Sunday, August 15, 2010


It's coming close to the anniversary of the election of the great white hope (pun intended) Obama in the USA, and his promise to close the Guantanamo prison camp is still unfulfilled. Not that I find this surprising. Politticians do, after all, routinely renege on their promises, and so-called leftist politicians are no different. As we speak the kangaroo court for Omar Khadr is going on down on the US imperial outpost in Cuba. Not that I feel any great sympathy for Khadr or for his scumbag family. If they were to have their way we would be enduring a regime that would make our present governance look all sweetness and light. Still, to prevent our own regime from getting worse, certain rules have to observed. One of those might be that when you invade a foreign country without a declaration of war then you cannot charge people in a home with "war crimes" when armed soldiers break into said home trying (and mostly succeeding) to kill the inhabitants and one of the inhabitants survives. This is bizarre beyond measure.

That is the simple be all and end all of the Khadr case. Whether he threw a grenade or not is irrelevant. How many of the other people in the room survived when foreign invaders attacked with intent to kill them all ? Is this a "war crime" or is an invasion without a declaration of war a "war crime" ? You be the judge.

In any case the American Human Rights First group is campaigning to have the issue of the continued existence of the American prison camp at Guantanamo be an issue in American politics. Here is their statement >>>>
Hitting the Campaign Trail to Close Guantánamo
This week marks a new low at Guantánamo, as the United States begins the trial of Omar Khadr, who was picked up in Afghanistan at age 15 and has spent more than a quarter of his life at Guantánamo. International law prohibits the use of children under 18 in armed conflict and requires states to rehabilitate child soldiers by assisting with their physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration. The United States has failed to abide by these obligations; instead it began jury selection in Khadr's trial, undermining a fundamental norm and setting a dangerous precedent for children forced into armed conflict around the world.

This development underscores what we know from our years of observing military commissions at Guantánamo: setting up a trial system that depends on coerced confessions, redefining the laws of war, and violating fundamental human rights standards is not only wrong, it's counter-productive. And in terms of convicting those who have committed terrorist acts, military commissions are a poor substitute for our federal courts. Not only have they failed to guarantee due process, they have only managed to convict four people, while the federal courts have convicted more than 400 terrorism suspects since 9/11.

As the election season gets underway, we're sharing the facts about military commissions with congressional candidates. Next week we will be in Illinois with retired military leaders who continue to speak out against torture and Guantánamo. They will make the case to candidates from both parties that closing Guantánamo and relying on our time-tested federal courts for terrorism trials will make our nation stronger and more secure.

You can join us in Illinois next week by signing our petition which we'll deliver personally to the candidates.

Watch the retired military leaders making the case for federal courts in our video-and join them in Illinois by signing the petition!


Elisa Massimino
President and CEO
Human Rights First
Please go to this link from Human Rights First to call for the byelection candidates in Illinois to come out for closing the Guantanamo prison camp. You don't have to be an Illinois resident to sign this petition. No matter how absurd this may seem to those of us outside of the USA we should still add our voices to this even if some Americans believe that they can invade a foreign country without a declaration of war, attack a home, kill almost everyone in the home and yet still charge someone who may or may not have thrown a grenade with "war crimes". Others would call it "failed self defence" against an illegal invader. Obviously if Khadr was dead he would not have been charged. As to his "international terrorist importance" that is an absurd joke. Note that his sick family continues to stay in Canada for the money despite their silly religious beliefs. Economics trumps ideology every time.
Dear Candidates,

I am writing to ask that you support closing Guantánamo and using our civilian courts to try terrorism suspects.

Congress should preserve the Administration’s ability to bring terrorist suspects to justice in the United States, resettle them abroad, or repatriate them as appropriate. Should you win the seat you are running for, I ask that you support efforts to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay and end military commissions.

Our federal courts have convicted 400 terrorists since 9/11. Military commissions have only convicted four, two of whom have already been released.

Please stand strong against the fear-mongering, listen to national security experts who support the decision to close Guantánamo, and use our tried and true system of federal courts to see justice served.

Guantánamo has been a stain on America’s reputation. It has undermined our values, undercut our counterterrorism efforts and squandered an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the American justice system. If you win your office, please help us fix this and bring the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks to justice.

Thank you.

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