Guantanamo Bay-Terrorist Training Ground


Guantanamo Bay will most likely go down as the place which housed the most terrorist we ever faced in our war on terror, the phony war started  by George Bush, and those terrorists were US personnel who engaged in torture and even murder.  The latest news that three suicides and the resulting investigation was so botched as to lead to more questions than answers can only lead one to the conclusion that the “suicides” were indeed murder and lead to other questions of how many other deaths at Gitmo were at the hands of the captors and not the captive.  The facts from the only independent study conducted are three detainees were found swinging at the end of a ligature in their closely guarded cells with rags stuffed in their throats and one “suicide” victim had his internal organs, heart and kidneys and throat removed before his body was interred.
The removal of internal organs closely dovetails into another story we’ve covered in the pages of Miscellany101 as it regards Palestinians in the Occupied Territories who’ve died at the hands of their terrorist captors. That is scary enough, the parallel universe that seems to pervade all that the American and Israeli authorities do to Arab, semitic and Muslim peoples the world over; however, the lengths at which authorities went to blame even the victims for their murder at the hands of those same authorities (for how can a man both hang himself, stuff rags in his own throat and remained undetected for several hours long enough for rigor mortis to develop in a cell that was under 24 hour scrutiny by security guards because said occupant of the cell possessed the super human capability to break loose over power his guards and eventually find his way to the US mainland to wreak further havoc on innocent Americans) is a further nail in the coffin of US legitimacy and credibility.

Rear Adm Harris said he did not believe the men had killed themselves out of despair. “They are smart. They are creative, they are committed,” he said. “They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”

Or how about this wildly insane comment from a former Bush Administration official who seemed to have the intent correct, i.e. publicity, although assigning it incorrectly to the victims

“It does sound like this is part of a strategy – in that they don’t value their own lives, and they certainly don’t value ours; and they use suicide bombings as a tactic,” Colleen Graffy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, told BBC’s Newshour yesterday. “Taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good PR move.”

What Guantanamo Bay became  and perhaps still is today was a battleground for a disgraced titular warrior and leader of the free world, George Bush and now Barack Obama, to play out fantasies of getting even with a perceived foe at the expense of the Nation’s Constitution and way of life.  He descended into the depths of every type of illegal and immoral activity to satisfy a blood lust to exorcise demons of inferiority and insecurity and in term projected that all onto the national consciousness that have seriously affected our judgement and moral compass until the present.

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Good government, bad government


Sometimes there is reason to be hopeful that our Nation can self-correct and return to the principles it has finely tuned over the generations, of liberty, social responsibility and good citizenship.  The decision of the US Department of State to overturn the ban on academics Tariq Ramadan and Adam Habib are examples of hope and perhaps light at the end of the tunnel of darkness we have surrounded ourselves in over the last decade.  We’ve written extensively about Ramadan in the pages of Miscellany101 in what can only be termed an act of revenge against him and his family to keep him out of the mainstream of political, social and contemporary  dialogue.  When given the full weight of a judicial system, albeit imperfect, but still forming and trying to correct itself while being universally applicable, Ramadan’s visa revocation was first overturned by the judicial system in 2009  and then by the US Department of State just last week.  Initially he had been hired for  the Henry R. Luce Chair at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, but extremists who managed to infiltrate policy making positions in government were able to get the US government to revoke a visa they had originally granted him.  The reasons for it were spurious at best, lies at worse and so transparent that when given the light of day were thrown out post haste.  You can read one of Ramadan’s more recent musings here.  Good government.

Along with Ramadan’s decision the State Department overturned the revocation imposed on Adam Habib, a South African academic who is Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation & Advancement at the University of Johannesburg. It goes without saying the case against him was as empty and irrational as the one made against Ramadan. In fact, it seemed the only people afraid of Habib, besides American Islamophobes, were South African communists, which should have made Habib a significantly important figure with a right wing conservative administration the likes of George  Bush’s.  Habib’s case, like that of Ramadan, was wrapped up in the Islamophobic notions of Campus Watch, the Daniel Pipes led organization. You can read about them here and here.   It didn’t take a Clinton led State Department very long to overturn her predecessor’s revocation for either of these two men; in fact less than a year after being in office.  Says alot about a fanatically led Bush administration and even more about “good government”.

Euphoria however is quickly dashed when one reads about the US Justice Department’s quick reaction to the story of the three “suicides” at Guantanamo Bay and especially the reporting of that story by MSNBC’s  Keith Olbermann.  Olbermann reported on his show how Justice was upset with his coverage of the story that was reported extensively by Scott Horton of Harper’s magazine and picked up by a lot of people on the blogosphere, including here at Miscellany101.  It seems the Justice Department is only willing to comment negatively about the story, that is, to say Olbermann did a sloppy job of reporting it, but doesn’t see the need to comment on the essence of the charges made by US military men who have gone on record to say the series of events are not consistent with what they observed or were told later when promised an investigation.  This is the worse case scenario for bad government.  The leader of the free world, a designation we have heaped upon ourselves and which we wear proudly,  and which is acknowledged by others the world over, doesn’t need to engage in this type of intimidation and stonewalling with a free press.  Transparency, something promised by the Obama administration, means making all the facts available of  investigations and going on record to actively and judiciously clear the name of government when tarnished by accusations the likes of which are in the Harper’s story.  To do anything less than that is bad government….something  we’ve been used to for the last decade.

