{ An Autopsy of Democracy }

Monday, July 25, 2005

All Liberals Must Die!!!

All Liberals Must Die!!!

Funny stuff.


Democracy, American-Style: it's fair as long as the "right" people win . . .

Did Washington try to manipulate Iraq’s election? by SEYMOUR M. HERSH

"Getting accurate polls in a country under occupation, with an active insurgency, was, of course, difficult. But the available polls showed Allawi’s ratings at around three or four per cent through most of 2004, and also showed the pro-Iranian Shiite slate at more than fifty per cent.

. . . . . . . .

The concern, he said, was that “the bad guys would win.”

. . . . . . . .

By the late spring of 2004, according to officials in the State Department, Congress, an the United Nations, the Bush Administration was engaged in a debate over the very issue that Diamond had warned about: providing direct support to Allawi and other parties seen as close to the United States and hostile to Iran. Allawi, who had spent decades in exile an worked both for Saddam Hussein’ Mukhabarat and for Western intelligence agencies, lacked strong popular appeal. Th goal, according to several former intelligenc and military officials, was not to achiev outright victory for Allawi—such an outcome would not be possible or credible, given the strength of the pro-Iranian Shiite religious parties—but to minimize the religious Shiites political influence. The Administration hoped t keep Allawi as a major figure in a coalitio government, and to do so his party needed respectable share of the vote.

. . . . . . . .

A second senior U.N. official, who was also involved in the Iraqi election, told me that for months before the election he warned the C.P.A. and his superiors that the voting as it was planned would not meet U.N. standards. The lack of security meant that candidates were unwilling to campaign openly, as in a normal election, for fear of becoming targets. Candidates ran as members of party lists, but the parties kept most of the names on their lists secret during the campaign, so voters did not even know who was running. The electorate was left, in most cases, with little basis for a decision beyond ethnic and religious ties. The United Nations official said, “The election was not an election but a referendum on ethnic and religious identity. For the Kurds, voting was about selfdetermination. For the Shiites, voting was about a fatwa issued by Sistani.”

. . . . . . . .

Ghassan Atiyyah, a secular Shiite who worked on the State Department’s postwar planning project before the invasion of Iraq and is now the director of the Iraq Foundation for Development and Democracy, in Baghdad, told me that he and many of his associates believed that Allawi’s surprisingly strong showing “was due to American manipulation of the election. There’s no doubt about it. The Americans, directly or indirectly, spent millions on Allawi.” Atiyyah went on, “As an Iraqi who supported the use of force to overthrow Saddam, I can tell you that as long as real democratic practices are not adhered to, you Americans cannot talk about democracy.”

. . . . . . . .


The Iran War Buildup

The Iran War Buildup

there is no evidence that President Bush has already made the decision to attack Iran. But there are many indications that planning for such a move is well under way--and if the record of Iraq (and other wars) teaches us anything, it is that such planning, once commenced, is very hard to turn around. Hence, we should not wait until after relations with Iran have reached the crisis point to advise against US military action. We should begin acting now, before the march to war becomes irreversible.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sighs of relief? Or just sighs?

The "debate" on NPR today consisted of both guests essentially saying that Bush's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, is moderate enough that Democrats must be emitting "sighs of relief." They even speculated that other names -- of more extreme right-wing candidates -- had been floated around first so that when Roberts was chosen he wouldn't look so bad, by comparison.

But here's what MoveOn.org has to say about Roberts:

"Why is it so important to oppose Roberts? Because his short two years as a judge, his extensive history as a partisan, and his record as a corporate lawyer show a consistent pattern of putting right-wing ideology and corporate power over individuals' rights.

