Tag Archives: Guantanamo

Since when have we been at war with Dagestan? (Or, Orwell was right)

Updated below

No doubt, justice needs to be done in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Branding and then handling 19-year-old American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an “enemy combatant,” however, would not serve justice. Quite the opposite.

It is the idea of the Gang of the Three — U.S. Sen. John McCainosaurus of Arizona, closet case U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and newbie fascist U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — along with brazen Islamophobe U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York, who also is a fucking joke of a statesman — that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated as an “enemy combatant”Guantanamo style.

This isn’t about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or the victims of the Boston bombing, of course. This is about the opportunity for self-serving Repugnican Tea Party traitors to once again use the occasion of a national tragedy to grandstand and try to concentrate their personal and political power.

Because, as both George Orwell and George W. Bush (and, I will add, Adolf Hitler, even though we’re never to mention him anymore because it’s always hyperbolic to do so, right?) taught us very well, there’s nothing like exploiting a nation’s fear in order to create hatred with which to fascistically consolidate your political power.

John McCainosaurus still wants us Americans to know what a huge “mistake” we made when we overwhelmingly elected Barack Obama over him in 2008 (McCainosaurus won only 45.7 percent of the popular vote and only 173 electoral votes to Obama’s 52.9 percent of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes).

McCainosaurus, our self-appointed shadow president, still is raging that the much younger, uppity black guy who didn’t have Vietnam-era POW status to shamelessly exploit for political gain (“I was a POW, so I deserve [fill in the blank]”) won the White House that McCainosaurus deserved. It was McCainosaurus’! He was robbed!

And McCainosaurus also wants to remain politically relevant in the increasingly insanely right-wing state of Arizona, the South Africa of the Southwest.

Speaking of racists, Lindsey Graham hails from the first state that seceded from the Union before abolitionist Abraham Lincoln even was inaugurated.

Graham, a “bachelor” who obviously is gay (I’m gay, but unlike the evil loser Graham, I’m not in the fucking closet), obviously is overcompensating with the right-wing fascism thing because he doesn’t want his homophobic, backasswards state’s attention turned to his sexual orientation, which would be disastrous for his next election. It’s a psychology-textbook case.

Kelly Ayotte, who usually is just window dressing at McCainosaurus’ and Graham’s public pronouncements — three U.S. senators supposedly in agreement with each other looks better than two, and perhaps the addition of the junior senator from the blue state of New Hampshire is meant to offset the fact that McCainosaurus and Little Gay Boy Graham come from two of our reddest states — is only in her third year in the Senate, but apparently she believes that her association with the crusty McCainosaurus and the mincing Graham will pay off in her political future.

Peter King, a real piece of shit, is most known for his blatant support of the terrorist Irish Republican Army — because he’s of Irish descent, and so of course they can’t be terrorists — while he alleges that it’s the Muslims who are the real terrorists.

His repeated attacks on Muslims, culminating in his 2011 “hearings” on Exactly How Evil and Dangerous Muslims in the United States Are — I use quotation marks because an Islamophobe conducting a “hearing” on anything Islam-related isn’t there to hear anything, but is only there to pontificate the conclusions that he drew long before the “hearing” began — did nothing for “national security,” but only inflamed relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States.

Which is what King and his piece-of-shit ilk want, of course. They create the very same hatred that quite predictably results in terrorist attacks and at the very same time proclaim that they are going to keep us safe from terrorist attacks. They want to perpetuate the problem that they claim they are the best ones to solve.

They call themselves patriots. I call them traitors, because their insatiable quest for more and more personal and political power only gets more and more Americans killed, and the only good traitor is an executed traitor.

I start off with the Gang of Three and the piece of shit Peter King because, as I said, it’s all about the Gang of Three and the piece of shit King.

For U.S. senators (and at least one U.S. representative) to actually publicly proclaim that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated as an “enemy combatant” already is creating an unfair and hostile environment in which the young man is to be tried for Monday’s twin bombings in Boston. His defense attorneys already can show that there is a threat to a fair trial for him.

Of course, it’s not a fair trial that the fascists of the Repugnican Tea Party want (after all, it’s someone else; why care about whether someone else gets a fair trial?). No, it’s more political power that they want.

Expanding the definition of an “enemy combatant” is a slippery slope to hell.

First, you twist and warp and pervert the definition of the word “war.” “War” no longer is a formally declared battle between two nations that will use their military forces to duke it out in a combat that presumedly will result in a “winner” and a “loser.” No, “war,” in Orwellian style, is whatever the fuck you say it is.

