Saturday, June 18, 2005

GULAGGY RUMMY

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Rumsfeld and the great bellowing organs of the media are on the attack again. Once more, embarrassing news stories of rank abuse and torture come welling up from the secretive prison system which looks like and quacks like a gulag. In an editorial by Rumsfeld for all the newspapers to run, he claims,
Arguably, no detention facility in the history of warfare has been more transparent and received more scrutiny than Guantanamo. There have been numerous visits from members of the news media, congressional representatives and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Last year, the Department of Defense declassified highly sensitive memorandums on interrogation techniques. Unfortunately, they were documents that are useful to terrorist operatives, but we posted them on the Internet specifically to set the record straight about U.S. policies and practices.

The latest calls for Guantanamo's closure were prompted by a series of news accounts about alleged mistreatment of the Koran. America has gone to unprecedented lengths to respect our enemies' religious sensibilities - including detailed regulations governing the handling of the Koran and broadcasting the five daily calls to prayer required by the Muslim faith over loudspeakers.
In between pissing on the Koran, we let them hear calls to prayer. Yup, isn't that generous. A two fer one. Rummy mentions how all the guards are being prosecuted and slapped on the wrist but you know, since this is happening all the time, seemingly, and all over the place, obviously, there is something really sick going on at the top of this organized prison system.

Namely, the torture is systematic.

The FBI report that has really blown the top off now was written by an FBI agent who was watching scheduled torture being done regularily by all the staff. This wasn't Lyndie playing with naked men. This was systematic torture. It is now obvious to everyone the gulag of the USA should be shut down.
As the president has said, we are always looking for ways to improve our procedures. And of course we have been looking for better suggestions as to how to manage detainees who pose a lethal threat to the civilized world, and we have already implemented dozens of reforms.

The real problem is not Guantanamo Bay. The problem is that, to a large extent, we are in unexplored territory with this unconventional and complex struggle against extremism. Traditional doctrines covering criminals and military prisoners do not apply well enough.
Bull hocky. This isn't some "new" war. This is the continuing struggle of imperial domination of subject lands that has the usual blowback of urban warfare. Ask the Brits about the Irish! The bombing of targets in the capital of some empire is normal, not strange. The usual response of all empires when this happens is to level whole cities in subject nations, subjegation of people who are of a different culture and religion and then exploitation of the natural resources, that being "accidental" to the whole scheme.

Lastly, Rummy talks about saving American lives. So the 500 dead Americans in Afghanistan which is getting worse by the week, and the nearly 2000 dead and 20,000 maimed in Iraq don't count? It seems to me, the more we torture the inmates at Gitmo, the more Americans die. And we haven't seen the end of domestic attacks, either. Right now, it isn't necessary. The Muslims are successfully making hash of us overseas.

Meanwhile, "transparent" Gitmo seems pretty fogged up to the lawyers trying to come in.

US: Lawyers for 63 detainees at the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have complained before a US federal court at the slow pace their cases are being handled by authorities.

The hearing before the District Court in Washington was the first open proceedings since the Supreme Court ruled in June that the US Government must justify the Guantanamo detentions.

The lawyers, whose clients include Bahrainis, Britons and Kuwaitis, also made a new attack on the lack of access they get to the detainees.

"We have people rotting in prison for almost three years, and we don't want any delays," said Tom Wilner, an attorney for 12 Kuwaiti detainees.

Most of the approximately 540 detainees at the camp on the Guantanamo US Naval Base have been held since the end of the Afghanistan war in late 2001 and early 2002 without charge or access to a lawyer. Several have made accusations of torture or physical abuse. This has been strongly denied by US authorities.
At least Stalin and Hitler had staged trials! We aren't even bothering with that detail. Even the Nazis didn't sit on prisoners forever, they were always anxious to bring them to trial. The killing of all those civilians at concentration camps were off the legal horizon, they were "moved" there to keep them confined but oopsie, they died, didn't they? That is what the Nazis said at their trials in 1946.

The similarity to concentration camps is very high, actually. We aren't starving them to death but we are keeping them and Padillo in an eternal legal limbo punctuated by sadistic tortures which we then blame on bored guards, etc or simply ignore. This inhuman set up is very much what the Geneva Conventions strove to end. Our entire propaganda stance for fifty years was that gulags are evil and denying people constitutional and human rights is evil and we are good because we don't do these things.

Now we are totally evil and worse, pretending it is OK to be evil.

Just like Pravda years ago, the American right wing media machine is busy trying to defame and destroy Amnesty International.
Despite a major international outcry and expert condemnation of US government policy, hundreds of people of around 35 different nationalities remain held in a legal black hole at the US Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, many without access to any court, legal counsel or family visits. Denied their rights under international law and held in conditions which may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, the detainees face severe psychological distress. There have been numerous suicide attempts.

As more evidence surfaces that the abuse of Guantánamo detainees has been widespread, it is ever more urgent to end the plight of the detainees. US authorities must bring all detainees to trial, in full accordance with international law and standards, or else release them immediately and unconditionally.
The bellowings of the wounded beast are nearly deafening at this point. Wailing with tears running down their fat faces, they point to the word "gulag" and screech, "We don't have millions of prisoners in the gulag system and besides, we feed them." As if this makes our gulag go away.

Some, like Rush Limbaugh, have made ugly threats to anyone pointing out the futility of running gulags while pretending they are boy's camps. LIke the Nazis, our rulers claim running these inhuman holding pens makes us safer. Quite.

Despite all evidence pointing to the opposite.

I pray the forces for good triumph here. We all have a vested interest in forcing our government to hew to the Constititution and to stop this madness. Gulags and concentrations camps all started out very small. They have this tendency to swell in size. This is why we have a Constitution. This is why lynchings happened. Oppressed people have to be protected by the law. And the Senate still couldn't get the Southern Senators to sign an apology for that!

Isn't it sad now, Amnesty International has to treat the USA like the Soviet Union? Write letters to Bush asking him to free all political prisoners!
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