Thursday, June 4, 2009

Message From Guantanamo: "America is Double Hetler in unjustice"

I direct your attention to the following article, dated June 3, 2009, by Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star:

Gitmo protest captured on film
WASHINGTON – A Guantanamo Bay detainee committed suicide late Monday just hours after two Chinese Muslim captives staged the detention centre's first public protest, increasing the pressure on U.S. President Barack Obama to outline his plan of how he will close the offshore prison.
Was it really a suicide? No details on which to base a judgment seem to be available, which is par for the course. And as for Obama and "pressure" to "outline his plan", that's not all the so-called "suicide" increases, but journalists can only say so much, even if they work in foreign countries.
Yemeni Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih, 31, is the first prisoner to die since the White House changed hands four months ago. His suicide follows weeks of criticism from both ends of the political spectrum over the fate of the remaining 240 Guantanamo detainees.

News of the suicide was emailed to the media just as a flight bringing journalists from Guantanamo landed in Maryland.
Based on the track record of the organization sending that email, it might be best to refer to Muhammad Salih's death as a "so-called suicide", at least until further details emerge.

But I say this with two caveats, neither of which is likely to be satisfied, ever.

First, even if further details about Muhammad Salih's death do emerge, will they be credible? Probably not, especially if they are not corroborated. Will they be corroborated? Probably not, especially considering that detainees are being held at Guantanamo precisely to hide them, both from the media and from the protections normally afforded accused individuals under US and international law.

And second, how much is a man supposed to take? How much of the responsibility for Muhammad Salih's death must be laid at the feet of our government -- which held him for more than seven years, with no charge or trial or hearing, and no prospect of any of these in the near or distant future? -- which went to extreme lengths to deny him and all the other detainees any legal recourse or challenge, even though it never intended to charge them? -- which offered mountain tribesmen thousands of dollars apiece for any "terror suspects" they happened to capture, at the same time as innocent civilians were fleeing the bombing of their homes in Afghanistan?

Or to put it another way, given the scope and scale and ferocity of the forces arrayed in a deliberate and knowingly unjustified attempt to ruin the lives of Muhammad Salih and many others like him, how could his death be considered anything other than murder?
The press had been at the U.S. naval detention centre for the war crimes court hearing of Canadian Omar Khadr.

Khadr, 22, is accused of war crimes, including the murder of a U.S. soldier during a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002.
And he's still in prison in Guantanamo despite two very inconvenient facts: that he was a child when he was captured, and that the "evidence" against him is clearly fabricated.

But then again, the same forces that ruined the life of Muhammad Salih are deployed against Omar Khadr, as they have been ever since ... since ...

Here's the big news! A protest! and information coming from detainees:
Hours after Khadr's brief hearing Monday, fewer than a dozen journalists on the trip, including a Toronto Star reporter, witnessed a rare unscripted moment on the base when two Uighur (pronounced Wee-gur) detainees managed to hold an impromptu protest.

The group was at an Oceanside prison known as "Camp Iguana," where 16 Uighur and one Algerian detainee are imprisoned.

As the journalists neared the fence line, the captives held up messages written in crayon on prison-issued sketch pads, knowing the Pentagon prohibits journalists from speaking to detainees.

For a few minutes they silently turned the pages quickly, as journalists shot video, photos and scribbled down their messages.

"We are being held in prison but we have been announced innocent a corrding to the virdict in caurt," one message said. "We need to freedom (sic)."
Most of the detainees currently held at Guantanamo are (or surely must be considered) innocent, either because they have been cleared of wrongdoing by a military court or because they have never been charged to begin with. And that's why
[a]nother stated, "America is Double Hetler in unjustice," seemingly comparing their treatment by the U.S. government to that of the Nazis.
Seemingly? Seemingly?? What else could they possibly be talking about? They were obviously comparing their treatment by the U.S. government to that of the Nazis. But then again, journalists can only say so much.
The Uighur prisoners with Chinese citizenship have been cleared for release but there's nowhere for them to go since the minority group is persecuted in its Communist-controlled homeland. The U.S. government has tried for months to find a country willing to provide the group asylum.
That's a laugh. It's a sick laugh, to be sure, but that's the only kind of laugh we get anymore.

