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Alice in Guantanamoland: life for 15-year-old soldier?

by fairleft Tue Aug 10th, 2010 at 06:45:53 PM EST

Mr. Khadr was captured by U.S. Forces in 2002, when he was just fifteen years old. Since then, he has been forced into various "stress positions" and left there for many hours on end. He has been suffocated until he passed out, revived, and then suffocated again. He has been terrorized by barking dogs while his head was covered by a plastic bag tied tightly around his neck, making it hard for him to breathe. He was told he was going to be sent to a country where he would be horribly tortured and raped. He has been doused with freezing water and left cold and shivering. He has been interrogated for long stretches of time without being allowed to go to the bathroom, forcing him to urinate on himself. He was subjected to "light pushing," bright lights left in front of his eyes until he could not see. He has spent long periods in solitary confinement, sometimes in very cold temperatures. He has been beaten by interrogators who shackled his hands and feet together, lifting him off the ground and then dropping him many times over. He has been abused until he could not stand, and then used by military police as a human mop to wipe his own urine and pine oil off the floor of an interrogation chamber.

-    From Defense Motion to v. Suppress Statements Allegedly Procured Using Torture, Coercion and Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment (pdf file)

Photobucket
Omar Khadr shortly before capture and 7 months afterwards.

Trying a 15-year-old child soldier for murder, the planned sentence life imprisonment, absurd and obscene on so many levels.

. . .


So the U.S. invades Afghanistan, and Canadian citizen and 15 year old Omar Khadr continued fighting for the Taliban against the Northern Alliance, which ruled mebbe 5% of Afghanistan before tagging along behind the American blitzkrieg. But in the Bush-Obama Alice in Opiumland military justice system, Khadr is somehow guilty of 'murder' because he or a comrade (no one actually knows, but the U.S. is altering those facts in order to railroad Khadr) of the de facto Afghanistan government army shot and killed one of the foreign invader soldiers.

On so many levels. This was a boy, injured so badly after one of the invaders shot him twice in the back while incapacitated (it's war, Americans get to do stuff like that with impunity; Khadr's comrade was shot and killed in the same manner), that a soldier said he could see his heart beating through the gaping wounds.

At Bagram prison, puss still dripping from his badly cared for wounds, Khadr is interrogated by Sgt. Joshua Claus, a convicted and jailed detainee abuser (two of whom died). He terrifies Khadr into making a false confession by lying to him, that an Afghan teen who hadn't cooperated was sent to an American prison where he was raped and killed. In the kangaroo court of Colonel Parrish, he has decided they will pretend the forced and false confession is real.

Oh, and the U.S. Department of Defense has banned from Gitmo reporters who write the name of convicted prisoner abuser and Khadr interrogator Claus into their news reports on the trial . Despite the fact that Claus's name has been on the record in the mainstream press since 2008.

But of course, none of the above is news today in the U.S., because the mainstream media has decided it isn't.

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It's not news because it's Standard Operating Procedure...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 10th, 2010 at 08:58:12 PM EST
Yet, it is still a message that needs to be iterated and reiterated, and hopefully get under the skin of the self-defined Christian victims of This-Changes-Everything-Day.

I understand that most people think, or realize, that they can't do much about this. They can't pick up the keys and let the kid out, feed him some lunch and dinner, give him a place to sleep for a few nights like something Bogie would do in some movie. There is no leader figure in most people's lives, no pastor or sheriff to say, Hey, I heard about this...what can we do?

There's no media outlet to hold a marathon, no outlet at all to vent anything close to the rage one would feel if this were a family member or neighbor.

My congress-critter, Adam Schiff, doesn't see the irony of funding billions more for the terrorist-generation machine we've built while egging on his colleagues to pass the Armenian Genocide Bill every year. He's typical of the 'leadership' we let pass as our representatives.

Perhaps Chou En-Lai's comment about the success of the French Revolution, that "It is too soon to tell" allows that revolutions like it and the American, and his own are going to have these big lulls when the dream is merely a thread...that they can come back. Perhaps America's dream can come back as well, though this repeating cycle of odd involvements in death and mayhem seems to get woven deeper.

