Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Andy Worthington: WikiLeaks Documents Reveal US Knowingly Imprisoned 150...& USA Still A Rogue Nation Ignoring The Geneva Conventions etc.

UPDATE: 6:45 PM. April 26, 2011.

"America does not torture" President Obama??? Reuters Feb. 24,2009 (so he parrots Bush and lies GORD.)

"It was like being in a zoo, with people coming to stare and laugh at you. Such a prison has never existed in the history of mankind. Why did they keep a man for two years with no reason? Why? They caught me and kept me as a prisoner of war. What war, may I ask? When was I involved? I was sleeping when they came and dragged me out of my bed." Former Gitmo detainee Abdullah Kafkas via
" How Guantánamo Bay Became Kafkas's Trial:The WikiLeaks files story of one detainee, Abdullah Kafkas, reveals the extrajudicial phantasmagoria of Guantánamo Bay " by Pratap Chatterjee The Guardian UK, April 25, 2011

Democracy Now! Andy Worthington: WikiLeaks Documents Reveal US Knowingly Imprisoned 150...
Amy Goodman interviews Andy Worthington via Common Dreams.com April 25, 2011.

The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has begun releasing thousands of secret documents from the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay that reveal the Bush and Obama administrations knowingly imprisoned more than 150 innocent men for years without charge. In dozens of cases, senior U.S. commanders were said to have concluded that there was no reason for the men to have been transferred to Guantánamo.

Among the innocent prisoners were an 89-year-old Afghan villager and a 14-year-old boy who had been kidnapped. Some men were imprisoned at Guantánamo simply because they wore a popular model of Casio watches, which had been used as timers by Al Qaeda. The documents also reveal that the journalist Sami al-Hajj was held at Guantánamo for six years partly in order to be interrogated about his employer, the Al Jazeera network. Al-Hajj’s file said he was sent to Guantánamo in order to "provide information on ... the al-Jazeera news network’s training programme, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan." For more we speak with journalist Andy Worthington, author of, “The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison."

The American government and military and the US mainstream media and a large segment of the American public have no sympathy or concern for so called detainees whether they are or are not guilty.

They are also more accepting now of the abuse of prisoners and see little wrong with mistreatment or even the torture of prisoners. So the American public would just prefer not to know about this darkside to America's Empire as it were.

There are those in America who were concerned about these issues when the Republican party and George W. Bush was president but unfortunately once the power shifted to the democratic party and president Obama they like Obama decided this was all part of America's pat and so should be forgotten about even without any serious substantive independent investigations into these allegations of wrongdoing.

To many of Obama's supporters when Obama says he has put an end to mistreatment and torture of POWS these supporters are convinced or want to believe that if Obama says so it must be true.
So when George Bush said America does not torture this was a lie but when Obama says it we are supposed to believe him .

The US public and media are more concerned with Hollywood scandals such as what's going on with Charlie Sheen or they are more interested in the upcoming Royal Wedding.

We can see that little has changed since the Bush Regime was defeated for instance the media is still defending the detaining of large numbers of individuals . As far as they and the public are concerned the criticisms of Gitmo and other US prisons is just a matter of UnAmerican "bleeding heart liberals".
For instance in a recent story at a major network on the release of these files used as one of its experts on these issues the notorious John Yoo who is considered the architect of the Bush Regime's legal veneer for the use of torture and indefinite detention.

 So John Yoo who should have been  disbarred instead is now a highly respected Professor of Law so the torturers and their enablers such as Dick Cheney and others are doing quite well for themselves.

WikiLeaks Guantanamo Files Reveal Faces, Lives of 'Enemy Combatants'

ABC journalist have been so taken in by government and military & Homeland Security that they take as irrefutable facts anything the military tells them. OMG the detainees are even allowed to sit in a Lazy-boy armchair which in fact looks brand new along with other pieces of furniture. Are American journalist as naive as the public at large or is this just the role they believe they are required to take on in order not to upset the American public.

