More Guantanamo Bay news


Proponents of Guantanamo Bay have always maintained it’s necessary to keep that base open to house the meanest of the mean; black/brown Muslim terrorists who have the ability to swim from Cuba to the mainland, fashion knives out of paper products and invade the homeland causing death and destruction.  To substantiate their claim to keep the facility eternally open, they have put forward some really astonishing claims about recidivism, which we have addressed on the pages of Miscellany101 here and here.

It appears Obama will not be able to close Guantanamo down anytime soon, nor does he appear to be up for the fight, having been effectively betrayed by members of his own party during a lame duck session after the congressional elections, and facing an ever more combative new Congress who no doubt will use this recidivism issue again to underscore their desire to keep Gitmo open.  So here’s another study which “refudiates” that claim making it the third different one to do so which really begs the question why do the supporters of the facility bother with erecting false claims and figures in the first place.

On the ninth anniversary of the first detainee’s arrival at the infamous prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Washington think tank challenged intelligence estimates suggesting that large numbers of former detainees have taken up arms against the United States.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claimed in December — without offering any evidence — that 13.5 percent of former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed, and an additional 11.5 percent are suspected of “reengaging” in terrorist or insurgent activities after their release.

The conservative media embraced the storyline that as many as one in four former detainees had returned to the battlefield, up sharply from the prior year.

But three scholars with the New America Foundation are out with a new report — this one backed up with data — concluding that only 6 percent of released detainees engaged or are suspected of having engaged with insurgents aimed at attacking U.S. interests. Another 2 percent engaged or are suspected of having engaged against non-U.S. targets.

It appears that America is perfectly willing to let bygones be bygones and keep the facility even though for now it serves no useful purpose.  Perhaps some hope it will house the millions of American Muslims who will be sent there after the King committee hearings?

 

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American Hyperbole and Her Enemies


A lot has been made at Miscellany101 of the lies that were advanced by American government to justify occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.  It turns out this was not a problem unique to the Bush administration, but rather is a problem of government and especially government that relies on an industrial military complex to sustain itself.  In order to continue to receive money necessary to feed this monstrosity lies are dished out to politicians and the general public alike which exaggerate the prowess of perceived enemies and the necessity of America to fight in lands far away in order to avoid fighting on the shores of America.

The methods employed have been at times very simple and transparent, at times shrouded in enough mystery to cause doubt and at other times  sophisticated enough to convince even the most die hard skeptic of the necessity of government intervention and a military response to a perceived threat to America’s national security.  At different times in recent American history different political groups have hijacked this penchant to latch onto the military desire for supremacy at the expense of the Nation’s soul.  The desire to topple Cuba’s Fidel Castro with the exaggerated threat of his tiny island country to the United States was seized upon by expatriates of that country to settle their scores with the petulant, nascent communist ruler and ruined an American presidency.  In the process it spurred Operations Northwood which called for the US government to engage in acts of terrorism in order to justify an invasion of Cuba.  Sound familiar?

The Vietnam war, a war that wasted the lives of over 58,000 Americans and countless others as well as the “Cold War” was worked over by groups that touted the fear of communism and the need to fight everywhere to stop its spread.  Getting the government to go along with a lie in order to promote one of the largest military buildups in recent history to fight an agrarian based society we had originally promised to support, the proponents of military occupation were able to get America to offer up the lives of her sons and daughters for a war that was based on a lie that was revealed only recently.

With regards to the Soviet Union and the  threat it posed, it now turns out the hype was all a lie, and the latest document released  underscores that point. In it the hypothesis is America and especially the Reagan administration did everything it could to play down Soviet Russia’s attempt at rapprochement instead inflating the Soviet threat and increasing the chances of war with a non-existent threat and a potential non-existent enemy.  At a time when Russians wanted peace and did everything in their power to prove that by inviting scientists and non governmental officials to come and inspect Soviet facilities,  the Reagan American administration was continuing the drum beats for war and rattling the sabers in an attempt to increase American military coffers  as well as possibly  goad the Soviets into war when fighting was the last thing the Russians wanted to do.