The tragedy is that if Obama and Boxer and several hundred others were to step up to the microphones and explain with persistent and excellent timbre that this is wrong, it would be sealing an invitation for the right wing machine to roll over them in the coming elections. It shouldn't be, it is wrong, it is depressing that there is no way that they could get their non-sound-bite message out. Yet even if they could, even if every pastor in every church banged on this issue, with every artist who has the ear or eye of some public were to get this issue to dance, the only message that would ring is the anecdotal story of a 15 year old kid being tortured, while the big story that created the torture machine would roll on.

I have a tomato plant, one of whose branches has fallen and cracked and is hanging on by a thread. Several tomatoes which were just flowers at the time are hanging on, growing, apparently able to get ripe with little visible sign of where the elan vital is flowing. I look at it daily and wonder if there is any hope that they will mature to pass on their energy.

It is too soon to tell.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Aug 11th, 2010 at 08:38:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
siegestate:
The tragedy is that if Obama and Boxer and several hundred others were to step up to the microphones and explain with persistent and excellent timbre that this is wrong, it would be sealing an invitation for the right wing machine to roll over them in the coming elections.

So ultimately politicians/leaders can only go as far as their electorates will let them, and their electorates are often willing consumers of the Fox propaganda machines.  We can blame "corporate interests" but they can't sell were there is no market.

So why do people ultimately buy into the hate narratives and fund the murder machines?  Why are the so called Christian fundies the very worst at doing so when their message is supposed to be universal love and doing onto others what you would they should do to you?

So how can any so called Christian or democratic society do this shit regardless of provocation?

The reality is that this shit happens because the majority are prepared to let it happen in pursuit of their own self perceived interests.  And people buy into the hate narratives because it feeds into their conceit that they are somehow superior to others when the reverse is often the case.

You are defined by the worst you let happen on your watch. The US stands indicted.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 11th, 2010 at 10:45:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Obama really wanted to do something about Fox and right-wing hate radio, he could. There are any number of ways, from tax investigations to antitrust legislation to licensing and regulatory 'adjustments' that could put the screws on the far-right extremist noise makers.

There would be ranting and yelling, but so what? The wackos aren't more than 25% of the population, and he'd gain votes from the moderates and the left for every move leftward. If the wackos turn violent, they're finished - most of the population will be sickened by them.

But - for whatever reason - he doesn't want to do this. The jury is out on whether Obama is simply bought and paid-for and his job was always salesandmarketing, or whether he's genuinely a softer black Reagan.

I can't even hazard a guess about the truth. Obama sometimes talks to the smart, non-serious, people, but he's clearly not listening to or hearing them.

Either way we have the situation yet again where as far as policy goes, the fix is in, and There Is No Alternative.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 11th, 2010 at 11:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For Obama to try to shut down/muzzle Fox would be an open declaration of class war.  Whatever else Obama may have promised, he made no secret of his consensual/"bipartisan" approach to political problem solving. A hard left approach would certainly be to put the squeeze on the ultra-right wing and provoke them to violence - so as to isolate and criminalise them.  I don't see any stomach for that kind of fight almost anywhere within the US political spectrum.  So while arguably Obama could, he could not survive politically if he tried.  He would also probably be assassinated if he tried.  When politics turns to violence, it is almost always the ultra right which wins. The propertied simply have access to more guns and resources. Progressive change depends on keeping violence off the table.  A bit of venting by the extreme right is a small price to pay.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 11th, 2010 at 02:13:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well said.

We have to out think them, and some how educate around them.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Aug 11th, 2010 at 02:54:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The jury has been in for many years: he's willingly owned by the money that pays for his political campaigns. That means, like Clinton, he has bought into the Thatcher/Reagan deregulation markets uber alles thinking, what is now called 'mainstream economics,' of the past 30 years. That being said, like any politician of 'my career first' leanings, he wants to win the next election. So it's always good to put public pressure on him and make him pay a price for right-wing moves, and recognize when he's done some good things.

