Archive for the ‘GITMO’ Category

>The Work Begins…For All of Us

January 21, 2009

>Be sure to read my column this week. It addresses some issues seen here on Bessemer Opinions. It follows this post.

I’m not sure if it was a request or not, but for John, and for the rest of America, here is the President and First Lady’s first dance to “At Last” sung by Beyonce. I’m not sure how long this video will stay up, I will try to replace it if it is removed.

I want to clear one thing up. Barack Obama did not flub the oath. Chief Justice John Roberts did. He tried to cue Obama from memory, and screwed up. Obama knew the oath, and kind of laughed it off, but had to decide whether to repeat what Roberts was saying or say it right. Anyway, either then or later he said the complete oath correctly. Two previous presidents had to repeat the oath due to similar issues – Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur.

Now that the pageantry is over, the work begins. For all of us. We have been called to service. I have an idea for myself, more on that if it turns out to be doable.

In addition, the Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association agreed last night to look into new service projects (in addition to our work at Jonesboro Community Garden and Davis Middle School) as a way answer the President’s challenge by addressing needs in our community.

The administration has begun their work too. Look at the new White House web page, whitehouse.gov .

From there, you will learn that President Obama’s first official act was to proclaim January 20 2009 a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation. Read the whole thing, but the meat of it is this:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2009, a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation, and call upon all of our citizens to serve one another and the common purpose of remaking this Nation for our new century.

If you look under the “agenda” tab, you will see Civil Rights listed first, mainly because the list is alphabetical. From there, you can be assured that President Obama recognizes the importance of inclusion and equality for the GLBT community.

But President Obama also recognizes that there are serious issues at hand. He suspended prosecutions at Gitmo . This is seen as a first step in shutting the place down.

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Murat Kurnaz

March 31, 2008

This story was on 60 Minutes last night. If someone is not convinced that our military was out of control …no wait…they are under control…of a devious and lying commander in chief who has no concern about human rights or dignity…anyway here is the story of Murat Kurnaz.

You may already know the story of Kurnaz, a German man who was detained in 2001 (shortly after 9-11) by Pakistani police and given to the US for $3000. He was detained because of racial profiling…he was lighter skinned than the Pakistanis that were travelling on the bus with him.

He was bound and shackled and flown in a U. S. military plane to Khandihar, Afghanistan, where he became prisoner number 53.

He was kept in an outdoor pen, in sub-freezing temperatures and interrogated daily. He of course denied the charges that he was a terrorist.

American troops held his head under water, and hit him in the stomach while his head was submerged in an effort to get information from him (Opinion…torture…no wait, that’s not an opinion, that is a fact.) They shocked him with electricity, and suspended hinm by his arms for 5 days, while a doctor periodically checked him to determine that he could stand to be suspended for longer periods.

When reminded during the interview that the military will deny his charges, he said “It does not matter whatever they will say. The truth will not change.”

Other prisoners describe similar treatment and some troops have admitted to those practices.

Then they transported him to Gitmo, where he was forced to go without sleep for weeks among other techniques our guys used to try to make him confess or give information.

In 2004 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled GITMO prisoners have a right to representation and an attorney surprisingly paid him a visit.

The attorney discovered the military had been making up charges to keep him classified as an enemy combatant. The attorney also found a file written within six months of Kurnaz’s arrival at GITMO that said “CITF (Criminal Investigation Task Force) has no definite link/evidence of detainee having an association with al Qaida or making any specific threat toward the U. S.”

So even though there was no evidence against him, Kurnaz was kept 3-1/2 more years with invented new charges such as a charge that he was picked up near Osama bin Laden’s hide out in Afghanistan while fighting for the Taliban. Strange…the U. S. is the one that took him to Afghanistan…in custody.

A judge ruled that the military tribunals in GITMO were unconstitutional, referring to Kurnaz’s case in doing so. He was finally released in 2006, and flown home bound and shackled and blindfolded and denied food and water for the entire seventeen hour flight.

He has written a book “Five Years of My Life, An Innocent Man in Guantanamo. There will be no book signing tour, however, he is still banned from the U. S. and considered by our government to be an “unlawful enemy combatant.”

How anyone can support the Bush-Cheney-McCain war is beyond me.

>Murat Kurnaz

March 31, 2008

>This story was on 60 Minutes last night. If someone is not convinced that our military was out of control …no wait…they are under control…of a devious and lying commander in chief who has no concern about human rights or dignity…anyway here is the story of Murat Kurnaz.

You may already know the story of Kurnaz, a German man who was detained in 2001 (shortly after 9-11) by Pakistani police and given to the US for $3000. He was detained because of racial profiling…he was lighter skinned than the Pakistanis that were travelling on the bus with him.

He was bound and shackled and flown in a U. S. military plane to Khandihar, Afghanistan, where he became prisoner number 53.

He was kept in an outdoor pen, in sub-freezing temperatures and interrogated daily. He of course denied the charges that he was a terrorist.

American troops held his head under water, and hit him in the stomach while his head was submerged in an effort to get information from him (Opinion…torture…no wait, that’s not an opinion, that is a fact.) They shocked him with electricity, and suspended hinm by his arms for 5 days, while a doctor periodically checked him to determine that he could stand to be suspended for longer periods.

When reminded during the interview that the military will deny his charges, he said “It does not matter whatever they will say. The truth will not change.”

Other prisoners describe similar treatment and some troops have admitted to those practices.

Then they transported him to Gitmo, where he was forced to go without sleep for weeks among other techniques our guys used to try to make him confess or give information.

In 2004 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled GITMO prisoners have a right to representation and an attorney surprisingly paid him a visit.

The attorney discovered the military had been making up charges to keep him classified as an enemy combatant. The attorney also found a file written within six months of Kurnaz’s arrival at GITMO that said “CITF (Criminal Investigation Task Force) has no definite link/evidence of detainee having an association with al Qaida or making any specific threat toward the U. S.”

So even though there was no evidence against him, Kurnaz was kept 3-1/2 more years with invented new charges such as a charge that he was picked up near Osama bin Laden’s hide out in Afghanistan while fighting for the Taliban. Strange…the U. S. is the one that took him to Afghanistan…in custody.

A judge ruled that the military tribunals in GITMO were unconstitutional, referring to Kurnaz’s case in doing so. He was finally released in 2006, and flown home bound and shackled and blindfolded and denied food and water for the entire seventeen hour flight.

He has written a book “Five Years of My Life, An Innocent Man in Guantanamo. There will be no book signing tour, however, he is still banned from the U. S. and considered by our government to be an “unlawful enemy combatant.”

How anyone can support the Bush-Cheney-McCain war is beyond me.