Here are some of the areas of greatest concern from Roberts' record:

As a partisan lawyer for the Bush Sr. and Reagan administrations, Roberts threatened:

Civil rights by asking the Supreme Court to severely limit the ability of district courts to desegregate public schools1, and working to ensure the Voting Rights Act could not be used to remedy many cases of actual discrimination against minority votes.2

Women's rights by fighting for a law barring doctors from even discussing reproductive options in many cases,3 and arguing that Roe. vs. Wade should be "overruled."4

Free speech by arguing to the Supreme Court that political speech that some considered offensive did not deserve First Amendment protections. The Court rejected his claim.5

Religious liberty by arguing to the Supreme Court that public schools could force religious speech on students. Again, the Court rejected the argument.6

As a corporate lawyer, Roberts threatened:

Community and environmental rights by working to strike down new clean-air rules and filing a brief for the National Mining Association, arguing that federal courts could not stop mountaintop-removal mining in West Virginia, even as it devastated local communities.7
Workers' rights by helping Toyota to successfully evade the Americans with Disabilities Act and fire workers for disabilities they suffered over time because of the requirements of their jobs.8

Public interest regulations by helping Fox News challenge FCC rules that prevented the creation of news media monopolies.9

In his short two years as a judge, Roberts has threatened:

Individual rights by rejecting the civil rights claims brought on behalf of a 12-year-old girl who had been handcuffed, arrested and taken away by the police for eating a single french fry in the D.C. Metro.10

Environmental protections when the dissent he wrote on an Endangered Species Act case, had it been in the majority, would have struck the Act down as unconstitutional in many cases, and would have threatened a wide swath of workplace, public safety and civil rights protections.11

Human Rights by voting to strike down the Geneva Conventions as applied to prisoners that the Bush administration chose to exempt from international law.12"


1. Oklahoma City Public Schools v. Dowell

2. Alliance for Justice, Nominee Profile

3. Alliance for Justice, Nominee Profile

4. "Same Appeal; Different Styles," Washington Postm July 17, 2005

5. United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990)

6. Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992)

7. "The Making of the Corporate Judiciary" Mother Jones, November/December 2003

8. Toyota Motor Mfg., Kentucky v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002)

9. Alliance for Justice

10. Hedgepeth v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., 386 F.3d 1148 (D.C. Cir. 2004)

11. Rancho Viejo, LLC v. Norton, 334 F.3d 1158 (D.C. Cir. 2003 cert. denied)

12. Court: U.S. May Resume Detainee Tribunals, Associated Press, July 16th 2005



Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Zarqawi Phenomenon

The Zarqawi Phenomenon

"A remarkable proportion of the violence taking place in Iraq is regularly credited to the Jordanian Ahmad al-Khalayleh, better known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and his organization Al Qaeda in Iraq. Sometimes it seems no car bomb goes off, no ambush occurs that isn't claimed in his name or attributed to him by the Bush administration. Bush and his top officials have, in fact, made good use of him, lifting his reputed feats of terrorism to epic, even mythic, proportions (much aided by various mainstream media outlets).

. . . . . . . .

The Bush administration has regularly claimed that Zarqawi was in -- and then had just barely escaped from -- whatever city or area they were next intent on attacking or cordoning off or launching a campaign against. Last year, he and his organization were reputed to be headquartered in Fallujah, prior to the American assault that flattened the city. At one point, American officials even alleged that he was commanding the defense of Fallujah from elsewhere by telephone. Yet he also allegedly slipped out of Fallujah either just before or just after the beginning of the assault, depending on which media outlet or military press release you read.

He has since turned up, according to American intelligence reports and the U.S. press, in Ramadi, Baghdad, Samarra, and Mosul among other places, along with side trips to Jordan, Iran, Pakistan and/or Syria. His closest "lieutenants" have been captured by the busload, according to American military reports, and yet he always seems to have a bottomless supply of them. In May, a news report on the BBC even called Zarqawi "the leader of the insurgency in Iraq," though more sober analysts of the chaotic Iraqi situation say his group, Jama'at al-Tawhid wal Jihad, while probably modest in size and reach is linked to a global network of jihadists. However, finding any figures as to the exact size of the group remains an elusive task."