The Gang of Three and their ilk claim that We’re still at war! They love that shit. They have loved that 9/11 (which always was, is and always will be a terrorist attack and not part of any real or actual “war”) happened. It gave them, in their minds, a perma-enemy that they could milk for personal and political gain for infinity.

About a quarter of the human beings on the planet identify themselves as Muslims, and they are spread all over the world. If we are “at war” with these people, then obviously that “war,” very conveniently for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors and other assorted war-mongering fascists, never will fucking end.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an American citizen who identifies himself as a Muslim. It is the religion that he was born into. You most likely would identify as a Muslim, too, if you also were born into a Muslim family and Muslim environment.

It’s true that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hasn’t been a U.S. citizen for even a full year, having become a citizen on September 11, 2012. (I don’t know if he chose that date for its symbolism or if those who put on the naturalization ceremony chose it for its symbolism or if it was coincidence or what.)

But even if he became a citizen just a week before Monday’s twin bomb attacks on the Boston Marathon, the fucking fact of the matter is that as an American citizen, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is protected by the Constitution of the United States of America.

And that means that he gets a fair fucking trial.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, apparently grew up in Dagestan (which is next door to Chechnya, and like Chechnya, is a part of Russia) and in Kyrgyzstan (a central Asian nation that once was part of Russia but that now is independent, and that, like Chechnya and Dagestan, has a Muslim majority) before they came to the United States about a decade ago.

Their parents left the United States and returned to live Dagestan, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly visited (visiting one’s parents is not, um, an uncommon thing for a son or daughter to do) before he later apparently masterminded Monday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon. (I still surmise that the 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev dragged his impressionable younger brother into his plot.)

Tamerlan Tsarnaev wasn’t yet a U.S. citizen but reportedly had hoped to become one. But calling even him an “enemy combatant” (were he still alive) is utter bullshit, since we’re not at war with Dagestan (or with any other nation we know he visited after his family moved him to the United States), for fuck’s sake.

To call anyone (like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev) who has been living in the United States for a fucking decade (or even longer) and who is a U.S. citizen an “enemy combatant” after he or she has been accused of having committed a crime here (yes, even an egregious crime) when the United States is not actually at war with any other nation also sends the message that No matter how long you’ve been here, you’re not a real American — even if you have gained American citizenship.

This dark path is diametrically opposed to the path that we should take, which is to give Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a fair criminal trial. (Under the Obama administration, that probably will happen, but with Obama’s frequent pandering to the right wing and his frequent blatant, Bush-regime-like disregard for the U.S. Constitution, of course we cannot take that for granted.)

We didn’t declare domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh an “enemy combatant” and then strip him of his constitutional rights, even though he slaughtered and injured far more people in Oklahoma City than the Tsarnaev brothers are accused of having slaughtered and injured in Boston. No, we gave McVeigh a fair fucking trial.

True, McVeigh’s 1995 crime preceded 9/11 and the post-9/11 hysteria, but the fact of the matter is that the label “enemy combatant” chiefly is to apply to those who aren’t Anglo and who weren’t born on American soil and to those who predominantly identify themselves as Muslims, and that’s some fucked-up shit, to have one system of “justice” for the Good Old Boys, the so-called “Christian” whiteys who were born here, and another system of “justice” for the rest of us, the so-called “enemy combatants.”

Once we can call even one American citizen an “enemy combatant” when that citizen is not actually an operative for an enemy nation during an actual war, then we can call any American citizen an “enemy combatant.”

Any American citizen who expresses any view and/or commits any act that those in power at the time don’t like can be deemed by the powers that be an “enemy combatant” with whom they then can do as they please in the sacrosanct names of “national security” and the “war” on “terror.”

Killer drones, of course, will make the elimination of such so-called “enemy combatants” as easy as playing a video game.

Today, American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is proclaimed an “enemy combatant” who is stripped of his constitutional right to a fair trial and shipped off to Guantanamo or some other shrouded location, where God knows what will be done to him.

And you’re perfectly OK with that, because Hey, I saw the horrific images of the Boston bombing and I don’t ever want to get bombed! And Besides, you say, if you’re not guilty, then what do you have to be afraid of?

But tomorrow, like something out of George Orwell’s 1984, you say something to a fellow citizen that he or she perceives as unpatriotic. He or she dutifully reports you to the authorities as he or she repeatedly has been instructed to do by the authorities, and then the drones or the thugs come for you, you “enemy combatant,” and you are, as they say, disappeared.

