On Disappearing People 98


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.


98 thoughts on “On Disappearing People

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  • Chris Jones

    I’m sorry Craig but having concern about disappearing people is obviously racist

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    The more important disappearances have been the holding of leaders of the Libyan Fighting Group, Anas al-Libi and Ahmed Abu Khattala, until they die rather than trying them as it would open the whole can of warms about MI6 and CIA letting them kill Yale student Suzanne Joivin for exposing the renewed Al-Qaeda attack on the WTC about which they did nothing until it happened on 9/11.

    Her murder still remains unsolved,

  • Ando

    “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”

    Internment doesn’t work anyway – just look at Northern Ireland. It’s an undisputed fact of history that locking up suspects without trial was a massive recruiter for the IRA. Yet, if you try saying that internment doesn’t work these days you’re branded a “terrorist sympathiser” even though the former head of MI5 agrees that UK govt policy has caused angry people to become radicalised.

  • John Goss

    The United States is totally off the rails with its prison mentality. There is worse to come. At the moment most of those imprisoned are Muslims, mostly without charge or trial. Nobody knows exactly how many black sites there are, how fast they are being built, or what the end purpose is (though a few can make a guess). Every time I raise the issue about FEMA prisons some (who I credit in general with more intelligence) are ready with all guns blazing to shoot me down. Even if the stories of FEMA prisons turn out to be false I am glad I raised the issue. So few in Nazi Germany were prepared to speak out about the concentration camps and the rest of the educated populace believed, like so many here, that they did not exist.

    Do not think for a minute that the evil beings in power in the US would have any compunction about killing people who do not agree with or believe in their proposed enslavement of society (what I suspect the purpose is). I see it not just in the wrongful imprisonment and mistreatment of people like Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/12/babar-ahmad-jihad-bosnia-us-police-interview?

    I see this judgement without trial taking part all over the world, all the time, with drone strikes. Drones rarely kill their intended target (who has had no trial) but even when they do they also kill nearly twenty times as many people (including women and children) who are not the targets. The United States is a country without morals. The UK is a petro-dollar colony. One day somebody in government will wake up and say we should not be following this evil pathway. Till then it is left to academics like Professor Marjorie Cohn – who is clearly not a Zionist.

    http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/35159-who-is-the-us-killing-with-drones

  • Charlie

    Playacting. We lived in Massachusetts at the time of the 2007 presidential campaign when everyone but a few lone voices went bonkers over Obama. One of those lone voices was a journalist in the New Yorker calling him an opportunist. It certainly made me question his motives and today I feel those suspicions were more than justified.

    The election campaign was then badly misreported in the UK, which we couldn’t help but notice when we moved back here right in the middle of it, with the UK MSM choosing to portray outgoing president Bush as a bumbling idiot incapable of stringing two coherent sentences together and Obama as the shining light of all right-minded people. And we had seen debates and events where both came across very differently. So now I am constantly questioning the election campaign and US news reports I see on TV – they certainly do not show us the full picture.

  • Habbabkuk (for fact-based, polite, rational and obsession-free posting)

    Ando

    “Internment doesn’t work anyway – just look at Northern Ireland.”
    _________________

    Especially not if the people you should be interning manage to evade it (as happened in N.I.).

    However, internment was used on and off by the govt of the Republic of Ireland from the 1930s to the 1970s, coinciding with the various outbreaks of IRA terrorist activity during that period.

    It was highly successful.

  • Habbabkuk (for fact-based, polite, rational and obsession-free posting)

    Mr Goss

    “Do not think for a minute that the evil beings in power in the US would have any compunction about killing people who do not agree with or believe in their proposed enslavement of society (what I suspect the purpose is)..”
    _____________________

    You like to pass yourself off as an educated, thinking person but you are unable to see how stuff like the above devalues and discredits more meritorious points you make.

