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Arab Client Regimes Shaking
|Charles Glass on how his fellow Americans treat prisoners worse than Hezbollah treated him |
I KNOW WHAT CAMP X-RAY FEELS LIKE
[New Statesman (U.K. Current Affairs Magazine) - 28 January 2002]: The first thing they do is cover your eyes. They make you strip to make sure you're not carrying anything. They replace your clothes with uniforms that are not clothes at all. They chain you by hand and foot. They drag you away and leave you on your own. They interrogate you. They say you are going to die if you won't talk. They feed you - you're not much good to them if you starve to death.
It sounds like Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to which the United States military is deporting men it has captured in Afghanistan. But it was Lebanon in the 1980s. The Hezbollah, Lebanon's Shi'ite Muslim Party of God, kidnapped foreigners between 1982 and 1989 at the behest of their Iranian benefactors. I remember the drill - the blindfold, chains, solitude and loneliness. I was there for two months in 1987. It was a bad time, and it seemed unlikely to me then that I would one day see photographs of my countrymen treating Muslim prisoners much as I was treated.
I thought the Eighth Amendment to the US constitution prohibited "cruel and unusual punishments". I'm looking at the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments that Americans regard as sacred, and read the words "nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted". Full stop. It does not say that only American passport-holders, legal residents of the United States and members of the Senate who take contributions from corporations that violate the law are exempt from government torments. It makes clear that no category of human being is excluded from America's obligation to refrain from cruel and unusual punishments. Amendment VIII means suspects; it means enemies; it means criminals; it means prisoners of war; it means - and the term is as new to me and you as it undoubtedly is to the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld - "illegal" combatants. Who is illegal and who is legal, by the way, has always been for the courts of the United States to decide, not the Department of Defence. As for international law, the Geneva Conventions say that "captured combatants or civilians" have certain rights - including to correspond with their families - without any distinction between "legal" and "illegal" combatants.
I wonder now whether some mullah in Tehran said, when a score of Americans and Europeans were illegally held against their will in Lebanon: "Obviously, anyone would be concerned if people were suggesting that treatment was not proper." That is what Rumsfeld said on television the other day. Rumsfeld's concern for the Muslims chained like Caliban on America's Caribbean base seems to match what Tehran's mullahs felt for us. The mullahs, at least, knew that holding American, French, British and German captives in Lebanon during the 1980s was so shameful that they never admitted it. Rumsfeld seems proud. His is not some secret operation, like the CIA's Phoenix programme of assassinations and torture in Vietnam. It's out in the open.
If Rumsfeld has not read the constitution to which he has taken an oath, if he does not see the cruelty in the treatment of those men in Cuba, he could at least admit that tying men up, blocking their sight, cutting them off from their families and flying them around the world is unusual.
"The fact is that treatment is proper," Rumsfeld insisted. "There is no doubt in my mind that it is humane and appropriate and consistent with the Geneva Conventions for the most part." For the most part? Which part? The shackles? The blindfold goggles? The six-by-eight-foot cages? At least Hezbollah put me in a normal-sized room.
It wasn't much of a room, bare but for a paper-thin mattress on the floor, with a sheet of steel to seal the window. I never saw daylight, but they did turn the electric lights off at night so I could sleep. The men in Guantanamo enjoy no such luxury: arc lights are left on all night so the US marine guards can keep an eye on them. I'm not sure why. Where are they going to go? We are told they don't even know where they are. If they manage to clear the fences and minefields, the Cubans on the other side have said they'll hand them back to the US.
During the 62 days I spent alone in that room in Beirut, all I could do was sit for hours and hours, thinking, praying, hoping. Some friends of mine did that for five years. It was mistreatment, cruel and unusual. The Hezbollah interrogators justified it. The Israeli army, they said, kept Lebanese inmates of Khiam prison, in south Lebanon, under worse conditions. (When international observers at last went into Khiam after Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, they confirmed that the interrogation rooms and cells were much, much worse than anything I had experienced as a hostage.) The Israelis' brutality to their prisoners no more justified what the Hezbollah did to its hostages in Lebanon than the Hezbollah's actions excuse what the US is doing in Cuba.
