Daily Archives: March 14, 2016


On Disappearing People

If you thought things had much changed under Obama, think again. There has been much publicity for the news that US forces have captured an alleged ISIS chemical weapons expert, Suleiman al-Afari. There was considerably less publicity for the news that he is being held in yet another new US black prison detention site. It is situated on the territory of the USA’s Kurdish allies in Irbil, Iraq, but was constructed and is run entirely by the US military. Many detainees have vanished into its gates. Very few, if any, have come out again.

Yet again the US is simply disappearing people into secret prisons on foreign soil. Obama has in effect maintained the Bush doctrine that “enemy combatants” are neither alleged criminals nor soldiers. They do not get the rights of alleged criminals to decent treatment and a fair trial, nor do they get the Geneva Convention rights of soldiers captured during a war. They are non-persons who can simply be pitched into a black hole.

Even if they actually are terrorists, that does not leave them devoid of rights. I would also argue that to treat terrorists other than as common criminals, deserving of formal criminal process, contributes to their glorification and gives them a status they do not deserve. But formal process is essential because we know for certain that they often pick up people who are entirely innocent.

I leave aside the argument that it is the United States which caused the collapse of Iraq and it is with Blair and Bush that the guilt ultimately lies. But I leave it aside with the comment that it is an argument deserving of much weight.

I never quite made up my mind whether Obama was a decent man who was corrupted/bullied into adopting the neo-con agenda, or whether he was a play-acting sociopath all along. I do know that Clinton is a hardened warmonger who positively relishes the notion of “enemies” being killed. She is just a sociopath; she doesn’t bother much with the acting.

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