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    Eisenhower did a similar thing with German POWs after the end of the Second World war. He redesignated them DEF which stood for Disarmed Enemy Forces. It meant he could herd them all in terrible camps along the Rhine and deny access to the Red Cross and deny them their rights under the Geneva Convention. Hundreds of thousands were kept in barbed wire camps with out shelter, beds or medicine. Rations were desperately meagre and they died like flies, even drinking their own urine a hundred yards from the Rhine because there was no water.

    Said one:

    The latrines were just logs flung over ditches next to the barbed wire fences. To sleep, all we could do was to dig out a hole in the ground with our hands, then cling together in the hole. . . . Because of illness, the men had to defecate on the ground. Soon, many of us were too weak to take off our trousers first. So our clothing was infected, and so was the mud where we had to walk and sit and lie down. There was no water at all at first, except the rain. . . .

    Hollywood hasn’t made a movie about it yet.

    Montgomery had not truck with it and when camps passed into British hands conditions improved overnight:

    ‘Finally, in June 1945, Liebich’s camp at Rheinberg passed to British control. Immediately, survivors were given food and shelter and for those like Liebich—who now weighed 97 pounds and was dying of dysentery—swift medical attention was provided. “It was wonderful to be under a roof in a real bed,” the corporal reminisced. “We were treated like human beings again. The Tommies treated us like comrades.”

  • nevermind, mental health is a burning issue

    Not just Eisenhower, KOWN, the allies ‘lost’ some 300.000 absolutely emaciate German PoW’s, they were kept in holes they dug themselves and lived on starvation rations.
    The documentation was shredded after the war, bar one source, the red Cross in Geneva who has deemed the reports a secret, nobody was ever to find out about it.

    They died of starvation, pneumonia and their injuries received.

    It was the allies Britain France and the US who committed this war crime, but hey, they were the victors and we all know how the Americans like to dish out revenge, they have form, mind, so have the British.

  • John Goss

    Here are some more people (children) about to be vanished by our ally Saudi Arabia for protesting against the Saudi government. Even Resident Dissident has condemned the Saudi government so it must be really bad. Please sign this petition to Cameron. I know he has no heart but he might have brain enough to see that if many people are opposed to these executions they might remember him if he does not intervene at the next election.

    https://reprieve.bsd.net/page/s/StopSaudiExecutions

  • John Goss

    KOWN and Nevermind, these camps are bi-products of war. Prisoners are a drain on soldiers priorities of keeping themselves alive. All countries see prisoners as being lower down the tree of need. Guilt lies more with the warmongers who sit in offices and dictate the course of war regardless. That applies equally to the so-called “war on terror” which has permitted so many Acts designed to take away freedom and the basic right of habeas corpus. The time has long-passed for people to petition their MPs to get these Acts repealed. There are so many of them it is difficult to know which to tackle first. I would go for the Inquiries Act (2005) which enabled ill-qualified judges like Sir Robert Owen to act as coroner in the Litvinenko farce. It was introduced to replace the need for an coroner’s inquest as a result of the Hutton Inquiry into Dr David Kelly’s death (which was technically illegal).

  • Kempe

    ” It was the allies Britain France and the US who committed this war crime ”

    An oversight I’m sure but you’ve omitted an important ally from the list. The Soviet Union held around 3 million German PoWs of whom somewhere between 300,000 to 1 million died from starvation, disease and overwork during and after the war, the last not being released until 1956.

  • John Goss

    As to the ‘captured’ chemical weapons expert, Sleiman Daoud al-Afari, there is something in the Guardian report which does not quite add up. Iraq I recall was blamed for chemical attacks on the Kurds and this was used as one reason to go to war. However with more recent chemical attacks against Kurds the finger appears to point in the direction of Saudi Arabia or Turkey. As the US is so full of shit it is safer not to believe anything and it is quite likely that secular Iraq before the Bush-Blair invasion had nothing to do with these attacks. Remember the Yanks tried to blame Assad for similar chemical weapons attacks against his own people!

