Archive for September, 2013


the never-ending gitmo

September 8, 2013

The Guantanamo/Fifty Shades of Grey debacle in the last couple weeks unraveled with reports in the AP and the New York Times challenging Representative Moran’s version of events. Here’s the New York Times piece:

The attorney from my previous post seems to be dead on: the book was either a joke or planted by a government agent:

“A lawyer for one of the men said that prison guards had placed a contraband copy of the book in the cell of his client, Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, only after Representative Moran’s comments appeared.”

Either way, it’s a pretty damning display of hubris and callousness on the part of prison officials. With so many eyes on Guantanamo and the attendant geopolitical and human rights concerns, you would think the people in charge would act halfway professional. How do you convince anyone fiascos like Abu Ghraib were anomalies when stuff like this keeps happening?

What I’m most interested in is how events like this redound on the current relevant context. On various social media fora, I’ve seen reams of speculative musings about America’s imminent intervention in Syria. Everything from Iraq III to oil interests to regional politics to military ineffectiveness – it seems everyone is taking a few wild swings at the truth piñata. The reality as seen from these shores, it seems, is no one really knows what the Obama administration will attempt or to what end. But alongside scattershot speculation from American sources, there is a noticeable stream of conspiracy theories from various sources, some dubious and some (shockingly) intelligent. Here are some listed on Foreign Policy magazine’s page:

I think what this points to is not that people outside the West are crazy and illogical about American intentions. Rather, I think theories like these reflect an equally appalling narrative that includes the U.S.’ admission that it orchestrated a coup in Iran or that it facilitated the use of chemical weapons in Iraq in the early 80’s – or that it is holding Muslim prisoners in legal limbo under torture-like conditions with no tenable justification for their continued detention. And for anyone who grew up in the shadow of those real conspiracies that actually happened and are still happening, their logic might lead consistently and, yes, logically, to these kinds of surreal conclusions, even if they turn out to be wrong. Because right now, who really can say with any certainty what the U.S. is trying to do with its imminent Syrian intervention or its long-term strategic plan in the Middle East?

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September 2013