An American may some day be arrested or kidnapped by those whose sympathies lie with the Camp X-Ray detainees. What will his captors say when he pleads that his conditions violate international law? Will their answer be to play for him videotapes of the X-Ray detainees and of Rumsfeld's press conferences?
Britain, as it has done with every US action in every battle or bombardment for the past 20 years, justified Camp X-Ray. A government spokesman was quoted as saying, after a British delegation toured the camp last Friday: "There were no gags, no goggles, no earmuffs and no shackles while the detainees were in their cells."
Why would anyone need to shackle and blind them in their cells? The Hezbollah let its hostages remove their blindfolds when they were alone in their locked rooms. When a guard or interrogator entered, however, the blindfold had to come on quickly. The Hezbollahi, realising that they might be held accountable in court for their crimes, did not want us to identify them. It was a sensible precaution. Perhaps Rumsfeld should wear a hood over his head so no one will recognise him.
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Standing Ovation at U Chicago for MER Publisher Mark Bruzonsky Keynote Address. Full text at http://www.MiddleEast.Org/uchicago.htm
(January 31, 2002)
Standing Ovation at University of Chicago for MER Publisher Mark Bruzonsky Keynote Address. Full text at http://www.MiddleEast.Org/uchicago.htm
University of Chicago Speech by MER Publisher Mark Bruzonsky
(January 31, 2002)
Arab Client Regimes Shaking
(January 30, 2002)
The first thing they do is cover your eyes. They make you strip to make sure you're not carrying anything. They replace your clothes with uniforms that are not clothes at all. They chain you by hand and foot. They drag you away and leave you on your own. They interrogate you. They say you are going to die if you won't talk. They feed you - you're not much good to them if you starve to death.
Torture and the Smile of Policeman Agadi
(January 30, 2002)
A few years ago Dr. Eyad Sarraj startled many when he published an article explaining "Why We Are All Suicide Bombers Now". Dr. Sarraj, Ph.D. from Harvard in psychology and a very cultured and secular individual, is Palestinian and lives in Gaza.
Black Voices For Peace - The Good and the Bad
(January 29, 2002)
Black Voices for Peace in Washington put on a good show last Monday, Martin Luther King's Birthday.
For Blacks it was a well put-together and nicely produced program that went on for some 5 hours in a local downtown heart-of-D.C. church.
Arabs Threaten to Threaten; Israelis Act
(January 28, 2002)
The confused, bewildered, impotent, and divided Arab "leaders" -- mostly of course of the "client regimes" -- will be meeting in Beirut in March desperately trying even harder than usual to mask all of these realities.
Pakistan on Brink of Backlash, Chaos, War
(January 28, 2002)
India is likely to strike sooner or later, doing so on behalf of and in coordination with both Israel and the U.S. regardless of what those parties say in public. Whether India will wait for General Musharraf to loose control -- at that could come at any time -- is uncertain to everyone, probably including those in charge in New Delhi.
One War Criminal To Another
(January 27, 2002)
Fearing the possible public explosure of secrets known to very few, it appears one war criminal decided to do in another this week in Lebanon. The cycle of violence begetting violence, revenge leading to still more revenge, has not been broken in the Midldle East.
Zinni Embraces "Daddy Bear" Sharon Condemns "Mafia Godfather" Arafat
(January 27, 2002)
Americans and Israelis are essentially frolicking in bed together, all the more so in the aftermath of 11 September, all the while whispering under the covers about how they have truly screwed everyone else, most especially the gullible, weak, and confused Arabs from Arafat to Mubarak to Abdullah, et. al.
More Bloodshed Now; Possible Armagedon In The Future
(January 27, 2002)
At the moment Israel is Goliath in the Middle East; and American is Hercules in the world. But it will not always be this way; and the seeds of potential cataclysm, indeed of Armagadon, are in fact now growing like weed
U.S. Warns, Squeezes Arafat, Saudis
(January 26, 2002)
By threatening to desert the Arafat Regime the Americans are sending a much larger message to the rulers in the Middle East and especially at this moment to the Saudi Regime. The message: If you dare defy us, if you don't do what you are there to do, if you think you can get along without us support you; well think again.
Arafat Deserted; Region Boiling
(January 25, 2002)
The Arab "leaders" having deserted Yasser Arafat, as well as the Palestinian people. The terrible weakness and divisions of what is known as "the Arab world" are more visible than ever now.
