Tag Archive: Guantanamo Bay

Talkin’ about a… revo what?

What were the last words on the suicide bomber’s lips as he touched the wires together? I’ll tell you: “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Thomas Jefferson might well have stirred his audiences with the pronouncement that “Every generation needs a new revolution”, and Abe Lincoln probably did declare that “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government…”

Yeah, sure. Listen, try it, go on, start a revolution and see what it gets you.

Mickey Z reckons the land of the free would likely reward you with an orange jumpsuit and a “one-way ticket for an all-inclusive vacation at Guantanamo Bay”:

‘Let’s face it, revolution just ain’t what it used to be. Mao Tse-Tung warned: “A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery.” Today, revolution is a Chevy commercial or a Beatles song. Che Guevara believed “the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” By 1994, Newt Gingrich and his merry band of Republicans were using “revolution” to describe a minor reshuffling of ruling class allegiances. “The most heroic word in all languages is revolution,” stated Eugene Debs, but if he were around today and typed “revolution” into Google, he’d find the top response was for a software company.

‘As long as you’re not talking about the U.S. government, you can have as many revolutions as you please. You can have 33 per minute, for all Dick Cheney cares. Fitness, music, film, art, and countless ways to make money-the mutinous mood is alive and well. This time around, however, the revolution was indeed televised and is now enjoying a long, successful run in syndication.

‘Can the huddled befuddled masses to snap from their self-induced trance to recapture the subversive spirit of ’76? I’ll give the last word to Abraham Lincoln: “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”

Remember: Abe said it, not me.’

Zone in to Mickey Z right here.

“In all-too-real worlds beyond our reach, everything tends toward permanency. Whatever the discussion may be, whatever issues may seem to be gripping Washington or the nation, whatever you’re watching on TV or reading in the papers, elsewhere the continual constructing, enlarging, expanding, entrenching of a new global system of imprisonment, which bears no relation to any system of imprisonment Americans have previously imagined, continues non-stop, unchecked and unbalanced by Congress or the courts, unaffected by the Republic, but very distinctly under the flag ‘for which it stands.'”

In August the Imperialist Bush neo-con administration and its associated “big 5” media corporations proudly proclaimed that Abu Ghraib prison had been emptied of detainees and was to be turned over to the “Iraqi government”.

Well, it’s one thing to close a prison but quite another to release its inmates. So, what happened to them?

Have you heard of Camp Bucca? What about Camp Cropper?

Perhaps you have heard of the latter: it started off as a “temporary facility”, a “bunch of tents” appended to the US base adjoining Baghdad International Airport (which, incidentally is now one of the many “enduring camps” that have, since 2004, become fair-sized American towns, complete with Pizza Huts, Burger Kings and mini-golf courses) and is now a 60 million dollar state of the art prison.

The emptying of Abu Ghraib may have made big news; the filling of Camp Cropper, however, didn’t get a mention.

So, what about the other one, Camp Bucca? You can’t read about that anywhere, says Tom Engelhardt and, what is more:

“While arguments spin endlessly here at home about the nature of withdrawal ‘timetables,’ and who’s cutting and running from what, and how many troops we will or won’t have in-country in 2007, 2008, or 2009, on the ground a process continues that makes a mockery of the debate in Washington and in the country. While the ‘reconstruction’ of Iraq has come to look ever more like the deconstruction of Iraq, the construction of an ever more permanent-looking American landscape in that country has proceeded apace and with reasonable efficiency.”

Currently the Bush administration, in the name of the American people and financed by their tax dollars — and, due to the complicity of our “leaders”, in the name of the people and courtesy of the tax Sterling of the UK — is holding 14000 prisoners in Iraq; possibly more that 500 in Afghanistan; and nearly 500 in Guantanamo. Most of these individuals are beyond the jurisdiction of any system of justice.

And if all of the camps that we know about are shut down none of those prisoners is going anywhere closer to justice soon, because a globally outsourced penal system has been created to absorb them.

If you don’t take the time to read Tom Engelhardt’s article you deserve what may be coming.

In response to that statement some may say that knowing the facts doesn’t eradicate the problem. I reply in this fashion:

To win a war you must first know your enemies.

Click here to take that essential first step on the road to victory.

The Guantanamo Letter

The illegal detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba was opened by the USA in 2002 and currently holds approximately 460 prisoners, none of whom have recieved a proper trial (most have yet to be charged), though they have been held for over four years.

A report by the UN Committee Against Torture has concluded that interogation techniques employed at the camp are prohibited by international conventions.

However, a request from the British Medical Association (BMA) in June, demanding “direct and unfettered access” for independent doctors to examine the health of detainees was ignored by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In an open letter published in the Times today 120 doctors and other UK medical professionals accuse the British Government of collusion in “a war crime” and calls for an independent investigation to determine the medical needs of the detainees.

Under our political system the government is elected by the British people; we are, therefore, as a nation, a partner in this collusion. 

Sir, The recent US Supreme Court decision that the Guantanamo tribunals were illegal did not address the pressing medical concerns of the detainees (Foreign Editor’s Briefing, Sept 14).

Recently the BMA proposed that an independent group of British doctors visit Guantanamo to assess their medical treatment. Several UK residents remain incarcerated there. The Foreign Office has refused to act on this request. Further it has come to our attention that, in more than four years, neither the pro bono medical nor legal panels have ever discussed Guantanamo. These two Foreign Office committees were set up specifically to assist the Government when there is serious concern for the medical or legal status of British prisoners overseas. Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, has told us that “where consular officials are aware of a serious legal problem, they seek to solve this at local level before the use of either panel is considered”.

Our Government’s excuse is that it does not wish to set a precedent to act for British residents, rather than British citizens. We find this morally repugnant. The Foreign Office can and does act differently when circumstances suit, for example seeking to overturn a death sentence on an Afghan Christian convert, Abdul Rahman. Yet it feels unable to take any action for UK residents held illegally in Guantanamo.

Finally, given that the US military has awarded medals for doctors involved in the care of Guantanamo detainees (for medical treatment that would warrant a criminal investigation if carried out in Britain), we have no confidence in the proposed investigation of the recent suicides.

It is clear that an independent scrutiny is urgently required by physicians outside the US military. The silence of the Foreign Office is shameful and reflects the collusion of this country in a war crime (Click here for the list of signatories).

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