Monday, May 5, 2008

Guantantamo our 51st State?

The world slaps us with Guantanamo as though it's a sack of wet nickels. Guantanamo is an albatross, wrapped in a scarlet letter, inside an Alcatraz. What to do with Guantanamo?

The Supreme Court is mulling the question. The president and the secretary of defense say they want to close Guantanamo. All three presidential candidates and five former U.S. secretaries of state want to close Guantanamo.

Fortunately, the answer is obvious. Congress should pass, and the president sign, legislation making Guantanamo the 51st state.

(click on the title to read the rest of this great op-ed... from Gitmo attorney Peter Ryan...)


Today Reuters reported that the bush administrative could close Guantanamo...."The Bush administration could announce plans by the end of its term in January to close Guantanamo prison and an upcoming Supreme Court ruling might be the impetus for this, senior U.S. officials and experts say." (Click on the title if you really want to read it... but I warn you they also quote from Matthew Waxman.... the man responsible for Al-Ghizzawi still being at guantanamo... as though he is some sort of voice of reason....)

LEST WE FORGET.... they said the same thing last time the supreme court was getting ready to rule... I fell for it in 2006 before the Supreme Court released the Hamdan decision... Bush announced "I want to close Guantanamo... I am just waiting for the Supreme court to rule..." I of course knew he didn't have to wait for the supreme court's ruling to close the place but I figured he would use it as an excuse...
He didn't.... he never intended to close the place but many people believed him and still ask me, "Aren't we closing the place? I thought Bush said he was closing the place?"

I will not fall for that crock again... but the big question is, will the media fall for it again??

A prison of shame and it's ours

For those of you who did not see this op-ed in Sunday's NY Times click on the title and read the whole article which also discusses the plight of Al-Ghizzawi.

A Prison of Shame, and It’s Ours

Published: May 4, 2008

My Times colleague Barry Bearak was imprisoned by the brutal regime in Zimbabwe last month. Barry was not beaten, but he was infected with scabies while in a bug-infested jail. He was finally brought before a court after four nights in jail and then released.

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Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Nicholas D. Kristof

On the Ground

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Nicholas Kristof addresses reader feedback and posts short takes from his travels.

Alas, we don’t treat our own inmates in Guantánamo with even that much respect for law. On Thursday, America released Sami al-Hajj, a cameraman for Al Jazeera who had been held without charges for more than six years. Mr. Hajj has credibly alleged that he was beaten, and that he was punished for a hunger strike by having feeding tubes forcibly inserted in his nose and throat without lubricant, so as to rub tissue raw.

“Conditions in Guantánamo are very, very bad,” Mr. Hajj said in a televised interview from his hospital bed in Sudan, adding, “In Guantánamo, you have animals that are called iguanas ... that are treated with more humanity.”


Roger Fitch Esq • April 25, 2008

Our Man in Washington

A.J. Liebling was right – the press is asleep on the big stories affecting our freedoms … Bush lawyers looking for soft landings in the corporate sector – although Freddo still can’t find a job … Copyright violations by Pentagon in use of rap music to torture detainees

imageAs recently reported, a newly-released “torture memo” of the Justice Department’s former lawyer John Yoo purports to authorise the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorist suspects”.

Yet there would be no need to use these techniques, if the designated terrorists would only confess their crimes as gracefully as does George W. Bush.

For instance, when Mr Bush chose to admit he had been spying on Americans for years without warrants (under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a felony attracting five years in prison), he did so before millions of Americans on national TV, and never looked back.

When he subsequently disclosed he had violated multiple international treaties by abducting, disappearing and detaining prisoners secretly in foreign prisons, for the purpose of illegal interrogation, Dubya did so at a well-publicised press conference where he announced the men were being rendered to the ultimate dungeon – Guantánamo.

He connected the dots for the media, and nothing happened.

Now, on a major US television network in prime time, Mr Bush has cheerfully acknowledged that he knew and approved of the events reported in my last post: the operation within the White House of what might be called an interrogation strike force.

With cabinet members present, it was a virtual torture subcommittee of the President’s “war cabinet”.

So much was revealed by ABC TV, but Dan Froomkin of The Washington Post put it best:

“Top Bush aides, including Vice President Cheney, micromanaged the torture of terrorist suspects from the White House basement.”