The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'guantanamo'
The admissions made by the men -- who were given food whenever they were hungry as well as Starbucks coffee at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- played a key role in the government's decision to proceed with the prosecutions, military and law enforcement officials said.Of course, Guantanamo was a US military facility before it was the controversial black site, so it's not unlikely that there was a Starbucks there for the troops. I wonder whether there is one at the even-more-secret military facility on Diego Garcia, or how many Starbucks (or other well-known franchises) there are in locations which are officially secret.
(via Boing Boing)
Britain's Home Office, still reeling from the Blunkett scandal, has been dealt a fresh blow when the Law Lords ruled that indefinite detention without trial of terrorist suspects is unlawful, by an 8-to-1 majority. The government is to review its options.
I wonder whether they thought of taking a leaf out of the US's book and moving the detainees outside of Britain proper. The few remaining fragments of the British Empire could lend themselves to small-scale, high-security penal colonies, sufficiently inaccessible to add to their security. Possible locations for a British Guantanamo could include:
- Diego Garcia; an island in the Indian Ocean, forcibly depopulated in the 1960s and now leased to the US as a military base. An agreement could possibly be reached with the US to establish a high-security prison facility there. In fact, the US is rumoured to already have such facilities there.
- Saint Helena, for the historical resonance.
- Pitcairn Island; it could do with publicity for something other than sexual abuse.
Of course, Britain doesn't have as free a hand with extraterritorial penal facilities as the US does, because of that meddlesome European Convention on Human Rights (which, a court has found, even applies to British troops in Iraq), which could complicate these options. Though if, as claimed, the detainees are foreign nationals with no right to residency in Britain, they could possibly be handed off to a compliant foreign government to look after. The US would be a good choice (they have the facilities, after all), though other members of the Coalition of Willing could be looked at. Australia, for example, could repurpose some of its extraterritorial refugee holding centres.
More allegations of abuse in US-controlled military prisons, this time in Guantánamo, have emerged, with recently released British suspects claiming that they were interrogated at gunpoint and forced to pose naked.
In the dossier the Britons say the level of mental illness among detainees is higher than admitted by the US. The Tipton Three say guards told them that a fellow British detainee, Moazzam Begg, still imprisoned in Guantánamo, had been kept in isolation and "was in a very bad way". They say that Jamil el-Banna, of London, was so traumatised that "mentally, basically, he's finished".
(Forced to pose naked? Can you see the pattern? I wonder how long until there are Guantanamo-themed pr0n sites, only with naked women playing the parts of the detainees ("AlQaedaBabes.com", where you can vote for your favourite bikini-clad she-terrorist to be sexually tortured on camera (all major credit cards accepted)?); or perhaps an "Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS"-style exploitation film about Lynndie England? The possibilities for bad taste are limitless.)
Out of work? Got a Top Secret clearance and a sadistic streak? US military contractors are looking for an Interrogator/Intel Analyst Team Lead in Baghdad, to assist in interrogating recalcitrant Iraqis, under minimal supervision. Since the applicant will not be a US military officer, military codes of conduct do not apply.
Meanwhile, how much do you want to bet that Arab-torturing good-ol'-girl Lynndie England will be getting lots of marriage proposals from Little Green Footballs readers and the like? Step aside Lara Croft and Sigourney Weaver; there's a butt-kicking heroine for the Bush Era.
"To the country boys here, if you're a different nationality, a different race, you're sub-human. That's the way girls like Lynndie are raised. Tormenting Iraqis, in her mind, would be no different from shooting a turkey. Every season here you're hunting something. Over there, they're hunting Iraqis."
And Charlie Stross has weighed in on the Iraqi torture controversy. (Sorry, did I say torture? I meant abuse. Torture, like terrorism, is something only the bad guys can do.) Apparently the British did similar things in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, and the results weren't pretty.
Which is to say: I think the torture is symptomatic of a much deeper malaise at the heart of the neoconservative program to restructure the Middle East. It's the same disease that enabled another cultured, well-educated western society two thirds of a century ago to efficiently and systematically brutalize half a continent: the conviction that the Other is backward, ill-educated, unworthy of tolerance, brutish, must needs be governed for their own good and punished for rebellion against the self-evidently correct policies of the superpower ... you can't justify the invasion and occupation of other nations these days without espousing a belief that their citizens are morally, intellectually, or ideologically inferior. To view someone as inferior in one of these ways is to dehumanize them. And, once dehumanized, they become fair game for the most odious of practices: collective punishment, suspension of civil rights, torture, and finally mass murder of civilians -- whether by gas chamber or cluster bomb makes no difference.
This is a wake-up call. We aren't just on the slippery slope, we're two-thirds of the way down it and trying on the jackboots for fit.
Gee, it's a lucky thing that the US isn't bound by the Geneva convention; otherwise they may be guilty of war crimes.
A Russian national has praised the conditions in Guantanamo, where he is being held. Ayrat Varikhtov, a Chechen is on record as saying that the US military prison compares favourably to Russian health resorts. "Nobody is being beaten or humiliated," he added.
The Chaser has more articles online. Of particular note: "Harry Potter fans warn against dangerous effects of Bible", "CAMP X-RAY 'INHUMANE': Ruddock asks for brochure".. and don't tell me that Ratcat have reformed. (If so, wonder what they would sound like; would they just playing their 1990-vintage skater-pop hits on the nostalgia circuit for all the mortgaged new parents who used to be into them when they were kids, or have they jumped on the mook/rap-metal/big-yellow-shorts bandwagon and tried to reach out to a new crop of suburban teens?)
Looks like captured Taliban/Al-Qaeda POWs (those who weren't massacred on capture, that is) will be kept at the US base in Guantanamo, Cuba, itself a curiosity of geopolitics and history.