Also note after this piece the ABC news aired an attack piece on Wikileaks & Julian Assange as a Way to discount most of what is revealed by leaked documents to Wikileaks and those leaked by other Media outlets. What matters is not Assange's personality or personal motives but rather what these documents reveal. For instance Woodward and Berstein 's motive in pursuing the Watergate affair maybe questionable but what matters how accurate were their reports and its fallout. The same can be argued about Daniel Ellsberg's release of the Pentagon Papers four decades ago which led to an increase in the number of American's who wholeheartedly still supported the War in Vietnam.

ABC so-called journalist who are just shills for the status-quo and the rich and powerful in America.

This media piece is an attempt to downplay the release of more documents by Wikileaks.
The reporter doesn't challenge John Yoo's idiotic attempt to split hairs about torture, and inhumane treatment. Yoo sounds more like a first year law student who confuses debating points with the "rule of Law".

Yoo for instance compares what happens in US prisons to its military and its secret Gulags without discussing that it may in fact be that the procedures followed in civil prisons in the USA may also be seen by others as being a violator off the basic human rights of all prisoners.
The Rule of law according to most legal minds engaged in the philosophy of law is that there is the literal law but also the notion of the "Spirit of the Law".

They do not bother to mention that indefinite detention, the use of extended solitary confinement, psychologically abusing prisoners , humiliating them in various ways as an ongoing pattern is considered abuse by other nations and by the United Nations and various International Agreement even including agreement that America has signed onto.

So as far as we can conlude the USA for over a decade now has been contravening a number of International Lawas including the Geneva Conventions and is therefore still a "Rogue Nation"
which by its policies have destroyed the physical and psychological health of thousand of people whom they imprisoned besides the several million people killed and millions of others living as refugees in its war on terror including the Iraqi and Afghan people.

But as even a loyal American such as Ted Koppel points out in this clip that the US government has only agreed to abide only to one section of the Geneva Conventions and not all of the articles of the Geneva Convention . So the US government under Bush and Obama believe they can cherry pick what they will abide by and what it will ignore. But the notion that the US Supreme Court can decide which parts apply to the US government and military maybe in a literalistic sense legal but it can be argued that these actions contravene and go against the essence and spirit of the Geneva conventions.

Koppel also points out most of the people detained at Gitmo are there because the US government and military have determined that though they have no substantive evidence against them the US and its government has no idea what to do with them.

And legal expert John Yoo once again tosses into the mix his same old tired line used by the Bush administration that supposedly the Geneva Conventions and other International Agreements are in his view too vague and ambiguous.

The reason for this can be explained in part by realizing that John Yoo is a literalist when it comes to the law and ignores what is accepted in many legal decisions as an important element in any law which is that of "the spirit of the law'.

The mainstream Media in the US tend to highlight what they are publicly told by PR spokespersons for the Obama or the Bush administration as opposed to what government documents and videos expose when they have been released to the press.

We should also note the jounalists in the USA accept as fact that all those still in Guantanamo are high risk while other media have pointed out that somewhere around 150 are being held for whom there is no evidence pointing to their guilt. But again we shouldn't be too critical of the US media insistence of ignoring reality or facts to get in the way of American propaganda.

To have John Yoo interviewed as if he were some sort of impartial observer should be seen as outrageous and yet the American public and media treat hima sas some sort of hero and as a victim of the Liberal media and Americans who are seen as more concerned over detainee's rights than about fighting terrorism.

The whole notion of the rule of law etc. is just another empty piece of rhetoric in the USA. Or to put it another way the rule of law in a literal sense is more important to legalist than doing what is morally and ethically right.

So President or Bush or Presient Obama can appeal to the Rule of Law and yet be defending the indefensible such as torturing detainees because they have their quizling toadys who will willing bend the law as such to fit the needs of their president or of the US military or CIA etc.

In this piece it strikes one as odd that the representative of Human Rights Watch has little in the way of substantive criticism of the way 'detainees' have been treated not just at Gitmo but how they are treated in America's secret gulags where prisoners are arrested with the flimsiest evidence and once in the system enter a nightmarish and Kafaesque world in which justice , evidence and facts are twisted to accomodate those in charge of the prisons. The real world has no sway over such a malleable system which aims at creating false statements and false confession .

Any decent American lawyer and the American Bar Society should be disgusted and be ashamed of themselves that this weasly character who claims he was just obeying orders is not punished and instead is rewarded as are the MDs, psychologists, psychiatrists and others who took part in these tortures all climing they too like the Nazis were just following orders.

