Guantánamo Prisoner to Joe Biden: ‘The Last Two Decades of My Life Have been a nightmare without end’
Yves here. The US still refused to acknowledge, much the less plan to end, the cess pit known as Guantánamo. By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies
I’ll be bold but accurate. In international affairs, America acts like a criminal nation, the biggest bully on the block, a nation that soaks in fear and revels in power. Its hubris and insecurity are so great that it will spend near-infinite dollars to avoid a world in which any other nation stands its equal, or even half its equal.
America is also run by a deeply corrupted Establishment, one so devoted to enriching its swollen defense and security industries — the other reason it’s constantly at war — that the thought of spending to relieve the pain of its people comes tenth on a list of two.
There is no more poignant reminder of our criminal selves than the prisoners remaining at Guantánamo.
As late as January 2021, more than 18 years since most of them were captured, 40 of the original 780 prisoners remain incarcerated. Stories of at Guantánamo are rampant.
The Marine general who oversaw the building of the prison said in 2013, “Even in the earliest days of Guantánamo, I became more and more convinced that many of the detainees should never have been sent in the first place. They had little intelligence value, and there was insufficient evidence linking them to war crimes.”
That’s being generous. Most of these prisoners were bought from Afghan warlords, who received a “bounty” (that’s the correct word) for every “terrorist” they delivered to the American army during the initial years of the Afghan War. Afghan warlords are no less corrupt than our Congress men and women — like the latter, most will do anything for money (search the article for “Marianas” and look for Ralph Reed’s name).
Thus their enemies and often complete strangers were rounded up and sold to American soldiers eager for “terrorists” to punish. (If you remember the infamous TV program 24, you’ll appreciate just how eager Americans were and are to mete out punishment.)
The prisoners, of course, are humans, just like the rest of us, with parents, wives, children, friends, careers and former jobs. Picture yourself in Guantánamo for 18 years, legally nowhere, with no evidence against you, no recourse to appeal, no way to confront your accusers, nothing behind you but memories of what you lost, nothing in front but detainment, torture, and death. You live looking forward to your death.
According to the Miami Herald:
Administration officials have through the years described a variety of reasons why the men could not face trial: Evidence against some of the indefinite detainees was too tainted by CIA or other interrogation torture or abuse to be admissible in a court; insufficient evidence to prove an individual detainee had committed a crime; or military intelligence opinions that certain captives had undertaken suicide or other type of terrorist training, and had vowed to engage in an attack on release.
Do you dream of revenge? It would be human to do so. If you were scooped up by, say, the Chinese and held in a torture camp for decades on no evidence, would you not consider an attack if let loose? It’s a perfect circle; we created these men’s hatred, then cannot let them go because of it.
If there is a hell, the managers of the American Establishment State deserve a place — perhaps, as suits their wish, the center seat — in its deepest, hottest pit.
I offer the following into evidence. This was a statement given just this year by a Guantánamo prisoner named Ahmed Rabbani, Guantánamo ISN 1461, to the human rights organization Reprieve. It’s a message and request to President Joe Biden.
He peacefully asks for mercy. Along the way he tells a horrid tale. One part: here’s what Rabbani endured after his sale to the Americans and before being taken to Guatánamo:
I was tortured for 540 days in the ‘Dark Prison’ in Afghanistan “without authorization” — whether that makes it better or worse, I am still undecided. I can confirm that the torture did take place, although I couldn’t have counted the days myself: the days and nights blended into one while I was hung from a bar in a black pit, in agony as my shoulders dislocated.
I doubt that President Biden can understand what this torture is like; to hear a woman screaming in the next room and to be told it is your wife, and that if you do not do as they insist, they will rape her or kill her.
Note that at the beginning of his piece, Rabbani has to swear off revenge even to be heard. I’m not a fan of revenge myself — to quote the Bard, it is twice cursed, it curseth him that gives and him that takes — but affirming the U.S. state’s monopoly on violence is a requirement for entry into any of these negotiations. (BLM, take note. You too, student debt protestors.)