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Seasons From Hell

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Don Smith

Joined: 02 Feb 2007
Posts: 248
Location: Erehwon

PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 8:54 pm    Post subject: Seasons From Hell Reply with quote

Seasons in Hell: Voices From the American Gulag http://www.chris-floyd.com/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1181&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=135
Written by Chris Floyd
Sunday, 10 June 2007
I. The Life of a King
The Independent has a remarkable story on Sami al-Haj, the Sudanese journalist who has been held in George W. Bush's concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay for five years. Haj has not been charged with any crime, but he is undoubtedly guilty of a grave sin in the eyes of the Bush Regime: he is a cameraman for Al Jazeera.

He was captured while trying to enter Afghanistan, on a valid visa, to cover the war there in June 2002. Pakistani authorities detained him without any cause, then turned him over to the Americans. No doubt someone -- or many people -- collected one of the hefty bounties that American forces were handing out in Pakistan and Afghanistan in those days for anyone whom the paid denouncer declared was a "terrorist suspect." Hundreds of people ended up in the Gitmo concentration camp this way, and Haj was one of these. Yet as the Independent notes, Haj has "continued to act like a reporter, detailing and documenting what he has seen and experienced inside Guantanamo and then passing this on to his lawyers." His eyewitness account of life inside the Bush gulag is harrowing -- and humiliating for every American in whose name the Bush Regime has perpetrated this filth. Some excerpts:

"For more than four years many of us have been isolated in a small cell, less that 10ft by 6ft, with the intense neon lights on 24 hours a day, " [Haj wrote]. "Many of us are not allowed to exercise outside these cells for more than one hour, just once a week. We are provided with food and drinks which are not suitable for the iguanas and rats that live beside us on Torture Island."

Haj is a Sudanese citizen who had been working for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network for only a matter of months when he was seized close to the Afghan border. The order for him to be detained apparently contained the number of his old passport, which had been lost two years previously and Haj thought the matter would quickly be cleared up. He was very wrong.

The US authorities have never formally charged Haj, though during the time of his incarceration at Guantanamo they have leveled various accusations at him – accusations that have changed from year to year. Among the allegations that have emerged during a series of Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) is that Haj ran a website supporting terrorism, that he sold Stinger missiles to Islamic militants in Chechnya and that he interviewed Osama bin Laden. He denies all the charges, though his lawyers point out that another Al Jazeera cameraman was present during an interview with Bin Laden. Could this be a case of guilt by association?

Remarkably, during 130 separate interviews, his interrogators have questioned him very little about his alleged links to the al-Qa'ida leader or other radicals. Rather their questions have focused almost exclusively on the operation of Al Jazeera. One of his lawyers reported that Haj said he had been told by several people that he would be set free if he agreed to return to Al Jazeera and spy for them. Each time he turned them down.

This is a pattern that we've seen over and over with Bush's Terror War captives. Innocent people are seized -- or bought -- by American security forces, who then attempt to force the captive to become an informant. Those who refuse are then plunged into the bowels of Bush's torture-and-terror apparatus. It is a crude, brutal, indeed Stalinist way of trying to create an intelligence network on the fly, and on the cheap.

In Haj's case, however, there was also the added incentive of penetrating Al Jazeera, whose independent reports on Bush's Terror War were considered highly dangerous by the Regime's media manipulators. And it was of course a further act of intimidation against the Qatar-based station, whose operatives have been killed by American forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq. We also know that Bush discussed bombing Al Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar with Tony Blair, who evidently dissuaded him from this course. The UK government has never disavowed the revelation of this bloodthirsty conversation between the two Christian statesmen -- although it has recently prosecuted the two brave whistleblowers responsible for revealing it.

Haj has seen the handiwork of the Christian statesman from Crawford first hand:

"During our days, months and years of detention we are constantly hauled off for interrogation sessions which are a by-word for abuse," Haj writes. "Here we encounter the 'Enhanced Interrogation Techniques'. One such method is solitary confinement which, for a selected number of prisoners, has been known to last for years. Interrogation itself can last for 28 hours without interruption, the prisoner forced to crouch or stand in stress positions, deprived of sleep, sexually humiliated without any clothes, sometimes even having Israeli or US flags wrapped around their heads. If they want to frighten us, then when we are bound and hooded they bring in the dogs."