It shouldn’t take another 20-30 years for us to see the same methods were used to get America to invade Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria or any other Middle Eastern country, that of deception and intimidation, but unfortunately we’re already seeing the roots of it with regards to Iran, who since 2003 has sent overtures of peace and wanting to work with an American administration to solve diplomatic impasse only to have such efforts rebuffed by ‘the powers that be’.  This has become a common theme between America and her enemies, that whenever they have attempted to or sent signals of peace to an American administration that claims it wants peace, such overtures  are rejectedand or ignored and belligerence, war and destruction become the order of the day between the two sides.   At some point the American public has got to demand more and better from its representatives and stop offering up human sacrifices to a philosophy that promotes death and denigrates peace.

The two faces of American policy


The more the Obama Administration takes its journey into  American history, the more it should be apparent that the President is a figurehead to corporate interests which have just as big a role in shaping American policy as the office holder.  That was made apparent earlier this week when Microsoft decided to block access of its popular software Messenger to Sudan, Iran, Cuba, Syria and North Korea.  When the news was first announced, everyone asked why these countries and why now?  Of course the logic goes they are state sponsors of terrorism, and it’s true they are recognized as such, but it’s equally true they have been so designated for over a decade and all during that time their citizens were able to use the Microsoft product, so why now?

To this observer the reason is because corporate interests do not want to see a rapprochement between the US and these countries and because Obama started his administration talking that way, this is the business world’s way of nixing any such peace deals.  The president has been cut off at the knees by those interests who would rather see a continuation of hostility between America and these countries and there is no better way to promote that than to deny them a product they had been accustomed too at a time when they are trying to restore normal relations with the corporate headquarters of said business.

Sudan, in a report released in April, 2009  has been proclaimed by the State Department as taking  significant steps towards better counter terrorism cooperation with America.  The report went on to say

During the past year, the Sudanese government continued to pursue terrorist operations directly involving threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan. Sudanese officials have indicated that they view their continued cooperation with the United States as important and recognize the benefits of U.S. training and information-sharing.

What better way to sabotage such cooperation than to undermine it with a business boycott few would say Sudan deserves.

Obama has made major outreach proposals to Iran, while America’s petulant and strident ally, Israel, has threatened that country at every turn.  Despite the saber rattling, even as recently as this week, Iranian president Ahmedinajad in one of his strongest declarations to date against nuclear weapons said, the prospect of acquiring nuclear weapons ‘is politically retarded’ and not in his nation’s interest.  This coming on the heels of another attempt by Israel to get international pressure to bear on Iran after floating a story that several South American countries are supplying Iran with uranium to make the bomb.  Nevermind that both countries denied the accusation, once made it sticks and is difficult to remove, much like the WMD claim that still resonates with some even today.  This all happens at a time, however, when Israel is coming under increasing pressure from the Clinton led State Department, and by extension the Obama administration, to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, something that has not been a part of American policy as it relates to Israel, before now.

We are all aware how the Obama administration has pledged to allow more open and free travel between America and Cuba, another thaw in an otherwise cold, and hostile relationship.  It is probably accurate to say that Cuban leadership will undergo a drastic change in the next several years, with the Castro brothers getting older by the day, and that change is apparent and tangible.  Yet despite the thaw, a corporate entity inserting itself between two countries, nay, five with a decision that is not only ill-timed but suspect will have a negative impact on the direction a sitting administration is trying to take.

It’s a dangerous yet calculated game Microsoft is playing with this decision because it upsets a delicate balance the official policy arm of America, a politically elected administration, is trying to make.  One could even question whether such a move on the part of Microsoft is even in its best interests; allowing the countries affected to seek IT solutions with Microsoft competitors.  One thing it does show is how interests beyond the government can insert themselves in a way that affect positively or negatively the interests of countries worldwide.