Seventeen Chinese prisoners who have been held for nearly seven years in Guantánamo Bay will be informed on Monday that they could spend the rest of their lives behind bars, even though they face no charges and have been told by a judge they should be freed.
No country is willing to accept them and the US justice department has now blocked moves for them to be allowed to go to the US mainland, where they had been offered a home by refugee and Christian organisations.
Unflipping believable. A life sentence for these guys, "...even though they face no charges and have been told by a judge they should be freed."
There are a number of ways to characterize what is going on at Gitmo.
One can talk about torture, no civil liberties, no due process, and absolutely no relation to what is thought of as traditional American jurisprudence; a stain on America's moral character, and a blight on the international opinion of this country which will take years to overcome.
However, there is another way to view what is happening at Gitmo.
Consider it a kind of "laboratory" in which this government tests how carry out any - or all - of the above on American citizens right here in this country, if there is any kind of "national emergency" leading to the declaration of martial law.
And for those who think it "that can't happen here", please think again.
As reported on 2 October, 2008
"In a barely noticed development, a US Army unit is now training for domestic operations under the control of US Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command. An initial news report in the Army Times newspaper last month noted that in addition to emergency response the force “may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control.” The military has since claimed the force will not be used for civil unrest, but questions remain."
Questions, indeed. As reported in "Uruknet.com", 25 September 2008,
"the mission assigned to the nearly 4,000 troops of the First Brigade Combat Team does not consist merely of rescuing victims of terrorist attacks. An article that appeared earlier this month in the Army Times ("Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1"), a publication that is widely read within the military, paints a different and far more ominous picture"
"They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control," the paper reports. It quotes the unit’s commander, Col. Robert Cloutier, as saying that the 1st BCT’s soldiers are being trained in the use of "the first ever nonlethal package the Army has fielded." The weapons, the paper reported, are "designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them."
The equipment includes beanbag bullets, shields and batons and equipment for erecting roadblocks.
"I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered," Cloutier told the Army Times. He described the effects of the electroshock weapon as "your worst muscle cramp ever—times 10 throughout your whole body."
"The colonel’s remark suggests that, in preparation for their "homefront" duties, rank-and-file troops are also being routinely Tasered. The brutalizing effect and intent of such a macabre training exercise is to inure troops against sympathy for the pain and suffering they may be called upon to inflict on the civilian population using these same "non-lethal" weapons."
The timing - and true mission - of this deployment are deeply worrisome.