Arafat Again In Exile? Oh No!
(January 24, 2002)
OH NO! Just the thought of Arafat going back into exile, continuing to hold to all the power and money and imagery, and traveling the world again with his sensely slogans, babbling ways, near zero credibility, and terrible record of corruption and ineptitude, is enough to make long-time supporters of the Palestinian struggle for true self-determination and real independence cringe.
Washington Gives Israelis the Wink and the Nod - Plus of course the Means
(January 24, 2002)
While the U.S. and Israeli military, and the CIA and Mossad, forge ever closer ties in the new crusade to remake the entire Middle East in the opening years of the 21st century, just as the Brits and the French did in the opening years of the last century, the Israelis also continue their assassination campaign not only of Palestinians but also of former friends and allies.
PERES, NOT PEACE-MAKER BUT CRIMINAL - Former Aide Charges
(January 23, 2002)
"Your silence and inaction can no longer be justified by
any excuse: Shimon, you are a partner in crime...
You have imprisoned an entire people for over a year
with a degree of cruelty unprecedented in the history
of the Israeli occupation. Your government is
trampling three million people..."
CONGRATULATIONS, AMERICA YOU HAVE MADE BIN LADEN A HAPPY MAN
(January 23, 2002)
"'We are turning ourselves into the kind of deceitful,
ruthless people whom bin Laden imagines us to be"
"Minus the torture, the United States is now doing what
most Arab regimes have been doing for decades:
arresting their brutal "Islamist" enemies, holding them
incommunicado, chained and hooded, while preparing unfair trials."
British Support for Israel and Sharon
(January 23, 2002)
Take the Middle East. When Blair welcomed Yasser Arafat to Downing Street following 11 September, it was widely reported that Britain was backing justice for the Palestinians. Editorialists drew a favourable comparison with the bellicose Bush administration.
SAUDI DENOUNCES U.S. AGENDA BEHIND BOMBING CAMPAIGN
(January 22, 2002)
From down under these two articles from the Sydney Morning Herald today, a newspaper with unusually thoughtful converage of world affairs. In Saudi Arabia there is a trembling now and a rush to try to distance themselves form the Americans one way or another.
Thousands of Al Qaeda and Pakistanis may have "escaped" Afghanistan; Bin Laden possibly among them
(January 21, 2002)
Kashmir remains the flashpoint. "The situation is bloody explosive," a senior Pakistani
diplomat says, suggesting that Musharraf has not been given enough credit by the Indian
government for the "sweeping changes" he's brought to Pakistan.
Thousands demand Arafat's release
(January 20, 2002)
Thousands of Palestinians marched through the Gaza Strip on Sunday protesting at the Israeli blockade of Yasser Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has said Mr Arafat is now effectively a prisoner of Israel.
THE RIGHT OF RETURN IS ALIVE AND WELL - ?
(January 20, 2002571570)
What Israel (with continuing U.S. and European help) has done to the Palestinian People "is the largest, most carefully planned and longest ethnic cleansing operation in modern history. The population of 530 towns and villages have been expelled in 1948, removing 85 per cent of the Palestinians in the land that became Israel. Those who did not suffer this fate in the remaining part of Palestine are now in the grip of the most brutal, longest and only occupation in the world."
America grabs for more power and domination, risks future revolution and explosion
(January 16, 2002)
Just as it did in the Middle East in years past, the U.S. is now positioning regimes and its military and economic tentacles to take in the riches of central Asia. That's really what these struggles are really all about in the end, power and wealth. The daily headlines and the various slogans and clashes actually serve to mask and obscure this far deeper and far more important reality.
Hezbollah and Lebanon Next U.S./Israeli Targets
(January 15, 2002566)
The Americans, and Israelis, are out of control now. The rather laughable "Arab League" is in fact scheduled to meet in Beirut in March. They may find themselves facing the wrath and revenge of the Americans who are determined to make the world safe for themselves and the Israelis, and unsafe for all who dare oppose the Empire.
Christian Americans Want Crusade - Was/Is Osama Right?
(January 13, 2002)
George W. Bush let it out of the bag less than a week after 911 when he publicly discussed the new "crusade" upon which American was now engaged. They shut him up quickly...in public anyway. And as for all that American help to the Afghani people... The reality is millions are on the verge of starvation and the country can be lickened to a "slaughterhouse". Someone should ask the Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Iraqis...etc. about American humanitarian assistance.