Then, if you still are alive, as you sit in your tiny cell that is located God knows where, you kick the holy living shit out of yourself because  in 2013 you had had no problem whatsoever with American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev being called an “enemy combatant” and stripped of his constitutional rights.

Update (Monday, April, 22, 2013):

NBC News reports today:

The hospitalized Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was charged [today] with using a weapon of mass destruction – and the White House said he will be tried in a civilian court.

“He will not be treated as an enemy combatant. We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

“Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions. And it is important to remember that since 9/11 we have used the federal court system to convict and incarcerate hundreds of terrorists.” …

Contrary to the wishes of the wingnuts, the U.S. Constitution prevails.

But of course the Obama White House just can’t resist pandering to the right — God forbid should Barack Obama be called weak. on. TERROR! — with the White House press secretary already proclaiming the suspect to be guilty by referring to him as “this terrorist” and heavily suggesting that “this terrorist,” too, will be convicted and incarcerated, has have “hundreds of [other] terrorists.”

Gee, in my Civics 101 class, I was taught that it is the job of the judicial branch, not the executive branch, to determine someone’s innocence or guilt.

This is why I couldn’t vote again for Barack Obama in November — he’s George W. Bush Lite.

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A decade later, Elián is still a pawn

Elian Gonzalez attends  the UJC, Union of Young Communists, ...

Associated Press photo

Elián Gonzalez, now 16, is shown in Havana, Cuba, three days ago.

I remember when the right-wing, mostly Repugnican, anti-Fidel-Castro Cuban-Americans and their supporters made Elián Gonzalez, then only 6 years old, a pawn in their feud with Cuban President Fidel Castro a decade ago. (And I remember how ironic I found it that his name sounded an awful lot like the word “alien,” which he was…)

Gonzalez’ mother had tried to get Elián into the United States illegally in order to join her relatives in Miami. In November 1999, she left Cuba in a boat with Elián, who at that time was 5 years old (he turned 6 the next month), and several others without having first informed Elián’s father. She and most of the others drowned during their attempt to make it to Florida, and Elián was one of three survivors found holding onto an inner tube off of the coast of Florida. (Since 1995, U.S. law has stated that Cubans intercepted in the water attempting to reach U.S. soil may not remain on U.S. soil, but must be returned to Cuba or to a third country.)

After a protracted political and legal battle, Elián finally was returned to his father in in April 2000 – per the international law that mandated that the child, a citizen of another nation, be returned to his father, who still was residing in that nation. If you were Elián’s father, you would have wanted his return, too.

The relatives of Elián’s mother in Miami absolutely refused to release him to the rightful custody of his father in Cuba, so federal authorities, under order of then-Attorney General Janet Reno, had to force their way into Elián’s relatives’ house and take him forcibly.

While they wanted to appear to be martyrs, Elián’s relatives were simply lawbreakers, and it is reported that they tried to brainwash Elián against returning to his father in Cuba; notes Wikipedia:

On April 14, [2000,] a video was released [by Elián’s mother’s relatives] in which Elián tells [his father] that he wants to stay in the United States. However, many considered that he had been coached, as a male voice was heard off-camera directing the young boy.

In a September 2005 interview with “60 Minutes” after [having been] sent back to Cuba, Elián stated that during his stay in the U.S., his family members were “telling [him] bad things about [his father]” and “were also telling [him] to tell [his father] that [he] did not want to go back to Cuba, [when he] always told them [he] wanted to.”

I tend to believe Elián’s account that he wanted to return to his father in his familiar Cuba instead of remain with relatives in a strange land whom he didn’t even know, relatives who essentially were keeping him as their political/ideological prisoner — and who had the support of the right wing.

Now, had Elián been Mexican and his mother died while trying to get him across the southern border, and had he been found wandering in the desert, it would have been an entirely different story. Then, he would have been an “illegal Elián” – er, “illegal alien,” no question about it. No right-wingers would have taken up his “cause.”

But because Miami’s embittered Cuban-American community and its supporters wanted to turn Elián into a political football in their ideological war with Fidel Castro, the law was supposed to be bent to their political will, and Janet Reno and then-President Bill Clinton were demonized for only having followed the law (and common decency, which dictates that a child whose mother has died be returned to his father unless there is a very compelling reason not to do so, and a difference in political ideology is not such a compelling reason).

The Cuban government has been accused of propaganda for having recently released some images of an apparently happy and healthy teenaged Elián, but it wasn’t Cuba that turned Elián into a symbol of the decades-long cold war between Cuba and the United States – it was his mother’s relatives in Florida and their supporters who did that.