    Whether Sleiman Daoud al-Afari is guilty I do not know. What I do know is there is a story about the “boy who cried wolf” and the Yanks have cried wolf so often that even if they are right on this occasion none but the indoctrinated and loyal trolls would believe it. It’s the Yanks the world needs to get of its back. That’s where the problem lies.

  • bevin

    “Do not think for a minute that the evil beings in power in the US would have any compunction about killing people who do not agree with or believe in their proposed enslavement of society (what I suspect the purpose is)..”
    _____________________

    ‘You like to pass yourself off as an educated, thinking person but you are unable to see how stuff like the above devalues and discredits more meritorious points you make.’

    An interesting conjuncture this: the first comment, by John Goss seems perfectly reasonable. Though, of course, attempts to refute it can be made. If that were attempted the result would be an opinion enriched by criticism. Which is the basic process in education.

    The second comment, from ‘Habbakkuk’ consists entirely of ad hominem insults aimed at Mr Goss’s personality, and snobberies.

    The truth is that, by the metrics we normally employ, the US government is exceedingly evil and given to deeds that any ‘educated, thinking person’ (and the two are as Habbakkuk daily demonstrates by no means necessarily the same thing, he being educated enough to make arguments that no thinking person could possibly live with) would categorise as evil.

    What Habbakkuk is really saying is that one doesn’t charge the US government with being evil, because it is powerful enough to define what is evil (barrel bombs dropped by the Syrian Air Force) and what is acceptable in the eyes of decent, educated, thinking people (cluster bombs in the Yemen.)

    Anyone doubting the evil of the US government can visit Counterpunch:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/14/exposing-the-libyan-agenda-a-closer-look-at-hillarys-emails/

    and
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/14/right-out-in-plain-sight-dona-hillary-and-the-clinton-cartel/

    The smokescreen behind which the crimes of Imperialism, from Diego Garcia to Papua New Guinea, are committed consists of little more than airy dismissals of the evident, on the one hand. On the other, popular deference to the tone and the sharp affectation of confidence, with which Imperialism’s voluntary PR men pooh-pooh the very notion that their masters can (and frequently do) do wrong.

    there is a review in the current LRB (RICHARD J. EVANS:Hitler’s Aristocratic Go-Betweens) which anyone who doubts that the most extraordinarily evil policies can find urbane and plausible apologists among the most educated and successful of people (Heidegger, King Edward VIII), will find interesting.
    The reality is that the basis of all evil policies lies in the collusion of respectable, educated, successful and influential people who purchase their comfort by turning blind eyes to criminality and pretending that what is beyond any doubt is unproven.

    Better to be an uneducated, illiterate, broken down drunkard than an apologist for fascists and bullies.

  • bevin

    This person has not disappeared but his death is being, by the familiar process of rumour mongering, half truth telling and other distortions, added to the crimes which Vladimir, the Ripper, Putin is held to be blameworthy.

    http://johnhelmer.net/
    MIKHAIL LESIN’S CORPSE PRESS-GANGED FOR INFOWAR BY VICTORIA NULAND

    I recommend it to Mr Goss and Habbakkuk.

  • bevin

    “However, internment was used on and off by the govt of the Republic of Ireland from the 1930s to the 1970s, coinciding with the various outbreaks of IRA terrorist activity during that period.

    “It was highly successful.”

    Habbabkuk adds the Blueshirts to the list of fascists he applauds. We are very close to Bingo!

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Bevin
    14/03/16 2:37pm

    Just to clarify. The review in the LRB is by Richard J. Evans and is of Go-Betweens for Hitler by Karina Urbach. A number of my friends on Facebook were shocked recently when I endorsed this and other evidences that the former King of England and his wife were enthusiastic Nazi sympathisers.