More than five years of protesting his innocence, of thinking about his family, has taken its toll on Haj. Back in January he started a hunger strike in protest at his incarceration. Twice a day the prison authorities strap him to a chair using 16 separate restraints and force-feed him using a tube that has on occasion been forced, inadvertently, into his lungs rather than his stomach.

By way of punishment for his "difficult" behaviour he has been held in solitary confinement. Those who have been permitted to visit him say he has lost weight and is pale. And despite this the cameraman says he will not give up his effort to speak out.

In another note, he writes: "I sometimes ask myself, who are these people who are held in cages not even fit for wild animals? How do these humans live? The Prophet Jonah lived inside a whale and Moses lived inside a coffin, so the Guantanamo cells are only for those who are strong and those who have a will to adopt the path of the prophets. If I stay all my life in these cages, let those who inflict this on me do what they wish, but I feel I am living the life of a King."

As the Red Cross notes, the situation of the prisoners in Bush's gulag -- held captive indefinitely without charges and subjected to endless interrogation -- is itself a form of torture, regardless of any other heinous act inflicted on the prisoners. And as the Independent reports, an examination of the Pentagon's own records by Seton Hall University shows that more than half of the prisoners taken to Guantanamo have not even been alleged to have committed any hostile act against the United States. That is, they are so clearly and completely innocent that Bush's gulag minions could not even come up with the kind of baseless and scattershot allegations they have leveled against Haj. As the Independent notes:

Just eight per cent are accused of fighting for a terrorist group while 86 per cent were captured by the Northern Alliance or Pakistani authorities and handed over "at a time when the US offered large bounties for the capture of suspected terrorists."

II. The Children's Crusade

"It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." -- Luke 17:1-2

But bear in mind that the prison in Guantanamo Bay is meant to be the Theresienstadt of the Bush Gulag -- a "model camp," the public face of the Terror War incarceration system, which journalists and relief workers are allowed to visit, albeit under very restricted conditions. Gitmo is actually the "first circle" of Bush's hell, the best that it gets. Behind this public face lie the "secret prisons" of the CIA and other agencies and entities in the hydra-headed, ever-expanding "security organs" of the Regime. We know almost nothing of the horrors that have gone on there -- or in the many dungeons of the many tyrannical regimes to which Bush has "renditioned" an unknown number of captives.

What we do know, however, is that the Regime has kidnapped and apparently tortured the children of captives in an effort to make them talk. This was one of the nuggets in the recently released report by six human rights groups, which detailed 39 known cases of captives being "disappeared" somewhere in the Bush Gulag. As highlighted by Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings and Glenn Greenwald (among others), these "disappeared" include Yusuf and Abed Al Khalid, the sons of accused al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. When the two boys were nine and seven years old, they taken by Pakistani security forces and later transferred directly to U.S. custody.

This is not exactly news, however. In March 2003, The Daily Telegraph -- a fiercely pro-war, pro-Bush paper, at that time controlled by neocon impresario Conrad Black -- reported straightforwardly that the children had been taken captive and "are being used by the CIA to force their father to talk." The story goes on:

Last night CIA interrogators confirmed that the boys were staying at a secret address where they were being encouraged to talk about their father's activities. "We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children," said one official, "but we need to know as much about their father's recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times and they are given the best of care."

Again, the Telegraph has long been used as a conduit for British and American intelligence services to put the best spin on their activities. (See "Ulster on the Euphrates" for a recent and particularly egregious example.) Here it served a two-fold purpose. First, it signaled to the world that the Regime was willing to play the hardest of hardball in its Terror War -- a point underscored by the unprovoked invasion of Iraq just days after the story was published. Second, it sugarcoated the hardball by assuring the world that the seven and nine year old boys were being handled with "kid gloves" -- why, there was even a child psychologist present during their interrogations.

