Thursday, April 23, 2020

I am a serial number

Asadullah Haroon Gul, a detainee still held at Guantanamo wrote this article for the Afghanistan Times:


By Guantánamo ISN 3148 (aka Asadullah Haroon)
The Guantánamo military base is almost invisible to the world; the detainees held here have totally vanished from the world. We are nameless, faceless, referenced by an internment “serial number” – as if we are pieces of hardware, no longer human. A name makes a person individual and unique.  Serial numbers are for inanimate objects. I am No. 3148. It is easy to mistreat something called No. 3148. A number does not have dignity.
Importantly, then, I am also Asadullah Haroon, the Afghan citizen from Nangarhar. My wife waits year after year for news that her husband is coming home. My infant baby, Mariam, is now a teenager.
Twenty-three of us “nobody numbers” remain here in Guantánamo. None is Afghan but me, so there is nobody who speaks either Pashto or Dari and I am in danger of losing my language. At least No. 1094, No. 1460 and No. 1461 are Pakistani, and we can speak some Urdu. No. 1460 was so badly tortured, though, that he would rather live in another block essentially alone with his sad thoughts.

Read the rest here.

Friday, April 17, 2020

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under


The war-time president

Managing the pandemic in the US of A ... Letting the virus out of the bottle as the president bloviates and botches ... Ideology trumps science ... Misinterpreting the Defence Procurement Act ... Disbanding and closing programs for pandemic preparedness ... US manufacturers busily exporting vital equipment ... Oversight provisions in rescue legislation to be ignored ... Roger Fitch's Letter from Washington 
"I didn't know people die from the flu."
Donald Trump, unaware that Frederick Trump, his enterprising immigrant grandfather, died in the 1918 flu pandemic.
*   *   *
"We've had a big problem with the ... woman governor ... from Michigan. We don't like to see the complaints ... Now, she wants a declaration of emergency, and, you know, we'll have to make a decision on that ... [but] all she does is ... blame the federal government."
Donald Trump, bullying a blue state governor through threats to withhold coronavirus aid.
*   *   *
"They had things [in the Democrats' proposed legislation], levels of voting that if you'd ever agreed to it, you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again." 
Donald Trump, conceding that improved access to voting during the pandemic would cost his party office.  
*   *   *
Character is destiny, and America's kakistocrat president is dealing with the coronavirus crisis as only he would. The Post has an overview of Trump's shocking, dysfunctional response.
Mr Trump seized on the crisis, not to save lives, but to preen and bloviate about himself, and punish Democrats, too. For example, presidential declarations of a local state of emergency trigger federal financial support and assistance, and Trump has mostly green-lighted these for Republican states, while delaying them for Democrat-governed states. More here and here.
Read the whole Fitch here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

A sad musical interlude

RIP John Prine

Monday, April 6, 2020

Could things really get even more secret at Gitmo?

The NY Times (Carol Rosenberg) has a look at what looks to be a growing culture of even more secrecy at Gitmo -- this on the heels of another judge for the military commission stepping down.
Read the story here.

h/o to Don for passing this on to me!