    Kind regards,

    John

  • Smoove Bush

    The US government knows perfectly well that disappearance is a per se violation of the Convention Against Torture but the government is content to continue the widespread and systematic crime against humanity of its black sites. The external pressure continues,

    http://www.ushrnetwork.org/our-work/project/cat-convention-against-torture

    Nobody has any illusions about Obama by now. Before he even took office he knuckled under to his CIA bosses

    http://warisacrime.org/content/insider-tells-why-obama-chose-not-prosecute-torture

    Obama presided over the torture of Gulet Mohamed in 2010 and the torture of Chelsea Manning the following year. In retirement Obama should plan on painting puppies safe at home like Bush. In technical terminology Obama is hostis humani generis.

  • Old Mark

    ‘However, internment was used on and off by the govt of the Republic of Ireland from the 1930s to the 1970s, coinciding with the various outbreaks of IRA terrorist activity during that period.

    It was highly successful.’

    Habba- During the 1956-62 IRA insurgency internment was applied both north and south of the border- and it did indeed work, but the ham fisted attempt by a Stormont administration on its last legs in August 1971 to apply it within their jurisdiction, when there was no chance that the Jack Lynch government in the south would reciprocate, was clearly a disaster.

    ‘Habbabkuk adds the Blueshirts to the list of fascists he applauds. We are very close to Bingo!’

    Bevin- A Fine Gael government (ie ‘blueshirts’ in your view), led by John A Costello, was in power when the IRA border campaign began in 1956- but when de Valera won the Irish election in March 1957 he didn’t reverse their decision on internment, which he viewed as valid a countermeasure to the IRA campaign.

    The earlier use of internment south of the border (during the 1939-45 ’emergency’, as the Irish called it) was also at the instigation of Fianna Fail and de Valera, and not the ‘blueshirts’ of Fine Gael.

    Habba could also have mentioned another successful use of internment by a western government last century- Pierre Trudeau’s utilisation of the War Measures Act against Quebecqois separatists in Canada in 1970-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_Crisis

    However in neither the Irish or Canadian examples were those imprisoned without trial kept incommunicado for long periods, in third countries where serious torture (as opposed to ‘ill treatment’) is likely to be routine. So in that sense Habba’s invocation of these ‘succesful’ uses of internment is not a valid comparison.

  • Rehmat

    In modern western imperialism, anyone who resists foreign terrorist states occupying his homeland is labeled “terrorists”.

    America’s “extraordinary rendition” program is carried out in 54 foreign countries.

    Suleiman Daoud al-Afari who allegedly was Saddam Hussein’ ‘chemical expert’ is as phony as the ISIS being Islamist terrorist group. Saddam Hussein was provided with chemical weapons by the US and some of its European allies during 8-year Iraq’s war on Iran. When the US occupation forces couldn’t find the so-called Iraqi WMDs in 2003 – NYT, WP, WSJ, CNN, Fox News, etc. had claimed that they’re smuggled to Syria.

    In May 2004, Sen. Ernest Hollings also acknowledged that Iraq was attacked to “secure Israel” and “every body knows that“.

    Iraq’s separatist Kurdistan was created by United States for Israel. Israel is home to over 50,000 Kurd Jews.

    On August 20, 2012, Elizabeth Blade posted a 3-part article at ‘Israel Today’, entitled, ‘Quest for an Independent (Israel-friendly?) Kurdistan‘. She claims that the Arab Spring has destabilized the Arab world while pitting Muslims against fellow Muslims. This has provided a golden opportunity for the US to use unhappy Kurdish communities in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran in their aspirations (just like Jews) to have and independent homeland of their own. During US occupation of Iraq, Israel has already succeeded in creating an Israel-friendly autonomous Kurdish region (KRG) in southern Iraq.

    https://rehmat1.com/2012/09/04/eretz-israel-friendly-kurdistan/

  • Doug Scorgie

    Habbabkuk (for fact-based, polite, rational and obsession-free posting)

    14 Mar, 2016 – 1:00 pm

    “However, internment was used on and off by the govt of the Republic of Ireland from the 1930s to the 1970s, coinciding with the various outbreaks of IRA terrorist activity during that period.”
    “It was highly successful.”
    …………………………………………………………………….