And to this day the American right wing asserts that Elián should not have been returned to his father. Yahoo! News quotes a wingnut blogger as having proclaimed:

If Elián had been granted asylum, today he would be a teenager preparing to go to college with every opportunity for success ahead of him. Instead, on the cusp of adulthood, Elián poses for propaganda photos sandwiched between Cuban army soldiers attending the Union of Young Communists congress in Havana…

The youthful Gonzalez should have been wrapped in the America flag. Instead, a boy who once represented the quest for the God-given right to be free, waves a Cuban flag symbolizing poverty, oppression, authoritarianism and misinformation.

Oh, Jesus fuck. Where to begin?

“Wrapped in the American flag”? That blogger must be a fucking virgin to use ridiculously jingoistic rhetoric like that. I mean, fuck — cue the screeching bald eagle!

Look, if Elián were an American teenager, he’d be lucky to be able to even get into a good university, and if he did, he’d probably graduate with a mountain of debt, because instead of being seen as valuable individuals inherently worthy of educating, our young are seen only as cash cows, such as for the student-loan sharks and the textbook-industry rectal rapists.

Maybe, not being able to afford college and not wishing to take on major student-loan debt, Elián would have joined the crusade in Iraq or Afghanistan for the war profiteers and the oil profiteers — er, I mean, for freeeedom — and he’d have been maimed or killed.

Or maybe he’d just have an exciting career as a wage slave for his capitalist masters ahead of him.

Oh, yeah, it’s sooooo much better here in the United States of Amurica, with our robust economy and freedom in such abundance that it’s oozing out of our asses.

As for the “If Elián had been granted asylum” bullshit, Wikpedia notes that

After Elián was returned to his father’s custody, he remained in the United States while the Miami relatives exhausted their legal options. A three-judge federal panel had ruled that he could not go back to Cuba until he was granted an asylum hearing, but the case turned on the right of the relatives to request that hearing on behalf of the boy.

On June 1, 2000, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Elián was too young to file for asylum; only his father could speak for him, and the relatives lacked legal standing. On June 28, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision. Later the same day, Elián González and his family returned home to Cuba.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene. That’s good enough for me that what was done in Elián’s case was legally proper.

And it’s interesting that a wingnut would trash Cuba as “symbolizing poverty, oppression, authoritarianism and misinformation.”

First of all, since the anti-capitalist Cuban Revolution, the capitalist U.S. government has done everything in its power to cripple Cuba. To try to cripple a much smaller, much weaker nation, and then to criticize it for not being stronger than it is is insane – but of course the wingnuts are, by definition, insane.

Secondly, we have plenty of poverty here at home, and capitalist oppression and exploitation and authoritarianism, too (oppression and exploitation are OK with the wingnuts as long as it’s making someone money), and misinformation?

Oh, please, how about the ominous warnings of the members of the unelected Bush regime about “mushroom clouds” here in the United States if we didn’t nip Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” in the bud?

No, the U.S. government never is guilty of misinforming its citizens. Never.

Oh. And Hurricane Katrina.

And the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors.

And speaking of Cuba – how about that Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp?

I certainly don’t assert that Cuba is perfect. Elián is closely guarded by the Cuban government, the media report, and I find that at least moderately disconcerting, even while, from the Cuban government’s standpoint, it’s understandable.

What I do assert is that Cuba surely isn’t as bad as all of the wingnuts paint it to be, that Cuba would be much worse off than it is now if it were opened up to capitalist exploitation as the American wingnuts want it to be, and that Cuba would be an awful lot better if it hadn’t had to endure the wingnuts’ decades-long effort to make it fail because they disagree with its government’s ideology.

All in all, I tend to believe that Elián Gonzalez is better off where he is.

P.S. I read the above-referenced wingnut’s entire nauseating piece on Elián Gonzalez. The wingnut, who, I was surprised to learn, apparently is a female, a she-wingnut, also wrote these gems: 

As Elian was placed into [his father’s] arms, [his mother’s] death was officially for naught.  Hope for Elian growing up liberated disappeared beneath the cold, murky waters between Cuba and the U.S. like a mother failing to find safe haven for an only child.

Wow. So it wasn’t a child rightfully being returned to his father. It was the child’s mother’s death being “for naught.” And when Cubans (especially the light-skinned, Repugnican-supporting variety) try to get into the nation illegally, it’s for freedom, you see, but when Mexicans and other undesirables (Democratic-supporting, most likely) try to get into the nation illegally, it’s only to freeload. (Please try to keep up!)