. . . . . . . .


Friday, July 15, 2005

NEW! NEW! The Club G'itmo T-Shirt - What Happens in G'itmo Stays in G'itmo

The EIB Collection - Product Detail

"Limbaugh's new fashion line shows us how funny torture can be. American Dissent Radio is representing some of his collection for true patriots who express their love for America by advocating torture."

Thanks to American Dissent Radio for the link.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

EmpireNotes: Iraq and the Weakness of U.S. Hegemony

As Robert McChesney observed on his radio show "Media Matters," if you watched Fox News at all after the London terrorist bombings, it seemed like the folks at Fox were popping the champagne bottles -- as though this somehow vindicated the Iraq invasion or demonstrated that we are "winning" the "war on terror." (?????)

Personally, I really appreciated the guts of "The Daily Show" in commenting that this is precisely what Bush has called for: fighting them "over there" so that we don't have to fight them over here. (Do any military people find this at all disturbing? -- the fact that Bush is implicitly stating that our goal is invite/seek out terrorists ["Bring 'em on"] so that -- so that what? -- presumably so that we can kill each and every one of them, and then the "war" will be over. As if there were only a finite number of "evil-doers," and once we kill them all, the world will be "safe for democracy" again.)

That's where I'm at, right now. The only rational conclusion I can reach is that the Bush Administration wants this horrific shit to continue. Many people, from across the political spectrum, wonder why we haven't closed off Iraq's borders to prevent foreign fighters from joining the Iraqi insurgency. Come on, people; aren't you listening? Bush has said it repeatedly: we WANT them to come in to Iraq. We WANT to "fight them over there." Iraq is now a "central front" in the "war on terror," remember?

Fuck, I'm glad I never joined the military.

The Horror In London

By Eric Margolis

"Lacking any modern arms or military organization they resort to their only major weapon, bombs – the poor man’s cruise missiles.

We are horrified that anyone would attack innocent civilians packed in subway cars. But the extremists and fanatics who do so say they are exacting revenge for the 500,000 Iraqi civilians who died, (confirmed by the UN), from the ten year US-British embargo of Iraq. For the criminal destruction in 1991 of Iraq’s water and sewage treatment plants that cause massive cholera and typhoid. Or for the occupation of Iraq and destruction of the city of Falluja that killed tens of thousands more civilians, and, of course, for Palestine.

We saw the frightful TV footage from the London bombing but no footage at all of the destruction of an entire Afghan village just days before by the US Air Force.

I am not in any way justifying terror attacks, only putting them into context. I believe US and British military forces do not target civilians – though this has happened far too often – but in the end what they term `collateral damage’ means many dead civilians.

When we kill them in droves, some of them will strike back.
Calling on such avengers to fight fair is a waste of time. Claiming these extremists attacked because they hate our western way of life, as Bush and Blair have done, is dishonest. They attacked us because we have been attacking them.

As Tony Blair rightly said, murdering civilians on their way to work is `barbaric.’ But so is dropping bombs on Afghan or Iraqi villages, using tanks to crush Palestinian demonstrators, or the slaughter of 100,000 Chechen civilians by our ally, Russia. "



Empire Notes: Iraq and the Weakness of U.S. Hegemony

There's little new to say about last week's London terror bombing. It has proved Bush's "flypaper" theory – that if we "take the war to the terrorists" in Iraq, then "they" – whoever "they" are – won't be able to attack "us" – to be nonsense, if we needed any more proof. It was a heinous crime, like Madrid, or the Bali nightclub, or Beslan, or like either of the two U.S. assaults on Fallujah in 2004. Like the first of those Fallujah assaults, it didn't even seem designed, or likely, to accomplish anything beyond killing people.