Arab nations leaving Palestinians to face Israel alone
(January 12, 2002)
"The Arab world is unlikely to remain backward and divided forever," says one of the quoted commentators. True enough. But while it does, and while it is saddled with the inept and corrupt "client regimes" who prey on their own people and miserably squander the resources, the culture, and the history, of this once vital region, the whole Middle East is a seething cauldron of still growing hatreds and grievances whose eruptions in the 21st century now well begun are likely to be far greater than all those of the bloody 20th century now past.
Toward a World at War - Syria Fears, Indians Prepare
(January 10, 2002)
While the Syrians, Iraqis and others prepare for the coming American strikes; and while the Indians and Pakistanis prepare for a possible cataclysmic clash; the Israelis are preparing to further manipulate American policies and also preparing to strike out on their own against all who oppose their brutal military subjugation of the Palestinians -- probably to do so when other even bigger fires elsewhere have much of the world's attention.
US Military Heads For Pakistan, Reorganizes to Remain in Region, Prepare the Way for Global American Companies
(January 9, 2002)
The U.S. military is preparing to go much more publicly into Pakistan, and to establish a long-term presence in the region. The American corporations and banks will soon follow. For in the end its really all about great wealth and power on a global scale.
Attack Syria Next Insists Former NATO Commander and White House Chief of Staff
(January 8, 2002)
Target Syria even before Iraq says former NATO Commander and White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig. American is on the loose, on the rampage, more and more dangerous all the time it seems.
Saudi royal family 'in complete panic' during recent riots
(January 6, 2002)
SUBJUGATING BOTH KASHMIR and PALESTINE
(January 5, 2002)
Both Kashmir and Palestine are bleeding badly. And in the new world of Pax America and the "War on Terrorism" the Israelis are intent on keeping the Palestinians essentially imprisoned on Bantustans while the Indians see this as their moment to undermine the liberation struggle in Kashmir.
The New "New World Order" - Israel and India Gleefully Follow America's Lead
(January 4, 2002)
Both India and Israel are now seizing the moment to enforce their own regional dictate, a la the Americans. Everything is
reduced to "they are terrorists". The "you are either with us or against us" mantra has been gleefully seized upon by those who
rule in Delhi and Jerusalem. The courageous fighters in Kashmir, along with those in Palestine, are ever so simplistically and
erroneous reduced to mini-caricatures of Osama bin Laden. Decades of U.N. resolutions demanding Israeli and Indian
recognition of basic Palestinian and Kashmiri rights are cast to the wind. Any semblance of historical awareness -- not to
mention real justice, freedom, and democracy -- is not only forgotten but even those who raise the issues and remind the world
of the complex historical context, not to mention those who try to help with tangible and financial assistance, now run the risk of
being branded "supporters of terrorism"
CIA, Israel, and Arafat force Palestinian newspaper to close
(January 3, 2002544)
"If you're not with us, you're against us." The CIA, the Mossad, the Shinbet, and the military -- these are the groups now in charge. And that of course is what happens when a regime like that of Yasser Arafat's puts its fate, and indeed its very survival, in the hands of the intelligence agencies and under the table financial and political deals that would never be possible if they were known.
Both India and Kashmiri Fighters Issue New Threats
(January 2, 2002)
Threat and Counter-threat in the Sub-continent while Pakistan is essentially an occupied country at this point. General President Musharraff has allowed U.S. forces into the country, the CIA is building up its presence, and tensions throughout Pakistan are growing. There are rumored "contingency" plans to either destroy or grab Pakistan's nuclear weapons should Musharraf's tenuous grip on power in coordination with the U.S. fail.
Israel and U.S. Get Ready To Finally Topple Iraqi Regime
(January 2, 2002540)
It's the CIA, Mossad, and the military that are in charge now; preparing to enforce a Pax Americana Israelica throughout the Middle East region.
The Terribly Bloody Year In Kashmir
(January 2, 2002)
The Kashmir crisis is at the heart of the clash which may or may not yet erupt into nuclear confrontation on the sub-continent. For additional information about the Kashmir crisis use the new search capabilities and check the MER archives.