    Can you offer some links or references for that statement Habbabkuk I can’t seem to find anything on the internet about it?

    Surely you wouldn’t have made it up?

  • bevin

    This poor guy is in hospital. And his boss is trying to finish him off.
    http://journal-neo.org/2016/03/14/effort-to-silence-cia-assets-begins-with-tarkhan-batirashvili/

    Old Mark you are right, of course about Fianna Fail and Trudeau. Interestingly enough I knew lots of people who were picked up, under the War Measures Act, in 1970. And none of them could be described as Quebec Separatists, most of them were trade unionists, some of whom were Communists.
    My guess is that the James Cross kidnapping was connected with the RCMP who, at the time, were engaged in sabotage actions against, inter alia, the Cuban Embassy.

    Those who follow Trudeau and Canada, from a distance will enjoy this blog today
    http://angryarab.blogspot.ca/
    The Angry Arab News Service: read it every day!.

  • RobG

    Craig said: “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 go for the sociopath. Obama came out of Chicago politics, which is, arguably, the most corrupt in America.

    They tried the ‘first black American president’ to assuage the masses, and in a similar vein now we are going to have the ‘first woman president’.

    Stop the world. I want to get off.

  • bevin

    Old Mark. My reference to the Blue Shirts, anachronistic as it is, was to their Civil War activities. Frank O’Connor wrote a great short story about being imprisoned, by the Free State government, on suspicion of being a supporter of De Valera and the IRA.

  • Habbabkuk (for fact-based, polite, rational and obsession-free posting)

    KOWN (13h08)

    What you wrote has been said before on here (several times).

    We have also read, on here, how the British tortured various Nazi bigwigs (eg the onetime commandant of Auschwitz).

    All very interesting and good for a (very) retrospective swipe at the US and UK but…..what exactly is your point?

  • Old Mark

    “It was highly successful.”

    What leads you to assert that ?

    Macky- The statement released by the IRA in 1962 as good as admitted that the campaign was a failure militarily, whilst politically the Sinn Fein vote in the 1961 Irish election was, in percentage trems, about half what they acheived in the 1957 election (6% as opposed to 3%).

    Essentially, the record shows that internment in western countries has been ‘successful’ when the governments instigating it enjoy widespread public support for its use. This cannot however be used as an argument in favour of a western government instigating an act of ‘extraordinary rendition’ against a foreign national, and then consigning him to black prison detention site in a third country, as has happened to al-Afari

  • Habbabkuk (for fact-based, polite, rational and obsession-free posting)

    Bevin

    ““Do not think for a minute that the evil beings in power in the US would have any compunction about killing people who do not agree with or believe in their proposed enslavement of society (what I suspect the purpose is)..”
    _____________________

    ‘You like to pass yourself off as an educated, thinking person but you are unable to see how stuff like the above devalues and discredits more meritorious points you make.’

    An interesting conjuncture this: the first comment, by John Goss seems perfectly reasonable.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    That’s where we differ, Bevin. It is not perfectly reasonable, it is conspiracy theory anti-American garbage.

    *************************

    “The second comment, from ‘Habbakkuk’ consists entirely of ad hominem insults aimed at Mr Goss’s personality, and snobberies.”
    _________________

    Not at all. It is Mr Goss who has on several occasions reminded us of his university level studies.

    As for snobbery,n I’m merely pointing out that a higher education (or wide reading for that matter) does not guarantee intelligent posting and discourse, nor the ability to avoid making very foolish statements.

  • Habbabkuk (for fact-based, polite, rational and obsession-free posting)

    Bevin

    “Better to be an uneducated, illiterate, broken down drunkard than an apologist for fascists and bullies.”
    __________________

    Are you referring to RobG or yourself there.

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