Be Very Aware of Government……Any Government!


Here are three very stark examples of where government that has politicians and their minions who don’t feel responsible to the people abuse their power and deny citizens their rights to liberty.  You’ve probably seen snippets of these news stories before, but I want to condense them to show how insulting power can become in the hands of the non approachable.

The internet, for now the only place where one can find a myriad of opinions, as well as a place of disinformation, has always been a sore spot for government, which can only monitor but not control it.  Well guess again.

In a 2008 academic paper, President Barack Obama’s appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs advocated “cognitive infiltration” of groups that advocate “conspiracy theories” like the ones surrounding 9/11.Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, co-wrote an academic article entitled “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,” in which he argued that the government should stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine” those groups.

Sunstein’s article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008, states that “our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a ‘crippled epistemology,’ in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources.”

By “crippled epistemology” Sunstein means that people who believe in conspiracy theories have a limited number of sources of information that they trust. Therefore, Sunstein argued in the article, it would not work to simply refute the conspiracy theories in public — the very sources that conspiracy theorists believe would have to be infiltrated.

One can only guess what government’s idea of “conspiracy theories” is or what Mr. Sunstein has in mind when he uses that term.  I doubt he wants to expand the number of sources available on the internet even though according to him there are a limited number which has caused this crippled epistemology, but instead he proposes infiltrating places where people talk about their limited sources.  Mind control comes to mind.  I hope Mr. Sunstein puts at the top of the conspiracy list the official/government’s  version of what happened on September 11, 2001, but I seriously doubt it.

We covered the story of the “suicides” of three Gitmo detainees, prisoners, who were blamed by the Bush administration for their own murder, even though that murder was done by the hands of people within the Bush government.  (Talk about blaming the victim)  Now there is more information about this story reported in great detail by Scott Horton of Harper’s Magazine with some very scary detail that is blood curdling, including the idea that Gitmo had horror/torture  chambers that even surpassed what was done at Gitmo itself.

According to the NCIS, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.

The fact that at least two of the prisoners also had cloth masks affixed to their faces, presumably to prevent the expulsion of the rags from their mouths, went unremarked by the NCIS, as did the fact that standard operating procedure at Camp Delta required the Navy guards on duty after midnight to “conduct a visual search” of each cell and detainee every ten minutes. The report claimed that the prisoners had hung sheets or blankets to hide their activities and shaped more sheets and pillows to look like bodies sleeping in their beds, but it did not explain where they were able to acquire so much fabric beyond their tightly controlled allotment, or why the Navy guards would allow such an obvious and immediately observable deviation from permitted behavior. Nor did the report explain how the dead men managed to hang undetected for more than two hours or why the Navy guards on duty, having for whatever reason so grievously failed in their duties, were never disciplined.

……returned to Saudi Arabia was the body of Mani Al-Utaybi. Orphaned in youth, Mani grew up in his uncle’s home in the small town of Dawadmi. I spoke to one of the many cousins who shared that home, Faris Al-Utaybi. Mani, said Faris, had gone to Baluchistan—a rural, tribal area that straddles Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan—to do humanitarian work, and someone there had sold him to the Americans for $5,000. He said that Mani was a peaceful man who would harm no one. Indeed, U.S. authorities had decided to release Al-Utaybi and return him to Saudi Arabia. When he died, he was just a few weeks shy of his transfer.

The difference in the account found on the pages of Harper’s and others we’ve covered is that there are now names, people who were in Gitmo at the time of the deaths who have come forward to describe in detail what they saw and participated in during the fateful night of the deaths of the three prisoners.  What’s particularly disturbing is the new government of Obama, packed full of career government bureaucrats is continuing the legacy of Bush’s assault on the US constitution and the rule of law, covering up the testimony of those soldiers of conscience….not just one, or two or three, but more who have gone on record to say what they witnessed.  At a time when we are asked to honor the troops, it is more than hypocritical to discount the recollections of those troops who allege government malfeasance….but we do and with a straight face.  Again, our government at work for you; all of this is done in the name of the United States of America.

Finally, comes word that despite all the shortcuts given to members of the government to carry out legal surveillance against citizens and others, it simply wasn’t enough to satisfy a government run amok with an unquenchable thirst for invasion of the privacy too many of us were willing to give up.  In the mother of all understatement, an admission that the government lied in order to surveil people should come as no surprise after living through a decade that was full of deception, lies and deception.

The FBI illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records, according to internal bureau memos and interviews. FBI officials issued approvals after the fact to justify their actions.

FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni said in an interview Monday that the FBI technically violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act when agents invoked nonexistent emergencies to collect records.

“We should have stopped those requests from being made that way,” she said. The after-the-fact approvals were a “good-hearted but not well-thought-out” solution to put phone carriers at ease, she said. In true emergencies, Caproni said, agents always had the legal right to get phone records, and lawyers have now concluded there was no need for the after-the-fact approval process. “What this turned out to be was a self-inflicted wound,” she said.

Until the citizens of the republic of the United States make it clear that government’s role is to protect the rights guaranteed under the Constitution and not abrogate them with phony wars and lies, one can expect government will continue its spiral into fascism, and this country called America will cease to exist.