It did give the British a taste of daily life in Iraq over the last 11 weeks. Over 1500 have been killed since then, the vast majority in attacks that targeted civilians, not soldiers in the foreign occupying forces. One Iraqi preacher, explaining the vastly different levels of global concern, said, "This is because Iraqis are like chickens and nobody cares about the killing of a chicken, but the British are the lords of this world."

Bush's openly and repeatedly avowed strategy of making Iraq a central battlefront in the "war on terror" has been stunningly successful – although making Iraq unsafe has hardly made anyone else safer. It's difficult to understand why he expects the Iraqis to be grateful for this.

. . . .


The Logic of Suicide Terrorism

It’s the occupation, not the fundamentalism

Last month, Scott McConnell caught up with Associate Professor Robert Pape of the University of Chicago, whose book on suicide terrorism, Dying to Win, is beginning to receive wide notice. Pape has found that the most common American perceptions about who the terrorists are and what motivates them are off by a wide margin. . . .

"TAC: If you were to break down causal factors, how much weight would you put on a cultural rejection of the West and how much weight on the presence of American troops on Muslim territory?

RP: The evidence shows that the presence of American troops is clearly the pivotal factor driving suicide terrorism.

If Islamic fundamentalism were the pivotal factor, then we should see some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world, like Iran, which has 70 million people—three times the population of Iraq and three times the population of Saudi Arabia—with some of the most active groups in suicide terrorism against the United States. However, there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Iran, and we have no evidence that there are any suicide terrorists in Iraq from Iran.

Sudan is a country of 21 million people. Its government is extremely Islamic fundamentalist. The ideology of Sudan was so congenial to Osama bin Laden that he spent three years in Sudan in the 1990s. Yet there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Sudan.

I have the first complete set of data on every al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from 1995 to early 2004, and they are not from some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world. Two thirds are from the countries where the United States has stationed heavy combat troops since 1990.

Another point in this regard is Iraq itself. Before our invasion, Iraq never had a suicide-terrorist attack in its history. Never. Since our invasion, suicide terrorism has been escalating rapidly with 20 attacks in 2003, 48 in 2004, and over 50 in just the first five months of 2005. Every year that the United States has stationed 150,000 combat troops in Iraq, suicide terrorism has doubled.

TAC: So your assessment is that there are more suicide terrorists or potential suicide terrorists today than there were in March 2003?

RP: I have collected demographic data from around the world on the 462 suicide terrorists since 1980 who completed the mission, actually killed themselves. This information tells us that most are walk-in volunteers. Very few are criminals. Few are actually longtime members of a terrorist group. For most suicide terrorists, their first experience with violence is their very own suicide-terrorist attack.

There is no evidence there were any suicide-terrorist organizations lying in wait in Iraq before our invasion. What is happening is that the suicide terrorists have been produced by the invasion.

. . . . . . . .

TAC: Has the next generation of anti-American suicide terrorists already been created? Is it too late to wind this down, even assuming your analysis is correct and we could de-occupy Iraq?

RP: Many people worry that once a large number of suicide terrorists have acted that it is impossible to wind it down. The history of the last 20 years, however, shows the opposite. Once the occupying forces withdraw from the homeland territory of the terrorists, they often stop—and often on a dime.

In Lebanon, for instance, there were 41 suicide-terrorist attacks from 1982 to 1986, and after the U.S. withdrew its forces, France withdrew its forces, and then Israel withdrew to just that six-mile buffer zone of Lebanon, they virtually ceased. They didn’t completely stop, but there was no campaign of suicide terrorism. Once Israel withdrew from the vast bulk of Lebanese territory, the suicide terrorists did not follow Israel to Tel Aviv.

This is also the pattern of the second Intifada with the Palestinians. As Israel is at least promising to withdraw from Palestinian-controlled territory (in addition to some other factors), there has been a decline of that ferocious suicide-terrorist campaign. This is just more evidence that withdrawal of military forces really does diminish the ability of the terrorist leaders to recruit more suicide terrorists.