This defense was tossed out by the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War but now in America it is revived as a legal defense .But we saw this all before for instance in the trial of Lt. Cally in the My Lai massacre in Vietnam which many Americans believed to have been unfair since he was just doing his duty even when he shot a toddler in the head point blank .

We also saw this defense in the Iran/Contra scandal in which Oliver North said he was just doing his duty in taking part in illegal activities which had been approved of by his superiors. These activities included the smuggling of guns, drugs and cash . The Reagan administration treated these investigations as just an attack on President Reagan orchestrated by disloyal traitorous Americans.

The Contras were supposed to be Nicaraguans who were fighting against the socialist government of the Sandinista of Nicaragua.  They were stationed in El Salvador and would  cross the border into Nicaragua attacking  not just the military but also attacking and terrorizing the civilian population by way of massacres, kidnappings, torture and rape and yet we are told they were heroes of the so-called "Free World". When America butchers, massacres, rapes, tortures its so called enemies this we are told is permissible but not when others do the same things.

The Contras military were for the most part mercenaries and few were Nicaraguans but they were supported and paid by the US government and were praised as Freedom Fighters even when they attacked and massacred whole towns or when they brutally torture innocent civilians. This we are told over and over again is part of America's glorious history as a champion of freedom.

So issues such as whether or not prisoners at Gitmo or elsewhere are treated humanely or whether or not they are guilty of any crime are seen as too esoteric for the American public to be bothered about.
Once again the attitude in America is that America is an exceptional country which is divinely guided and so is incapable of making mistakes.
President Obama it appears has now bought into this bit of chicanery that America can do no wrong and that International laws do not apply to America.
The Obama administration is more concerned about incarcerating Whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning than allowing investigations by neutral parties into allegations of prisoner abuse and torture.

So it is a bit hypocritical and disingenuous for the Obama administration to point a finger at other nations for their human rights record when the US itself when confronted with evidence showing criminal behaviour on the part of its troops or security forces or agencies rather than deal with the issue instead focuses on the leakers and whistleblowers calling them traitors and unAmerican and even anti-American and therefore pro-terrorists.

The release of documents by Wikileaks concerning the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo reveals that many prisoners were or are now being held for whom the government knows are completely innocent or are prisoners of a low priority.
Once individuals enter America's Gulags whether Gitmo or dozens of other American prisons in Iraq or Afghanistan there is no real effort made to make distinctions between those who are in fact innocent and those who are guilty of taking part in terrorist or insurgency activities. There is also confusion about those who were linked to Al Qaeda and those who mere soldiers employed for instance by the Taliban.

Once again these new documents provide proof of the mistreatment of detainees and that once someone enters the system they are treated as being guilty even without any substantive and reliable evidence. The US government and its military and CIA and other security agencies are unwilling to admit to having arrested and incarcerated numerous individuals who are in fact innocent in part because this may cause the agency embarrassment .

In other words according to the Obama regime as it was in the time of the Bush regime the attitude is that the US government and its security forces do not make mistakes therefore anyone being held in American prisons from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib to Bagram to dozens of secret US run secret prisons or Gulags must be guilty of something otherwise they wouldn't be there.

" How Guantánamo Bay Became Kafkas's Trial:The WikiLeaks files story of one detainee, Abdullah Kafkas, reveals the extrajudicial phantasmagoria of Guantánamo Bay " by Pratap Chatterjee The Guardian UK, April 25, 2011

Hundreds of prisoners were captured in Afghanistan and flown to Guantánamo Bay in early 2002, where they spent years in limbo unable to speak for themselves. Their situation can only be described as a surreal equivalent of the famous short story Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, in which a traveling salesman finds himself transformed into a giant insect, unable to talk and trapped in his bedroom.

Among the 779 men that spent time in Guantánamo was a Russian with the unfortunate pseudonym of Kafkas. Born Rasul Kudayev in the north Caucasus in 1984, he adopted the name of Abdullah Kafkas and traveled to Central Asia to further a career in wrestling.

