Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.09 Rainforest destruction from gold mining hits all-time high in Peru

11.09 A new way to make steel could cut 5% of CO2 emissions at a stroke

11.08 Medicaid’s stunning victory

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]

11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]

11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]

11.15 Big Oil v the planet is the fight of our lives. Democrats must choose a side

11.14 The Real Florida Recount Fraud

11.14 Telling NRA #ThisIsOurLane, Doctors' Photos Show Blood-Soaked Reality of America's Gun Madness

11.14 At Freshman Orientation, Young and Growing Progressive Caucus Makes Clear It Will 'Fight Like Hell' for Bold Democratic Agenda

11.13 'You Sound Nervous': Gillum Mocks Trump as President Demands End to Florida Recount

11.13 Kyrsten Sinema wins Arizona Senate race in breakthrough for Democrats

Justice Matters

11.09 Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally [Making America Less Great Again...]

High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

11.10 US stops refuelling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft in Yemen war [But there are a few children still alive. It's too soon!]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]

11.14 Brexit: May tells her cabinet, this is the deal – now back me

11.11 Tax reform: down with the ‘stepped-up basis’

International & Futurism

11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]

11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]

11.14 Israel and Hamas launch hundreds of attacks in Gaza clash

11.14 Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says

11.13 Austin's Fix for Homelessness: Tiny Houses, and Lots of Neighbors

11.13 Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival.

11.13 Caravan marks one month on the road: ‘We keep on going, laughing or crying’

11.13 Letter Shows Einstein’s Prescient Concerns About ‘Dark Times’ in Germany

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Talking Blues: Gitmo Gets Harsher Under "Progressive" Rule
Newspaper logo

COMMENTARY:

Talking Blues: Gitmo Gets Harsher Under "Progressive" Rule

Is the Pentagon subordinate to the White House?

by Chris Floyd
First published in Empire Burlesque earlier today, 10 November 2009

Just as our great and good "progressives" sell poor women down the river for a meaningless vote, they have also empowered a dim-witted extremist – Senator Joe Lieberman – for meaningless partisan advantage.

Talk is cheap; actions speak volumes. And it seems Barack Obama is compiling quite a volume for himself at America's flagship concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay. As Andrew Wander reports, conditions for prisoners at Gitmo have grown worse since Obama took office: Guantanamo conditions 'deteriorate'.

Of course, Gitmo is by no means the worst pit in America's worldwide gulag, which Obama has kept wide open for business, while fighting strenuously in court to retain all of Bush's authoritarian powers over the lives and liberties of anyone the president arbitrarily deems a suspected terrorist. And of course, he hasn't, uh, closed Gitmo, as he made a solemn promise to do within a year of his inauguration. But whether he eventually gets around to the PR show of shutting down this one camp, the fact that his administration has imposed an even harsher regime on its denizens of limbo is, literally, atrocious.

One can only assume that this has been done as some sort of compensation mechanism for Obama's promise to close the joint; every president now must continually prove that he is "tough enough" to do the dirty work – killing civilians, spying on citizens, kidnapping people and putting them in concentration camps, etc. – required to keep the imperial war machine going.  Any gesture – however hollow – toward an alternative approach must be balanced with harshness elsewhere.

This works on the domestic front as well, of course. For example, you can't have even a hollow and perverse gesture at health care reform without condemning poor women to die in back-alley abortions. Somebody has to pay, in blood and suffering, for every attempt at amelioration in the system; that's the modern American way.

Wander writes:

Within days of Obama's inauguration and subsequent announcement that he would close Guantanamo, prisoners say authorities introduced new regulations and revoked previous privileges at the prison.

"They took away group recreation for prisoners in segregation, which was the only time we saw anyone," Mohammed el Gharani remembers. [Gharani "They took away the books we had from the library. They even sprayed pepper spray into my cell while I was sleeping, so I'd wake up unable to breathe."

Gharani says he was beaten so badly by guards that he is still suffering pain today.

..."I am in the very same cell, wearing the same uniform, eating the same food, yet treated much worse compared to mid-2008," [a current] prisoner writes. "We are unable to understand the goals of the policy of more restrictions and inflexibility."