A glimpse of some of those interrogations was offered in the new "Disappeared" report, from the testimony of Ali Khan, whose two adult sons were taken captive by the Pakistani security forces. One son, Majid, was sent to Gitmo, where he is still being held; the other, Mohammed, was released after month. As noted by Hilzoy, Ali Khan testified that

according to Mohammed, he and Majid were detained in the same place where two of Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s young children, ages about 6 and 8, were held. The Pakistani guards told my son that the boys were kept in a separate area upstairs, and were denied food and water by other guards. They were also mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding.

Remember, the young boys were kidnapped because the American security organs were trying first to capture then break their father. It is simply inconceivable that U.S. agents were not involved in or aware of the "interrogation" of the boys by Pakistani officials before they were turned over directly to Bush's own tender mercies.

This system of torture, indefinite captivity and (as we have often noted here before) outright murder is the officially acknowledged and openly championed policy of the United States government. This it what America officially represents in the world today: this is the true face of the Terror War. And not even children are safe from it.

[color=Red]What gives me the creeps, more than anything about this sort of journalism, is the implication that there is somewhere, someone that is able to act. To bring the force of law, or civil society to bear upon these horrific crimes.
I don't see it.
Whatever shift in the social contract is going to occur, to look to the existing power structure seems absurd.
I do not have an easy answer, look to the fanatics for those.
Ormond in one of his posts said,"most people believe they are free"...
There's the rub.
Is a bird in a cage truly a bird?
Is a little justice better than none?[/color]

"A bayonet is a tool with a worker on both ends."- V.I.Lenin
Patriotism is a manifestation of the Stockholm Syndrome.
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Hocus Locus

Joined: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 850
Location: Lost in anamnesis, cannot forget my way out

PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I HIGHLY recommend
* The Road To Guantanamo [2006]
* Control Room [2004]
* Josh Rushing's Spin the Art of Selling War [2007]

"The Road to Guantanamo" is available for immediate watching in 11 parts, thanks be to Allah and YouTube.
The Road To Guantanamo Movie (Part 1 of 11)
The Road To Guantanamo Movie (Part 2 of 11)
The Road To Guantanamo Movie (Part 3 of 11)
The Road To Guantanamo Movie (Part 4 of 11)
The Road To Guantanamo Movie (Part 5 of 11)
The Road To Guantanamo Movie (Part 6 of 11)
The Road To Guantanamo Movie (Part 7 of 11)
The Road To Guantanamo Movie (Part 8 of 11)
The Road To Guantanamo Movie (Part 9 of 11)
The Road To Guantanamo Movie (Part 10 of 11)
The Road To Guantanamo Movie (Part 11 of 11)

Sami Al-Haj is a US-held political hostage, to keep the television network Al-Jazeera just a little off balance. There is no other reason. It's obscene.

Al-Jazeera's Control Room [2004] takes us into Iraq from the perspective of Al-Jazeera, and it is the most refreshing, riveting coverage of the event. Far more to nurture the soul here than American media's Fourth of July fireworks style coverage.

See these BFN posts where I cover this documentary, the plight of Sami Al-Haj and the fallen -- Tarik Ayyoub, Al-Jazeera reporter who was murdered (I don't have to mince words, I'm an American) by the United States in a direct air attack on the building Al-Jazeera was broadcasting from in Baghdad, geographic coordinates of which were made known to (and acknowledged by) the US embassy before their arrival on-scene. With some typed-in quotes from Control Room which were not even on the Internet in their entirety before Hocus typed them in. Hocus loooves to type.

HL BFN 03-Oct-2006 (within the parenthesis)
HL BFN 04-Oct-2006 quotes from 'Control Room', air attack on Al-Jazeera
HL BFN 17-Dec-2006 the fake Saddam statue topple, featuring the fiendishly clever remarks of Deema Khatib of Al-Jazeera, who unravels motives even as the statue topples... to peer through the psyop in near-real time.

