Land of the Free, Home of the Brave . . . NOT!

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This seems more like land of the oppressive and home of the craven:

Al-Ghizzawi, now 45, is a Libyan-born man who had been living quietly in Afghanistan with his Afghan wife. They had a small shop selling honey and spices that they later expanded to a bakery. They have a young daughter, now 6 years old, whom Al-Ghizzawi last saw when she was just a few months old. When the American bombs started to fall in late 2001 on Jalalabad, the city where Al-Ghizzawi lived with his family, he did what most people would do: He fled. He took his wife and infant daughter to his wife’s parents’ home away from the city. Unfortunately, Al-Ghizzawi was not well known in his in-laws’ village. Bounty hunters turned Al-Ghizzawi over to the Northern Alliance in December 2001, who then handed him over to the United States. (Our government offered millions of dollars for captured “murderers and terrorists,” and few questions were asked when Arab men were turned over for those bounties.) By March 2002, Al-Ghizzawi was sent to Guantánamo, where he was never charged with a crime or given the opportunity to prove his innocence.

The military eventually used so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals to justify holding prisoners at Guantánamo without the due process on which our legal system is based. But in Al-Ghizzawi’s status review in November 2004, the tribunal unanimously found him not to be an “enemy combatant” (as was determined to be the case with some 35 other prisoners). The U.S. government proceeded to convene a second tribunal using exactly the same “evidence” against Al-Ghizzawi found to be worthless the first time around. One of the officers who sat on the first tribunal, Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham of the Army Reserve, testified to Congress in July 2007 that the evidence against Al-Ghizzawi was “garbage.” In the meantime, Al-Ghizzawi has not been allowed to see or talk to his wife and young daughter for more than six years.

The duration and isolation of his indefinite confinement are appalling enough, but now Al-Ghizzawi appears to be dying of liver disease. Eighteen months ago, in August 2006, I filed an emergency motion with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to try to get copies of Al-Ghizzawi’s medical records, which the government refused to turn over. Bush administration lawyers submitted an affidavit in response from the then medical director at Guantánamo, Dr. Ronald Sollock, who acknowledged that Al-Ghizzawi had a “history of hepatitis B,” and stated that the military had run “routine” tests on Al-Ghizzawi. The results, he said, came back “normal.” Sollock also noted in his affidavit that Al-Ghizzawi became infected with tuberculosis while at Guantánamo. This was the first that Al-Ghizzawi had learned of his having a “history of hepatitis B” and of being infected with tuberculosis. But U.S. District Judge Bates denied my motion to gain access to the medical records.

[From Medical treatment at Guantánamo | Salon ]

How anyone who calls themselves a Christian can support Guantánamo, or support the architects of this obscene gulag is beyond me. There ought to be outrage on the part of churches across the country. Perhaps there is, but if there is, such outrage is being lost in a storm of religious intolerance, bigotry, hypocrisy, and cynicism that make up the most vocal and apparent religious voices in this country.

And you know what, the Democratic Party is a craven, base, and cowardly party for not standing up and fighting hard for what is right and moral. There should be no Guantánamo Bay and yet our politicians and leaders continue to allow this abomination to exist.

Shame on us, the American People for allowing this travesty of justice, morality and ethics to exist within the bosom of our nation. Shame on us for not speaking out everyday about the evil that we have allowed to fester in our name. Shame on us for closing our eyes and our ears and our mouths.

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me–
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
(Martin Niemoeller)

On this day..