That doesn’t mean that the existing suicide terrorists will not want to keep going. I am not saying that Osama bin Laden would turn over a new leaf and suddenly vote for George Bush. There will be a tiny number of people who are still committed to the cause, but the real issue is not whether Osama bin Laden exists. It is whether anybody listens to him. That is what needs to come to an end for Americans to be safe from suicide terrorism.

. . . . . . . .

TAC: What do you think the chances are of a weapon of mass destruction being used in an American city?

RP: I think it depends not exclusively, but heavily, on how long our combat forces remain in the Persian Gulf. The central motive for anti-American terrorism, suicide terrorism, and catastrophic terrorism is response to foreign occupation, the presence of our troops. The longer our forces stay on the ground in the Arabian Peninsula, the greater the risk of the next 9/11, whether that is a suicide attack, a nuclear attack, or a biological attack. "

Copyright © 2005 The American Conservative




Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Spiritual Warfare

13WHAM-TV || Rochester - Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare

Evan Dawson (Rochester, NY) 07/04/05 - You have probably never seen an army missile used in a church service or a pastor dressed in fatigues, but that is exactly what you'll find Sundays at New Born Fellowship Christian Center in Rochester, where church leaders have decided to conduct a new program called Spiritual Warfare.

Pastor Warren Meeks knows it's shocking to see a missile inside a church, or to see a house of worship set up like a jungle of war.

However, he says this concept of spiritual warfare has a purpose. Pastor Meeks said, "We take our liberty for granted. A price was paid. So we want to assist them spiritually in prayer."

For the past several Sundays, the New Born Fellowship Christian Center in Rochester has conducted spiritual warfare.

The congregation has been encouraged to wear fatigues and uniforms. Assistant Pastor Perdita Meeks said no one has found spiritual warfare to be over the top.

"No negativity," said Perdita, "in fact, the first week we launched it, the people were so excited . . . energy was high . . . it provides a mindset. It provides unity. It brings us all together on one accord."

The program focuses on prayer for American soldiers and for city teenagers who are fighting temptions of drugs and gangs.

It has become so popular that family and friends of the congregation have come in from out of state. Judy Thompson, who traveled from Ohio to worship with the New Born congregation said, "It was really just...I can't explain words for it. The fellowship was really intense, the prayer -- you can see the healing, people healing themselves and starting the healing process for the country."

On Independence Day New Born Fellowship Church is proud to conduct their spiritual warfare.

New Born Fellowship will offer spiritual warfare services for the next several weeks and they plan to conduct similar programs every year for Independence Day."


Friday, July 01, 2005

International Security & Justice News & Musings: Bush's Absurd Response to Amnesty Allegations

International Security & Justice News & Musings: Bush's Absurd Response to Amnesty Allegations:

"'It seemed like to me they [Amnesty International] based some of their decisions on the word of and the allegations by people that were held in detention, people who hate America, people that have been trained in some instances to disassemble, that means not tell the truth.'"

Oh, George. Who taught you to "disassemble" so very well?

We've come to the point where reputable news agencies -- some of them considered "liberal" -- are having healthy debates about what "torture" means, and whether or not it might be acceptable:


And today I came across a discussion on the "Chatterbox Cafe" section of the "A Prairie Home Companion" website that really disturbed me -- again, a show considered by many to be "liberal," but clearly most of the listeners are not.

But then it's as with everything else: the government, the media, the country have become so conservative-right-leaning that they've swung the bar that way; anything to the left of Fox News is considered "liberal."

Rush Limbaugh responded to the initial photographs from Abu Ghraib prison by joking that this degradation was "no different than what happens at the Skulls and Bones initiation."

In the midst of the Abu Ghraib scandal, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe said, "I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment." (We actually have members of Congress that are further to the right than this administration -- now that's a bit scary.)

And of course Bush, when questioned about the U.S. using "extraordinary rendition," consistently defends the practice.

