Monday, February 23, 2009

Guantanamo Detainee Released: What Hath Bush Wrought?

Today’s Chron contains an article filed by AP reporter Paisley Dodds detailing the hellish 7–year existence of Ethiopia born Binyam Mohamed, who was nabbed by Pakistani authorities when, in 2002 he tried to return to England, where he was a legal resident, from Karachi using a false passport.

In the years that ensued Mohamed was

  • Strung up by his wrists with leather straps and left to hang for a week – sometimes witnessed by a British MI-5 operative;
  • Renditioned to Morocco by US agents for an 18 month long torture session, which included, it is alleged, mutilation of some part of his more intimate areas;
  • Forced to confess to “an array of charges to stop his abuse;”
  • Further abused at a CIA site in Afghanistan, where he was starved and beaten;
  • Sent to Guantanamo in 2004 where he eventually faced charges of “conspiring with al-Qaida members to murder and commit terrorism.”

Then, miraculously, all charges were dropped in 2008 after lawyers working for him in the UK filed a lawsuit seeking the release of 42 secret documents.

He is now back in the UK with his sister.

But the fun in reading the article really begins in the comments, where you get to see the kind of flora and fauna that I have to share oxygen with here in Red Texas.

“It begins. The first of many to be released so they can go back to plotting terrorist acts against the infidel”

“This will be the mastermind of the next terrorist attack on our soil. What a president we elected.”

“Remember, they don't torture our people. Decapitation isn't torture, just murder!”

Ad nauseum.

Here in Red Texas, we are more than willing to accept the notion of guilty until proven innocent. Particularly if the accused is a Muslim. Particularly if the accused is a converted Muslim (assuming from the Ethiopian flavor of Christianity). Here we have a guy who was initially arrested by Pakistanis, handed off to the Brits, then to the Americans, all of whom apparently had their ways with him.

Yielding confessions of questionable veracity or value.

But he must be guilty because the alternative is much too horrible to contemplate. That we Americans, through our government surrogates, engage in practices of medieval torture.

But I will give it to the second commenter, the one who predicts that this one will be the mastermind of the next terrorist attack. Because if Binyan Mohamed was not of the opinion that Americans are the great Satan and should be opposed at every turn at the cost of life and limb before his harrowing 7-year journey through living hell, I’ll bet he is now.

And I ask who then should we punish? Mohamed for becoming the person we have turned him into, or to punish some other to convince the world that this isn’t who we are anymore.

When will the war crimes trials begin?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Here in Red Texas, we are more than willing to accept the notion of guilty until proven innocent." That's because we don't hire constitutional lawyers as our judges, just ex-corporate boys to protect industry and dismantle our constitution.