Sunday, June 11, 2006

Dead in Custody: Three Reported Suicides at Guantanamo

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - There have been hunger strikes, and dozens of attempted suicides among the "enemy combatants" indefinitely incarcerated at America's prison complex at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Today, just hours after the White House announced it would accelerate its repatriation of Saudi, and other suspects, to their respective countries' infamous prison systems, three successfully ended their lives.

Dead in Custody:
Three Reported Suicides at Guantanamo

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
June 10, 2006

American authorities assure, the bodies of the dead men were treated "with the utmost respect." Better treated in death apparently than they were in life. The "treatment" of those held at Guantanamo has included: No hope of a fair trial; barred communication with their families; religious persecution; denial of the guarantees afforded Prisoners of War, as defined by international law and the Geneva Convention.

Of the reported 460 men and boys languishing, some more than four years, despite little, or no evidence of any connection to the Taliban, or the Afghan resistance to the U.S. invasion of their country in 2001, only ten have been charged, while none have had their day in court.

The bombing campaign and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan was an illegal act, under international law, but that mattered little to the United States and its "coalition of the willing," those nations, including Canada, that have worked hand in glove to prosecute a 'War on Terror' predicated on Taliban involvement in the 9/11 attacks of 2001; allegations never tried, based on suspect assertions made by the Bush administration.

Irregardless of the Taliban's relationship with the alleged mastermind of 9/11, Saudi national, Osama bin Laden, America's invocation of United Nations' Article 51, a nation's right to retaliate against foreign attack, was a thin justification for what followed, and continues for those deemed neither soldiers, nor civilians deserving legal representation, or the basic human rights the U.S. and its coalition partners willingly ratified, but now ignore.

George W. Bush opined yesterday, he understood "concerns" about the prison expressed by the leaders of nations, like Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, currently on a State visit to Washington, saying he; "assured him [Rasmussen] that we would like to end Guantanamo."

But, it's clear; "ending" Guantanamo will not mean an end to the unjust ordeal these men and boys have endured.

For some, it means being delivered into the hands of America's willing collaborators, singular noted in some quarters for their agreement with America's number one law man, and architect of the legal language allowing Guantanamo, Bagram, and the plethora of secret "prison facilities" currently serving surrogate for America's endless 'War on Terror,' Alberto Gonzales, that international law, and Geneva specifically, are "quaint" notions better left to the dustbin of history.

Left behind to moulder in neglected history tomes too, the reminders of another regime that observed no law, and is remembered best today as a criminal enterprise whose monuments attest mass unprovoked war against its neighbours, and the systemic murder of millions behind the barbed wire of their network of concentration camps.

Chris Cook
is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and host of Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

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Dictating the News: Woes of a One-Paper Town

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Subscribers to the Times Colonist newspaper, Victoria's sole daily, and representative of the Toronto-based CanWest Global media monolith, were treated Friday, June 9, 2006 to a close-up front page image of the face of a corpse. The image is of a man, clearly beaten, eyes closed, dead. The dead man's face is artfully framed between 'Old Glory,' in its star-spangled splendour, and a photo of two American soldiers in battle fatigues.

Dictating the News:
Woes of a One-Paper Town

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
June 11, 2006

The Times Colonist would have its readers believe, the dead man pictured was the infamous terrorist mastermind, a veritable Scarlet Pimpernel of the Iraq "insurgency," Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, reputed leader of the sinister 'al Qaida in Iraq.' Of course, there's absolutely no reason to believe anything emanating the presses of CanWest.

The organ of Winnipeg's Asper family is avowedly unabashed in its determination to serve Canadians not fair and balanced news coverage, but rather slanted propaganda to serve the interests of Israel, and its radical Likud faction, currently responsible for so many unreported atrocities against the peoples of the Middle East. The media empire's former number one, the late Israel "Izzy" Asper said as much shortly after the family business went global, gobbling up remnants of Lord Black's once mighty Hollinger Inc.

CanWest revealed its stripe just last month, with another odious Friday edition. On Friday, May 19, 2006, through the agency of the CanWest print flagship, The National Post, aspersions were cast against the Iranian government. In 18 point high letters, above the photograph of two German (Polish?) Jews, circa 1940's, each sporting the mandatory yellow Star of David, sewn onto their overcoats, (please see: 'Creating Kristallnacht: Hate-Baiting at the National Post'), The Post accused Iran of following the Nazi lead, requiring religious minorities in their country to too be made to affix their clothing with coloured designators.

Naturally, that "story" was a complete fabrication, dreamt up by Neo-con fellow travellers at the Washington PR firm, Benador and Associates. You may recall some of Benador's previous efforts, tales of Kuwaiti babies ejected incubators, abandoned to die on the "cold, cold hospital floors" that helped stoke the fires for war in Iraq I? Base nonsense, to be sure, but serving a greater, and nefarious purpose.

As the Kuwaiti incubator fiction was a doggerel aimed at the public in the west, while the leaders prepared for a massive killing spree based on lies and deception in Iraq in 1991, the May 19th rubbish too was aimed at public opinion, hoping to bolster leaders bent on a massive killing spree based on lies and deception for Iran. So it is with last Friday's Zarqawi faerie tale; another piece of shoddy propaganda, serving the leaders conducting these serial blood baths abroad.

Trumpeted around the globe as the greatest victory for the American military in its self-declared 'War on Terror,' (a claim perhaps easier to believe, would it have come from any source other than CanWest), the rise and fall of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi makes for a gripping story.

No doubt the movie will be a block-buster.

As were the reputed instruments of his demise: Literally, as pair of 500 lb "smart bombs" delivered to the house "Zarqawi" was believed hiding in, destroyed much of the neighbourhood. But, a good bad man is hard to kill. Now the story is: Super Zarqawi survived the blast. That would explain why the picture on the Times Colonist's Friday front page is of a recognizably human victim, and not, as one would reasonably expect, considering the sledgehammer employed to kill this fly, an image of a smudge amongst the rubble.

Who that dead man on the front page is is an open question; the official story has already been revised several times.

The Times Colonist says what they say, and maybe some still believe them, but Kurt Nimmo, an intrepid, dedicated, and honest reporter, featured often at PEJ News, has a slightly more believable take on the circus surrounding the recent demise of the dead man on the front page, here.

Chris Cook
is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

Stay informed. Subscribe and get the best of PEJ News by email. Free.