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Monday, 3 January 2005

Torture and indefinite imprisonment

The United States is preparing to hold terrorism suspects indefinitely without trial, replacing the Guantánamo Bay prison camp with permanent prisons in the Cuban enclave and elsewhere, it was reported Sunday. The new prisons are intended for captives the Pentagon and the CIA suspect of terrorist links but do not wish to set free or put on trial for lack of hard evidence. . . ..

The Pentagon has built a new 100-cell prison on Guantánamo Bay, known as Camp 5, and plans to ask Congress this year for $25 million to build Camp 6, a 200-bed version. The two jails are intended for suspected members of al-Qaida, the Taliban or other extremist groups who are unlikely to go before a military tribunal because military prosecutors lack proof. . . ..

Some CIA detainees have been subjected to "rendition" -- being handed over to U.S. allies, such as Egypt, Jordan and Afghanistan, that agree to hold them secretly to extract information. The practice has been criticized by human rights groups as an endorsement and indirect use of torture. The CIA reportedly proposed building its own permanent prison, but the plan was rejected as impractical.

What do you do with a prisoner when you don't have enough evidence to convict? Warehouse them permantently overseas, of course! It's a great idea for stopping terror. And if it works for foreign terrorists, well, it will work for domestic ones too. And since anti-terror legislation has been used against street gangs, pornographers, credit card theives and others, we can expect to see any petty thief treated to all anti-terror laws. Or, you know, maybe just a suspected petty theif. I mean, just because you have absolutely no evidence isn't a reason to release somebody.

Make no mistake. Today's foreign pirsons are tomorrow's domestic prisons. And denying people all sorts of rights sin't going to build goodwill around the world. We could build goodwill by doing something like, I dunno, helping with tsunami relief, but I just heard the president on the radio this morning asking individuals to donate for relief effors. Meaning the government is planning on doing nothing. Soon, we'll have to deliver our own mail. We might have to run our own indefinite detention prisons too, but there always seems to be enough money for military actions. On the one hand, maybe the generosity of individuals will help perpetuate the "americans are good people even if their government stinks" mythology. But somebody is bound to notice that we voted this guy into office.

So, Point 1: We used to claim the moral high ground by having all these ideas of rights and freedoms. We were the good guys because we prenteded to act like good guys. Now we're just another side in a mean war, or, looking at fire power levels, the only real side in a mean war against the third world in general and the middle east in particular. The Geneva convetions are "quaint." Now bend to our will or be torutured for the rest of your life.

Point 2: They came for the foreign muslims, but I wasn't a foreign muslim, so I said nothing. It is only a matter of time before these programs of indefinite detention get expanded. Already, US Citizens have been detained, including Padilla. Non-muslims should care about what happens to muslims just out of concern for human rights, but there's also a pragmatic element. Unless you're a rich, evangellic, white Chrstian, you are an alien other. You are on a check list. Maybe you're next on the list. For our own safety, we have to protest these things. We have to put a stop to it.

Update: Aljazeera Story on indefinite detentions in Gitmo

1 comment:

goat said...

i'm not sure it's fair - in fact i'm pretty sure it's not - to say that "we" voted him into office when 49% of the country voted for someone else. the man has a tiny, /tiny/ majority. it's not like he got 75% of the vote or something.

hear hear on the rest though.