Generally, however, we're stuck in no-alternative two-right-wing party politics, and mired in right-wing dominated media, and so there ain't much hope out in the real world now.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Thu Aug 12th, 2010 at 09:29:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, the logic train must completely clear the station...if the US stands indicted, which it arguably does, and I as an American citizen am presumed to have some control and responsibility, as I arguably do,  I and all who I know also share the indictment...but it is no less true for me  it as world citizen.

While I can make and defend all the arguments you have made, I'm not certain ...for example, Corporate interests can't sell if there is no market. Sure, you have to tap into a dream to sell anything. But who doesn't want everything...there is nothing wrong with wanting everything. There are implications if it is taken at the wrong time, or in the wrong sequence or when other priorities are more critical or [insert list here-you can do this argument.]

For example...christian or democratic society do this shit regardless of provocation? There is never any provocation that could justify these actions.

For example; One is defined by the worst you let happen on your watch...yes, sure. But we are also defined by sticking to point and continuing to work to our goals regardless of the odds against us. And we are defined by the act of kindness that careens into other inspiring acts that challenge the apparently powerful but typically weak structure of the assholes of the planet.

I'm not certain, but I am pretty sure that if I went to Afghanistan or the Korean borders or Baghdad, or the West Bank or Sudan and said, "Freakin' stop this Bullshit", it wouldn't stop a tyrant or freedom fighter from doing what they have decided to do. Perhaps if all of got together and decided on the place to go to and did it all together we might get a couple mentions in some blogs, but it wouldn't significantly matter. It wouldn't stop the Israeli tank from destroying a the houses of a few more dozen Palestinians as happened yesterday. Maybe it would be delayed by a day, but for the energy expired, it wouldn't be a good return.

And if we were to somehow inspire a million people to go to Sudan and just assist with food and protecting and building and farming...well, we would have to presume that at least 100,000 of us would be dead sooner and probably more later. Perhaps if we got 5,000,000 activists somehow protecting the camps and rebuilding, perhaps maybe the families and friends of us all left behind would be able to get their 'leaders' to provide us some cover...but I doubt it, even if I could think of a way to make it happen.

There's a lot of people way more smarter than me, and so far no one has an idea - except learning how to connect us all, and how to educate us all without propaganda. This is no small thing actually.

And if while I practice learning how to get thoughts into cogent ideas, and cogent ideas into express-able language, and perhaps that language gets an idea of someone else going in the right direction...right now, that is the best I can do or hope for.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Aug 11th, 2010 at 02:34:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I forgot this one line...

So ultimately politicians/leaders can only go as far as their electorates will let them,

No; the leaders must educate, make the issues clear instead of letting the right wing muddy them up, and align the dream to the educated populace. In other words, lead.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Aug 11th, 2010 at 03:04:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dreary excuse making. There would be squawking by the John Birch Society lunatics who 10% of Americans listen to, and celebration by the 2/3rds of the Democratic Party that are way to the left of Obama and got him elected.

The problem in the U.S. now is that we have two right wing parties and a unitary executive both in its powers and continuity across administrations. This torture and kangaroo court policy is what Obama wants, it is what the Democratic Party wants. That's why they are doing it, because they want to do it.

The same goes for economic and financial sector bailout policies. This is not about whimpiness, it's about right-wing corporate-money dependent politicians doing what they and their backers want done.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Wed Aug 11th, 2010 at 11:14:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This week though provided a little insight that was not so obvious. For several weeks the republicans held up the bill that extended the extended funding for the long-term unemployed. Their excuse was that they didn't want to fund the bail out of the states, which was in the same bill.

Separately, the Senate pushed through a state bailout bill and Pelosi called back the Congress so that yesterday they could pass it, against the Republicans.

Obama fought and eventually won.

It is not impossible to beat the bastards...just a slow process with a lot of pain.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Aug 11th, 2010 at 02:59:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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