Fast-forward 10 years and take a glimpse into Elian’s life as a teenager. Instead of a Miami Dolphins Jersey, “Cuba released photos of one-time exile cause celeb Elian Gonzalez wearing an olive-green military school uniform.” Elian Gonzalez is what youthful subjugation looks like when a boy, a heartbeat from freedom, is deprived [of] liberty…

So all of those graves at Arlington National Cemetery — they died for our freedom to wear football jerseys. And apparently the U.S. military is full of “subjugated,” liberty-deprived youths, since they have to wear those anti-freedom olive-green military uniforms.

Really, everyone in the U.S. military should be wearing football jerseys — which we now should call freedom jerseys.

In Cuba, Elian is a hero. Yearly, Fidel approved celebrations marking Gonzalez’s birthday because Elian epitomizes the height of Cuban triumph over America. Lest we forget, America willingly acquiesced in the battle to grant a defenseless child freedom, choosing instead to don riot gear and send a terrified child back under Castro-inflicted bondage.

Really? Elián says he wanted to go back to his father in Cuba. And the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene… And again, it wasn’t about reuniting a child with his fatherno, it was a big, bad-ass “battle to grant a defenseless child freedom” (even though the child wanted to go back home to Cuba…).

There was a “Cuban triumph” over the United States back in 2000? Really? I missed that in the news… I’d thought that Cuba was a rather small, rather defenseless nation…

And the “riot gear” — well, as the family of Elián’s mother refused to release him to the custody of his father, and as the officials who came to get Elián (only because his mother’s relatives were illegally holding him) had been threatened with violence by the family spokeswoman should they attempt to enter the home, and indeed they were pelted with rocks and bottles, it seems to me that the “riot gear” was appropriate protection and not some sign of “liberal” “fascism.”

Also, from what I can tell, contributing to the fact that the feds went to get Elián is that the local law enforcement officials, apparently in a gross dereliction of duty, had refused to do so. (Of course, as Elián was not in the United States legally and was a citizen of another nation, it became an immigration, and thus a federal, matter, and maybe it would have been illegal for local officials to get involved in taking him from his kidnappers.)

Sure Elián was scared when they came to get him — but it was his stupid fucking relatives (and those who aided and abetted them) who made that scene necessary, and I blame them, not the federal authorities who had to resort to what they had to resort to. 

As Barack Obama emulates Fidel Castro’s health care system and ferries a reluctant nation toward socialism, the scenario is reminiscent of a frightened Elian Gonzalez being wrested from the arms of liberty by an out of control federal government dictated to by a liberal American president.

Free people should take a good, long look at Elian Gonzalez and observe what our nation has the potential to become 10 years down the line if, instead of moving in the opposite direction, America’s rowboat continues to inch closer to Cuba’s shores.

Actually, “Obamacare” is much, much closer to Repugnican Mitt Romney’s health care for Massachusetts than it is anything like Castro’s health care, and how in the hell do we go from Elián Gonzalez to Obama and health care and “Obamacare”? (And hasn’t the fucktarded charge of  “socialism” been so overused to the point that it’s rather meaningless now?)

The bottom line: The Elián Gonzalez case was just another example of Repugnican meddling in a private family matter in Florida for perverse political gain – just like the Terri Schiavo case was in 2005. Just as the Repugnicans in Washington passed legislation specific to Terri Schiavo (in order to get her case kicked up to the U.S. Supreme Court — which promptly refused to hear it!), the Repugnicans in D.C. tried to pass legislation specific to Elián Gonzalez to make him a U.S. citizen – because, after all, Florida is a swing state and Florida has a lot of Cuban-American voters, and the majority of them vote Repugnican because the Repugnicans hate Fidel Castro, too.

(Passing legislation for just one person is illegal, by the way. It’s called a “bill of attainder.” Check it. Not that the Repugnicans give a flying fuck about what’s legal and what’s illegal.)

And again, it wasn’t an  “out-of-control-federal government dictated to by a liberal American president” that returned Elián Gonzalez to his father — it essentially was the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to intervene on behalf of Elián’s mother’s family, just as it would later refuse to intervene in the Schiavo case — because the U.S. Supreme Court, while it picked our “president” for us in late 2000, generally refuses to get involved in family law, leaving it to the courts below it that handle family law.

But the wingnuts are No. 1 in cheesy rhetoric — to the wingnuts, Elián wasn’t returned to his father, whom he wanted to be with, but was “wrested from the arms of liberty” (try not to choke on your own vomit there), and surely it’s clear from just reading my blog that “America’s rowboat continues to inch closer to Cuba’s shores.”

I mean, shit! To paraphrase Sarah Palin-Quayle, I can see Havana from my house!

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