In November 2001, according to the Guantánamo files released Sunday by WikiLeaks, Kafkas traveled to Kunduz, Afghanistan, where he "worked in an Arab medical clinic for foreign fighters". Kafkas was arrested in Afghanistan and transferred to a prison in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, and then selected for detention in Guantánamo on or about 12 February 2002. Once he arrived in Cuba, however, military interrogators quickly came to the conclusion that Kafkas was "not affiliated with al-Qaida or as being a Taliban leader", and that "the information obtained from and about him (was) not valuable or tactically exploitable".

Indeed, the dossier on Kafkas, which is signed by Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the prison and dated 28 March 2002, states that Joint Task Force Guantánamo had determined that Kafkas "has no further intelligence value to the United States, and will not be seen for further intelligence purposes". Yet it took almost exactly two years for Kafkas to be released to the Russian government, on 27 February 2004. Today, over nine years after Kafkas was arrested and detained, the confirmation that he was an innocent abroad is cold comfort.

The new Guantánamo files from WikiLeaks provide proof that at least 150 people imprisoned in Guantánamo were innocent Afghans or Pakistanis, including farmers, chefs and drivers. Another 380 people were assessed as lower-level foot-soldiers. (Most of these were released in the waning years of the Bush administration.)

Take the case of Mukhibullo Abdukarimovich Umarov, born in Alisurkhan, Tajikistan, and Mazharudin, a Tajik who was born in Pajpai, Pakistan. Both men were arrested while studying at a small library in Karachi, Pakistan on 19 May 2002. Both Umarov and Mazharudin have one-page files; the two files are almost identical. They state:

"It was undetermined as to why the detainee was transferred to GTMO (Guantánamo). Since his arrival at GTMO it has been determined that this detainee is not an al-Qaida or Taliban member. There, after reviewing all relevant and reasonably available information, it is GTMO's assessment that this detainee is not an enemy combatant."
Both men were released in March 2004. In 2006, a journalist named McKenzie Funk from Mother Jones magazine accidentally heard about Umarov while traveling in the Pamir mountain region of Tajikistan and went to interview him. Funk's story, "The Man Who Has Been to America: One Guantánamo detainee's story", is a remarkable tale and very different from the cold, one-page military file that was held at Guantánamo. Umarov told Mother Jones:

"It was like being in a zoo, with people coming to stare and laugh at you. Such a prison has never existed in the history of mankind. Why did they keep a man for two years with no reason? Why? They caught me and kept me as a prisoner of war. What war, may I ask? When was I involved? I was sleeping when they came and dragged me out of my bed."

It is almost 100 years since Franz Kafka published his tale of Gregor Samsa, the traveling salesman who was transformed into an insect and trapped in his bedroom. In Kafka's tale, only sympathetic family members kept Samsa from being squashed and killed. Today, WikiLeaks, anti-war activists and many journalists have played the role of the family members to try and explain the lives of the men who have – through no fault of their own – been transformed into insects with no voices of their own.

Ironically, Abdullah Kafkas is still trapped in a Kafkasque nightmare – this time in Russia, where he was re-arrested in 2005 and transferred to in FBU IZ-7/1, a remand centre in Kabardino-Balkaria republic in Russia. Amnesty International reported on 11 March 2011 that Kafkas' health recently took a turn for the worse with the development of a high fever, cough and breathing difficulties. Doctors who provided treatment to Kafkas' lawyer were "apparently subjected to several hours of questioning recently and this presumably has increased local doctors' reluctance to become involved in the case".

Several questions still hang over every Guantánamo prisoner: will the detainees ever be truly cleared of guilt? Will the abuse of their human rights ever end? Will the prison ever close?

Now, thanks to the WikiLeaks files from Guantánamo, we know that men like Kafkas and Umarov were never guilty in the first place, even by the standards of their interrogators. Sadly, though, the answer to the latter question still appears to be no. The Washington Post has a lengthy story on how the Obama administration has now quietly scuttled its plans to try the remaining prisoners in a court of law and close Guantánamo.

Indeed, in March President Obama signed an executive order mandating that dozens of detainees in Guantánamo be imprisoned indefinitely without any charges – even though the government remains unsure of who some of the men are, let alone what, if anything, they did. One affected individual is another Tajik, Omar Hamzayavich Abdulayev. His file, released by WikiLeaks, merely notes: "Detainee's identity remains uncertain."

and so it goes,

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