As one blogger put it:

"So, the "support our troops" variant of the pro-torture position now has a green light from the top. If you demand accountability for torture, you are dishonoring American soldiers.
. . . .
Let's make no mistake about it. When candidates in a democracy feel that it's necessary to defend themselves by affirming and reaffirming that they honor and support American troops and American values whenever they speak out against the practice of torture, then it's long past time for our pompous politicians to stop saying that America is the greatest country in the world. Because our practice of politics has become corrupted by something even worse than our still-shameful "pay to play" system of campaign financing.

A recent poll showed that 30% of Americans did not consider what occurred at Abu Ghraib to be torture.

Where are we going?

Are we gonna start decapitating people because "they" do it, too?


The last resort of scandalized patriots: House Passes Constitutional Amendment to Ban Flag Burning

You've heard about all the flag-burning going on here in America?

No? Really? You sure? Cause apparently it's a big issue:

House Passes Constitutional Amendment to Ban Flag Burning

House Passes Constitutional Amendment to Ban Flag Burning
By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 23, 2005; Page A05

A constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to ban flag burning passed the House yesterday, and congressional leaders said it has a strong chance to clear the Senate for the first time, sending it to the states for ratification.

The House has passed the measure four times before, but it has always fallen short of the two-thirds vote needed in the Senate. But changes in the Senate's makeup shifted several votes to the bill's supporters, and a lobbyist who leads the opposition said the absence of one or two senators could mean that the measure would pass.

"There are too many scenarios where we lose," said Terri Ann Schroeder, senior lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union. "We're very concerned." Schroeder counts 65 solid votes in favor of the amendment of the 67 needed for passage if everyone votes. "We still have a number of folks that have never voted, and we still have a potential problem if 100 members do not vote," she said.

The issue has been a favorite of conservatives since a 5 to 4 Supreme Court ruling in 1989 that protected flag desecration as free speech.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) favors the measure and plans to hold a hearing shortly after the Fourth of July break, Republican aides said. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) could schedule a floor vote as soon as next month, the aides said.

Specter plans to let Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), a former chairman of the committee and longtime champion of the measure, preside over the hearing. Hatch said he believes the measure will pass and said he is motivated by relatives who have died in combat. "I think acts of flag desecration are offensive conduct we ought to ban in the interest of protecting the greatest symbol of our country," Hatch said.

Among the new votes for the amendment is Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who pushed the issue in his campaign and helped recruit co-sponsors. "Out in the country, at the grass-roots level, it's seen as a common man's practical patriotism," Thune said.

Another freshman, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), will oppose the measure, aides said.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that she would "support federal legislation that would outlaw flag desecration, much like laws that currently prohibit the burning of crosses, but I don't believe a constitutional amendment is the answer."

The House measure passed 286 to 130. Republicans were almost entirely for it, 209 to 12. Democrats were not as united in their opposition, with 117 against the measure and 77 for it. House Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) said during the debate that lawmakers "must act with bipartisan dispatch to ensure that this issue is returned to the hands of those most interested in preserving freedom -- the people themselves."

The measure would have to be ratified by 38 states to become part of the Constitution.


The denial and cover-up of the torture scandal is abhorrent

The Pentagon recently sent several Congressmen on a visit to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base so that they could see for themselves how nice the prisoners there have it, and report back accordingly. Which they did.

One Congressman I saw on CSPAN the other day compared it to a resort. Seriously. (I'm trying to remember, or find out, his name.)

You can listen to some of them gush about how beautiful Gitmo is on CSPAN.org . Here's the audio from one:

CSPAN - Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) & Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) on Guantanamo Detainees (mp3, 10.9 mb)

I have absolutely no doubt that what they saw was perfectly fine and humane. You'd have to be an idiot to believe that, if there's inhuman treatment going on, they're just going to welcome in a team of Congressmen on a scheduled visit and say "look, this is where we sodomize and electrocute people. Oh, and over in that room, that's where we sick vicious dogs on the genitals of nude men. Would you like to take some pictures?--Here, use my camera. Get a shot of this dried pool of blood, that's a good shot. . . ."