The US government has spent years and years telling anyone who will still listen that these people are despicable terrorists, "the worst of the worst", and so on. Even now Dick Cheney is going around saying that if they are merely transferred to civilian prisons in the US, they will be plotting terrorist attacks against us from their cells. It's ludicrous, but that's what takes priority now according to the mainstream media. And reporters can only say so much ...
Reporters were ushered away from the fenced-in area shortly after the Uighurs had their written protest. One of the captives yelled as the gate was locked behind the group: "Is Obama Communist or a Democrat? We have the same operation in China."

Journalists were later forbidden from sending photos or video footage of the signs until Guantanamo officials received clearance from the White House – which didn't come until about 14 hours later.
No, truly. It's a free country. Always has been, always will be. Seriously.

But the best [read: worst] is yet to come:
Pentagon ground rules signed by reporters stipulate that images of detainees must be pre-screened and cannot identify the captives due to regulations in the Geneva Conventions prohibiting the exploitation of prisoners of war.
Isn't that just rich?

A whole new category of mock-legal language was created, and the prison camp at Guantanamo was built, precisely in order to circumvent the Geneva Conventions and their prohibitions against the exploitation of prisoners of war.

And that's why Guantanamo detainees like Muhammad Salih are not normally called "prisoners", much less "prisoners of war". Instead they are called "enemy combatants" or "illegal enemy combatants" or simply "detainees".

Long, involved, and utterly cynical "legal" documents were created in order to give a semi-plausible veneer to some of the most blatant falsehoods of the terror war, documents whose existence has never been a secret, documents some of which have themselves been coming into the public eye recently: documents whose purpose appears to have been to deny these people "prisoner of war" status so that the protections mandated by the Geneva Conventions can be semi-plausibly described as not applicable to them -- and so that the Pentagon can ignore the Geneva Conventions in dealing with them.

So for the Pentagon to turn around and say that journalists cannot publish the names or faces of the captives, because to do so would be a violation of the Geneva Conventions...!

They don't even care anymore how transparent their lies are. They really couldn't care less whether or not you can see through their charade instantly. Is it because they have the big bucks, and the big weapons, and the big media, and the big politicians on their side, while we only have one another and the truth?

Back to the alleged suicide.
Hours after the protest guards found Salih unresponsive in his cell in a separate area of the prison and attempts to revive him failed.
We can be sure that the attempts to revive him were most vigorous, but what happened to Muhammad Salih in the hours before he was found unresponsive? And what happened to him in the years before that?

At least we know the answer to the latter question.
He had been held without charges at Guantanamo since February 2002 and appeared to have joined a lengthy hunger strike, according to medical records released in response to an Associated Press lawsuit.
How many years could you be held incommunicado, halfway across the world from your family, with no charges or evidence filed against you, no right to challenge your incarceration, and no prospect of ever obtaining your freedom, much less justice -- how many years of that could you take, even without any "enhanced interrogation techniques", before you decided it might be a good idea to stop eating?

Then again, a journalist can only say so much.

On the other hand, Michelle Shephard does manage to provide the photo above, and some very telling context:
Three detainee suicides in June 2006 under the George W. Bush administration drew international outrage, further fuelled by comments about the military's reaction.

"They have no regard for human life, neither ours nor their own," then-Guantanamo commander Rear Adm. Harry Harris Jr. said. "I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare against us."
The psychopathy [*] on display here is striking, and perfectly fitting for a commander of a place such as Guantanamo.
They killed themselves -- and nobody else -- as an act of warfare against us!

We -- their oppressors: the people who held them in captivity for years, with no charges, no evidence, no due process and no hope -- are the victims of their deaths.
It doesn't get much more "Hetlerian" than that.


Psychopathy -- the personality disorder we see in the people-without-conscience who are variously called psychopathic, sociopathic, anti-social, and moral imbeciles -- comes in a variety of forms.

The most common psychopathic personality type is called "aggressive narcissism".

The following traits have been identified in a seminal work by Robert D. Hare as indicative of aggressive narcissism.

Read this list and try not to think of Harry Harris Jr., the former Guantanamo commander.
* Glibness/superficial charm
* Grandiose sense of self-worth
* Pathological lying
* Conning/manipulative
* Lack of remorse or guilt
* Shallow affect
* Callous/lack of empathy
* Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Read that list again and try not to think of the Pentagon, or the mainstream media, or the "leaders" of our mainstream political parties.

Read it one more time and try not to think of our long record of violent foreign intervention, or our history of slavery and racism, or the obliteration of the people who lived here before America was "discovered", and the utter contempt with which their cultures and their descendants have been treated ever since.

"Double Hetler in unjustice" may be spelled incorrectly, but it is seemingly an understatement.

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