” who was “trying to kill Americans,” he said.
He admitted training with Al Qaeda, guarding a Taliban tank and scouting a closed American embassy building. But there is no evidence he was considering a terrorist attack or capable of carrying one out. Yet he was held five years and four months before he got his day in court. And at the end of a very long day at the tribunal Friday, his actual sentence was only nine months...The worst of the worst? The first "detainee" to be tried? Held for sixty-four months before he could even get a sham hearing, and then sentenced to nine months more? Doesn't he get credit for time served? He's done the nine months already, plus fifty-five more. For what? For being tortured?
To some in the courtroom, the proceedings proved only that the system was rigged to show detainees that the only way out of Guantánamo was to give the prosecutors what they wanted. Not only did Mr. Hicks plead guilty, but he also signed a plea bargain in which he recanted his accusations about being abused in detention and promised not to speak to reporters for a year.Doesn't it all depend on what you mean by "illegal"? And if a twice-unelected president of a former democracy says some "interrogation technique" is "legal", then it's legal. That's the new rule, isn't it? So the statement Mr. Hicks agreed to is not so far-fetched after all.
In the courtroom, the military judge had Mr. Hicks acknowledge each of the contentious provision[s] of his deal. Mr. Hicks, the judge read, agreed that he had “never been illegally treated” while in American captivity, including “through the entire period of your detention by the United States at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.” Mr. Hicks agreed to that statement.
It's the system that's far-fetched.
Mr. Hicks’s lawyer, Maj. Michael Mori of the Marines, said he was speaking for his client, who he said was too nervous to speak for himself. “He wants to apologize to Australia and to the United States,” Major Mori said during the proceedings, adding that Mr. Hicks wanted to thank members of the armed services who, he said, had treated him professionally.OMG! This is too thick to scrape off your shoes without power tools! And the New York Times reports it straight.
Is this the same David Hicks who, according to another NYT article of less than two weeks ago,
alleges in court document that he was beaten several times during interrogations and witnessed abuse of other prisoners during more than five years in American custody; Hicks, an Australian seeking British citizenship, says abuse began during interrogations in Afghanistan, where he was captured in late 2001...Sometimes I wonder whether the old grey bitch is afraid of being charged with treason or whether that's just a ploy to make it seem like she's a Bush opponent. After all, the wingnuts can't claim the media is left-biased if the NYT licks Bush's shoes all day every day, can they?
In fact they can and they do say anything they like, regardless of whether it has any truth to it at all, or just a smidgen.
But in reality, and as expressed by
observers from advocacy and human rights groups here to monitor the proceedings, the plea deal Mr. Hicks reached was fresh evidence of the coercive power of this place. The plea bargain included a provision that will get Mr. Hicks out of detention here and into an Australian prison to serve the rest of his sentence within 60 days.It takes that long to arrange transportation? What are all the unmarked planes doing? Isn't one of them free sometime in the next month, or six weeks, anyway? Or is Mr. Hicks' accommodation down under a problem?
Actually the whole Hicks case has been a problem down under, and one can't avoid the thought that this is why they dealt with him first.
There had been growing diplomatic pressure on the Bush administration to return Mr. Hicks to Australia, where his case has drawn wide attention and where Prime Minister John Howard, one of President Bush’s most stalwart supporters, is facing a tough re-election fight.David Hicks has become a cause celebre in Australia. How many prisoners are held hostage at Guantánamo? And how many of them have the weight of an entire country -- an allied country at that -- behind them? And it goes without saying that an allied country which happens to be a so-called democracy must be led by an insane warmonger who is facing a re-election bid soon. Ah ha ha!
Ben Wizner, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who is one of the regular observers in the courtroom here, said the deal showed that the military commission was intended to bring cases to the conclusion the government wants. “A person here, in order to have any hope of going home,” he said, “has to play by whatever rules the government sets.”The most sensible comment came from Hicks himself, through his attorney:
Jennifer Daskal, an observer for Human Rights Watch, said after the sentencing that the unusual rule silencing Mr. Hicks for a year showed that the government’s primary goal was “the protection against the disclosure of abuse.”
Other than a few muted words in court, Mr. Hicks was not heard from directly. But as developments unfolded, David H. B. McLeod, an Australian lawyer working with the defense, provided insight into Mr. Hicks’s thoughts.Well that's insane too because the world has a great deal to worry about.
“He says that if he is the worst of the worst, and the person who should be put before a military commission first,” Mr. McLeod said, “then the world really hasn’t got much to worry about.”
If I were a worrier I would worry about the way the national discourse has been shifted so far into the pro-torture realm that anyone, anywhere -- much less the NYT -- could possibly write a "fair-and-balanced" piece on such a heinous subject.
Fair and balanced now appears to be everywhere -- except the blogs with axes to grind -- but what it means in practice is that the wingnut insanity: indefinite detention without charge or hearing, much less a speedy trial; various forms of torture -- up to and including murder; "military tribunals" where confessions obtained under extreme duress are considered acceptable, and this is not to mention the sort of debacle we saw with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, where the pentagon released a "transcript" of an alleged hearing, with no video, no audio, not even a current photograph, and a "confession" that reads like a laundry list.
In the very midst of describing the horrors, is it really necessary to include the defense department's mantra?
Mr. Hicks’s case proved, as one spokeswoman regularly repeated, that the military commission system offers a “fair, legitimate and transparent forum.”Yeah, sure it does.
Hey spokesman: You ever hang from the ceiling by your wrists while the guards smash your legs with baseball bats? No? You should try it sometime.
The fact that we are even discussing such a thing would have come as a shock to most Americans -- I would hope -- not all that long ago. But now, as Chris Floyd reads the not-so-subtle message just behind the lines:
This view -- the open acceptance of concentration camps, indefinite detention and unconstitutional judicial processes -- can actually be "supported" by the workings of the kangaroo court thus far, the venerable Times informs us. Check out this classic case of accomodation with evil masquerading as journalistic objectivity: "From the start, Guantánamo, its detainees and the legal proceedings here have provided enough grist to support the competing views of the detention center: a necessary mechanism for dealing with a new kind of enemy, or the embodiment of the war on terror gone awry."At this point I'm not sure which is more dangerous -- the hideous regime of concentration camps, secret prisons, torture, kidnapping and "extrajudicial killing" established by Bush or the extent to which it is being "mainstreamed".
Only a self-deluded fool -- either blinded by the cowardly panic that is the hallmark of the Bootlicker Brigade (Malkin, Limbaugh, Beck, etc.) or dulled by the well-wadded cozy "insider" status of our media barons (recently on such sickening display at the Gridiron Club Dinner love-in with all the adorable Bushies) -- could believe that the hideous regime of concentration camps, secret prisons, torture, kidnapping and "extrajudicial killing" established by Bush is anything but "the embodiment of the war on terror gone awry." Yet these mindsets -- the bootlickers and the well-wadded barons -- control our national discourse...and will continue to do so, as we noted yesterday, long after George W. Bush has retreated to his bunker in the Texas scrub, leaving a scorched earth behind.
This isn't hard to figure out, folks. If David Hicks is among the worst of the worst, the whole system stinks on ice!
And if William Glaberson gets paid for this bootlicking blather -- by the New York Times, no less -- while Chris Floyd blogs ...