Read this story from "The Independent" from August 2004.

What's seldom reported, also, is that--after Seymour Hersh and others broke the story that the torture in Iraq was deliberately exported from Guantanamo-- prisoners are being moved from Guantanamo to Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries (where--well, you can guess how they'll be treated).

Now. On April 8th, 2005, DemocracyNow! reported that "a top human rights investigator in Afghanistan was recently forced out of the United Nations under pressure from the U.S. just days after he released a report criticizing the US for committing human rights abuses. He says, "The U.S. has done an enormous disservice to the cause of human rights in Afghanistan simply because they wanted somebody who was going to look the other way on what their practices were."

"the Commission unprecedentedly . . . adopted almost every recommendation I had. But, when it came to inquiry into what the U.S. forces are doing, there a stone wall was put. And I suspect it has to do with the fact that in the last two months the U.S. has been moving prisoners from Guantanamo to Afghanistan, and that soon we will see the D.O.D. open up Guantanamo for international inspection. And by then the worst cases will have been transferred to Afghanistan; Guantanamo will have been repainted, recarpeted, and would look very nice, and people who would go to inspect it there will find nothing wrong. But, of course, that means that those people who have been transferred from Guantanamo to Afghanistan could not be interviewed or seen by anybody else. So, I speculate (but I think there's valid reason to make such speculation) that the reason that the mandate was not renewed was really to avoid having somebody like myself, and certainly myself, if I were to be renewed, insisting on going into the prison facilities and talking to the people, which would in this case have included those transferred from Guantanamo. So it was a chance that I think the U.S. didn't want to take."

Bahraini Detainees May Be Moved - April 24, 2005


SIX Bahrainis held in Guantanamo Bay could be moved without notice to prisons in Yemen, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia or Egypt, say their lawyers.

They could be moved without their lawyers or families being told, following a court ruling in Washington.

Lawyers defending the six asked to court to order the US government to give them advance notice of any transfer of their clients from the US camp in Guantanamo, Cuba.

They made the request last month when the Pentagon announced that it was transferring many of the detainees to prisons in other countries, including Yemen, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The move aims to cut by half the numbers held at the base in Cuba.

US Lawyer Joshua Colangelo-Bryan told the GDN that in view of the court order, he had no way of confirming the whereabouts of his clients.

"If the government were to decide to transfer the Bahraini detainees to any country in the world, including countries that the US State Department has said commit torture, it could do so and would have no obligation to notify anyone, including us," he said.

Mr Colangelo-Bryan said this meant that the lawyers acting on behalf of the detainees would not be able to take any steps to prevent their clients from being transferred to a prison in Yemen, Afghanistan, Egypt or "anywhere else".

"In fact, the government would have no obligation to inform us about a transfer even after it occurred," he said.

"So, it is possible that one of our clients could be transferred - or already has been transferred - and we would never know that the transfer occurred or the location to which the transfer was made."

Mr Colangelo-Bryan urged the government of Bahrain to take action to secure the release of its citizens so that they are not sent to any country other than Bahrain.

He said that there were reports of abuse at prisons in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Yemen, among others.

Mr Colangelo-Bryan is among a group of lawyers from the New-York-based firm Dorsey and Whitney who are acting on behalf of the six Bahrainis free of charge as part of a global effort to provide free legal support to all Guantanamo prisoners.

They have maintained that the allegations do not justify holding the detainees for over three years without charge.

The lawyers are disputing their classification as "enemy combatants" and say no evidence has been put forward to support the allegations.

The six Bahraini detainees held at the camp as "enemy combatants" are Juma Mohammed Al Dossary, Essa Al Murbati, Salah Abdul Rasool Al Blooshi, Adel Kamel Hajee, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Abdulla Majid Al Naimi..

SOURCE: Gulf Daily News




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