Also, a very nice psyop let's-go-to-war! toolkit narrated by a true celebrity: (now civilian) Josh Rushing. He has become a spin-master on spin. A fine thing to become: I salute you, Captain Rushing.

In two parts,
Josh Rushing's Spin the Art of Selling War Part 1
Josh Rushing's Spin the Art of Selling War Part 2

The night they showed the P.O.W.'s and the dead [US] soldiers--Al-Jazeera showed them. It was powerful, because America doesn't show those kind of images. Most of the time America doesn't show those images. They showed the American soldiers on the tile floor. It was revolting. It made me sick to my stomach. What hit me was that the night before... there had been a bombing in Basra, and Al-Jazeera had shown images of the people, and they were equally, if not more, horrifying images. I had never seen it. I thought to myself, 'wow, that's gross. That's bad.' Then I went away and was eating dinner or something... it didn't affect me as much... And people in the Al-Jazeera office must have felt the way I was feeling that night... and it upset me on a profound level that I wasn't as bothered as much the night before. [pause] It makes me hate war. [pause] but it doesn't make me believe that we're in a world that can live without war, yet.
~Lt. (later Captain, now civillian) Josh Rushing, then-CENTCOM officer, in 'Control Room'
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Southpark Fan

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Location: The Caribbean of Canada

PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The death of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif

Tom Carter | 3 December 2012 | WSW

'On September 10, 2012, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif died in his cell at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As of the day he died, Latif had been imprisoned at Guantanamo for 10 years, 7 months and 25 days. He was 36 years old and left behind a wife and son.

Latif died after enduring a decade of torture and abuse at the hands of the US military and intelligence agencies. His death came after a habeas corpus petition challenging his incommunicado detention was granted by a federal judge and then overturned on appeal, on the grounds of authoritarian legal doctrines promoted by the Bush and Obama administrations.

The failure of the US legal system over the preceding decade to enforce Latif’s most basic rights underscores the collapse of centuries-old democratic legal institutions and the expanding machinery of a police state. Latif’s death constitutes a war crime that, along with the crimes against hundreds of other prisoners at Guantanamo and secret “black sites” around the world, warrants the impeachment, arrest and criminal prosecution of all of the top civilian and military officials in both administrations.

Latif, who was born in Yemen, was swept up in December 2001 in one of the many dragnet-style abductions organized by the US in Pakistan. The US government publicly claimed that Latif was a member of Al Qaeda, but Latif was never charged or convicted of any crime.

Documents obtained and published by WikiLeaks last year revealed that the US government knew all along that Latif was not associated with Al Qaeda. It appears that Latif traveled to Afghanistan not to join Al Qaeda, but to seek medical care related to a 1994 automobile accident that left him with lasting brain injuries. The US government locked up Latif anyway, without any charges or trial, as part of the Bush administration’s newly launched extrajudicial detention and torture program.'

Criminal mafia members Bush, Rumsfeld, Powell and Cheney (and all the others that scurry away when lights hits them) should be publically waterboarded and then publically hung after being found guilty of numerous war crimes, crimes against humanity and high Treason. Just think of the TV audience...bigger than the World Cup!

"Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
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James D

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Posts: 991

PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hangin's too good for 'em!
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Southpark Fan

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu better expresses what I was trying to say in my closing paragraph above - he does it more eloquently than I (without reference to crimes of kidnapping, torture and confinement - Torture: The Bioethics Perspective: http://www.thehastingscenter.org/Publications/BriefingBook/Detail.aspx?id=2208)

'The Iraq war “has destabilized and polarized the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history,” wrote Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1984.

“Those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague,” he added.

The court based in the Netherlands is the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal and has been in operation for 10 years. So far it has launched prosecutions only in Africa, including in Sudan, Congo, Libya and Ivory Coast.

Tutu has long been a staunch critic of the Iraq war, while others opposed to the conflict — including playwright Harold Pinter — have previously called for Bush and Blair to face prosecution at the Hague.'

Link: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/80561.html

"Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
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