Tag Archives: military commissions act

What this election is about

This election is about a lot of things.  It’s about the economy, it’s about health care, it’s about education, it’s about Iraq ….  For me, though, what it’s really about is restoring America to what it once was and what it should be again.  It’s about restoring our Constitutional rights.  It’s about the appointment of at least one, if not three, Supreme Court Justices.  It’s about the Military Commissions Act and the Patriot Act.  It’s about FISA.  It’s about Guantanamo Bay and whether or not America stands for torture

I was looking through old editorial cartoons at Cagle this morning and came across one from 2004 that sums up this election, for me, perfectly:

Daryl Cagle, 2004

Daryl Cagle, 2004

 

Decide what this election is about for you, educate yourself and then, please, use your vote wisely.

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Omar Khadr

Back in July, we talked briefly about Omar Khadr, the now 22-year old Canadian citizen who was first brought to Guantanamo Bay at 15.  Andy Worthington at Alternet.org and AndyWorthington.co.uk has been keeping track of all kinds of things going on at Gitmo and has paid very close attention to Kahdr’s case. 

In short, Khadr is accused of throwing a grenade which killed an American soldier in Afghanistan.  The only problem is that reports essentially indicate that he didn’t.  The US Government has not abided by international protections set up for child soldiers and has denied Khadr treatment and aid for several injuries and medical conditions.  He has also, of course, been subjected to interrogation, torture, and solitary confinement, even after his case was thrown out and he should have been released. 

This is just a brief summary of Khadr’s situation.  There are many, many disturbing details and a review of his case history is enlightening and frightening.  If you care at all about the abuses our Constitution is taking, the frightening Military Commissions Act, and the “war on terror,” which cannot be helped by our actions at Gitmo, please go read Worthington’s latest piece at Alternet.org and then study his blog.

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Sorry this took so long

OK, y’all, this is so late.  I should have sent you to this link over a month ago.  But, honestly, it took me until just a few minutes ago to finish reading all of it because it makes me so _ damn _ mad.  Let’s all harken back to how I feel about the Military Commissions Act and understand that Gitmo was opened so that we could have somewhere to torture people.  Please go read Naomi Wolf for background here.  Now, once you have all of that under you for support, go to the Post and read this:  General Accuses White House of War Crimes.  Take some time, y’all.  This is five pages of tough, honest reporting about how we’ve gotten to the place where we routinely torture sixteen year olds.  The arrogance and non-chalance of some of the characters in this report is revolting.  The only thing left to say is that everyone needs to read, learn, and then use his or her vote wisely.  This is no joke, y’all.

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Wednesday morning round up

Oh, there’s just so much to read this morning.  First, check out Marsha Mercer’s piece, “There’s no avoiding the race issue.”  Here’s one of my favorite lines:  “It’s impossible to take a racist seriously who can’t even spell writing. But I digress.”  Read the piece to see what inspired this line and for a broader discussion of race and, to a lesser extent, gender in this election.

Next, head over to ABC News and read Jake Tapper’s piece, “‘Danger Signs’ as Clinton Supporters Resist Obama.”  I will freely admit that this article pissed me off.  I think Jake (can I call you Jake?) is relying on some old news and old stereotypes here, like the notion that, “While Obama runs well among younger voters, they are not always reliable when it comes to showing up at the polls.”  Did Jake miss the primaries?  I think we’ve put this issue to bed by now, at least for this election, but maybe I’m wrong.  Hey, he gets paid to do this ….

Finally, to get you really freaked out and back on your haunches about our Constitution and what could happen if we make the wrong choice in November, read “US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships” over at The Guardian.  Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor bring to the light some analysis done by the UK human rights organization Reprieve.  Folks, this all goes back to that disgusting Military Commissions Act that we’ve talked about here, here, and here.  I’m gonna have to do a full post just on that Act here soon, but I hope I’ve given you enough to understand how truly awful it is and Reprieve, through this report, is showing you how truly dark we, as a nation, have become.  

Enjoy your reading.  I’d love to know what you think. 

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More on Guantanamo

A few days ago, I wrote on the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the right of habeas corpus for Guantanamo Bay detainees.  As a follow up, I’d like to direct you to some reading.

First, check out Tom Lasseter’s article on a McClatchy investigation showing that anywhere from dozens to hundreds of the men imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay were done so for no reason … no good reason … at all.  These men were innocent, turned in for bounty or to settle old scores.  And they were systematically abused by us, by American military members.  Now don’t get all righteous on me about our military.  I am married to an American military officer.  But the fact that our military members have done atrocious things cannot be denied.

Next, turn to Michael Tomasky’s piece on John McCain’s reaction to that same Supreme Court decision.  It’s an interesting look at how McCain’s view of the decision is framed within his support of the Military Commissions Act.  One would think that a former torture victim and military prisoner would be a huge proponent of habeas corpus rights for military prisoners.  The anger that McCain showed in reaction to the court’s ruling is, therefore, surprising, until you read this piece.

Finally, read another of Tomasky’s pieces which reiterates my point about the Court’s decision affirming our system of checks and balances.  He looks at the possibilities of an Obama or a McCain presidency in the lights of this and examines the possibilities.  It’s definitely worth a read.

This decision is worth reading for yourself (FindLaw.com) and studying.  It will be viewed one day, I hope, as the first step in reversing the blackness that began to creep into our Democracy after 9/11. 

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Remember that neo-fascism thing?

Go check out these two pieces:

From the AP:  Lawyer:  Gitmo interrogators told to trash notes

From Alternet.org:  Pentagon Manual:  OK to Destroy Gitmo Interrogation Notes

The first is AP’s factual reporting of the situation.  The second is Alternet’s discussion of the implications, including some excerpts of reporting on the same story from CanWest News Service. 

Essentially, there was a Pentagon directive that interrogators could (should?) destory their handwritten notes taken during interrogations of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.  Later, sanatized typed reports were created of said interrogations.  The defense attorney for Omad Khadr, currently on trial in a case already making news for the replacement of the trail attorney, says that this practice prevents him from challenging any alleged confessions and he will use this to request dismissal of the charges against his client.

This all ties up neatly in a bow with my neo-fascism post below with the pending Supreme Court case regarding the denial of habeas corpus under the Military Commissions Act.

I’m not going to argue whether or not Khadr threw the grenade that killed the American soldier he is accused of killing, when he was 15 years old in Afghanistan, even though the Pentagon isn’t quite sure.  I’m not going to argue whether or not he should have been deported, at age 15, against the normal standards of international extradition, to Gitmo.  What I will argue is that we are America, and whether or not he is guilty of the crime for which he is accused, he should have had his rights upheld.  He should have had the right to not be tortured.  He should have had the right to a fair and just and timely trial, not waiting six years to face the kind of backward justice of which all Americans should be ashamed and alarmed.

Khadr is Canadian.  Canadian.  That’s pretty close to home, don’t you think?  He is now 21 years old.  No one can prove that he did what we say he did and yet we’ve held him for six years trying.  Sure, he was fighting for the the other side.  But this is war, folks, that’s what happens.  Are we going to arrest everyone fighting for the other side? 

The thing we all need to realize is that the Military Commissions act allows the President to declare anyone an enemy combatant:  anyone.  That’s you, that’s me, that’s my Mom, that’s your kids, that’s your neighbors, your children’s teacher, the nice lady who works at the local grocery.  And once one is declared an enemy combatant, the flood gates open and anyone can be treated just like we have treated Khadr.  That’s why Gitmo exists.  And if John McCain, who supports this Act, is elected, this will not change.  Do your homework and use your vote.      

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