Gharani was released in June 2009, after being held in American captivity since he was seized in Pakistan in October 2001 – at the age of 14. He was originally charged with being a top money-man for al Qaeda, after an American-hired translator mistook Gharani's talk about vegetables as evidence of his wide-ranging financial operation. As the Boston Globe reported back in 2006:

He was .. interrogated using a translator from Yemen who spoke a different dialect of Arabic than was spoken in his native Saudi Arabia, according to Gharani's lawyer.

"The word `zalata' in Yemen means money, but in his Saudi Arabian dialect, it means tomato," said Smith. "They asked him, 'When you went to Pakistan, where did you get your zalata?' and he tells them all these different shops where you could buy tomatoes in Karachi. They write them all down, thinking that this 14-year-old kid is a big financier who was able to get money from all these different places."

Later, they accused him of being part of a London "cell" run by an extremist cleric  – in 1998. The fact that Gharani was 11 years old at that time, and had never been to London, did not prevent him from being held captive for almost eight years – a cruel and unusual punishment no matter what the conditions were, much less with the abuse that he endured.

And still it goes on, as Wander reports:

According to the letter [from a current prisoner], prison authorities inflict "humiliating punishments" on inmates and prisoners face "intentional mental and physical harm".

"The situation is worsening with the advent of the new management," the prisoner writes, noting, like Gharani, that the new rules were imposed in January this year. Conditions, he says, "do not fit the lowest standard of human living".

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which monitors prisoner treatment at Guantanamo, declined to comment on specific allegations at the prison, but says that it recognises the cumulative effect low-level abuse can have on the well-being of prisoners in general.

"In some cases, a single act may amount to torture," ICRC spokesman Simon Schorno says. "In others, ill treatment may be the result of a number of methods used over time, which, taken individually and out of context, may seem harmless."

...Ahmed Ghappour, who represents Guantanamo prisoners, has lodged several requests to initiate investigations since Obama took office.

"I have requested four investigations regarding prisoner abuse just this past year," he says. "The military responded to my first request indicating that they would investigate, but have been radio silent since then."

Of course they've been silent. You can't expect an administration that refuses to investigate, much less prosecute, howlingly flagrant war crimes committed by its predecessor to investigate charges of abuse against itself, can you? (And again, it should be remembered that the existence of a gulag system that incarcerates people – including children – without charges or hearing, and holds them in captivity year after year, is itself a crime against humanity, regardless of the treatment given to the prisoners.)

In any case, even the cheap talk about closing Gitmo may be moot, in the wake of the Ft. Hood shootings. As we noted yesterday, many "respectable" figures in America's power structure are gearing up for "doing something" about the Muslims "in our midst," and especially those who dare sully the sacred military with their presence. As Jeremy Sapienza notes, Senator Joe Lieberman is a prime example, set to hold hearings of his Homeland Security Committee on how the Army came to nurture such a viper in its bosom, with, no doubt, recommendations on how to root out all the "self-radicalized home-grown terrorists" – the "enemy within" that Lieberman has long identified as a dire threat.

Lieberman can use his prominent position as committee chairman to do a great deal of damage, fomenting more division and racial and ethnic hatred across the country (and certainly across the media). And why is he in this position? Because the Democratic leadership (including Barack Obama, who endorsed Lieberman even after he bolted the party in a snit over being booted out by voters in an open primary) has put him there. They have placed this whining, fear-ridden extremist – now a member of a party named egotistically for himself – in a powerful post in order to buy his agreement to caucus with them, and swell their majority numbers – even though he regularly denounces their policies and votes against them.

So let no one think that the tide of hatred and malice and Muslimophobia flowing from the Ft. Hood shooting is due solely to right-wing cranks, respectable or otherwise. Just as our great and good "progressives" sell poor women down the river for a meaningless vote, they have also empowered a dim-witted extremist for meaningless partisan advantage. And now we may reap the all-too-meaningful whirlwind of their folly.


Chris Floyd at his deskChris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.com.

This column is republished here with the permission of the author.



Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on November 10, 2009.

 



Public Service Ads:
Verifiable Voting in Maryland