The last time the US government wheeled out Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the four other men accused of initiating and being involved in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 was in May this year, and, as is usual, the mainstream media turned out in force. That occasion was the formal arraignment of the men, and it was tempestuous, as the defendants largely refused to cooperate. This week, as pre-trial hearings resumed, the mainstream media also returned in force, for proceedings that largely focused on issues of secrecy and transparency.
The rest of the time, sadly, most of the mainstream media doesn’t care much about Guantánamo, even though the prison remains a national disgrace, a place where, beyond the handful of men accused of genuine involvement with terrorism, over half of the remaining 166 prisoners have been cleared for release but are still held, and 46 others are regarded as too dangerous to release, even though insufficient evidence exists to put them on trial.
that's from andy worthington's 'the 9/11 trial: torturing justice' (world can't wait). and for a change, he's not the only 1 talking about guantanamo. yesterday, it was the topic on fresh air (npr). excerpt:
TERRY GROSS: Michelle Shephard, welcome to FRESH AIR. You started covering Guantanamo because of Omar Khadr, who was a Canadian citizen who was detained in Afghanistan in 2002, after America started bombing and trying to get al-Qaida there. And he was, what, 15 when he was first taken to Guantanamo?
MICHELLE SHEPHARD: He was 15 when he was first shot and captured in Afghanistan, and he was held in Bagram for three months and interrogated there, and then he was brought to Guantanamo shortly after his 16th birthday.
GROSS: And why were you so interested in following his story?
SHEPHARD: Omar Khadr's story was huge in Canada, both because of his case, but also because of his family. It's safe to say that the Khadr family is widely despised in Canada. His father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was an Egyptian Canadian who had gone to Afghanistan at the time of the Soviet invasion to run a charity, and then stayed on and became quite close to bin Laden and al-Qaida's inner circle.
He was actually killed by Pakistani forces in 2003, and Omar Khadr's mother, sister and other siblings eventually returned to Canada, and they created a lot of controversy when they were on a documentary where they criticized Canada, and they were immediately dubbed Canada's - Canadians of convenience and Canada's first family of terrorism.
So that issue of the family hung over Omar Khadr's trial and really influenced the way Canadians and, to some extent, our government dealt with the case. But his case was fascinating in Guantanamo, as well, just because of his age. There were those that said, you know, he was a child soldier and that this would be the first prosecution of a child soldier in history, and that it set a dangerous precedent.
And then there was also the issue of his nationality. He was the last Western detainee, and Canada really the only country that didn't advocate for his release among the Western nations.
GROSS: So how well did you get to know him when you were following him in Gitmo?
SHEPHARD: Well, I mean, I've actually written about his story for 10 years, and as you said, written a book on his story, but I've never spoken with him. The Pentagon has a rule for journalists who go down to Guantanamo - actually, they have many rules, but one of the rules that they have that we have to sign to get access to the base is that we won't converse with detainees.
And this has been really awkward over the years, as we've had instances when we tour the camps, and if a detainee were to say hi to you, you actually can get kicked off the base for saying hi back. And they're quite stringent with these rules. So although I've done, you know, hundreds of interviews with people who know him, family members, the soldiers that were involved in the firefight with him, guards, interrogators, others, I've actually never spoken with him.
the interview with shephard is interesting.
what it reminded me of was not barack's broken promise to close guantanamo - though, of course, there is that. it reminded me most of how that whore jane mayer walked away from the story.
remember her? writing for 'the new yorker' during the bully boy bush years?
and then barack get's in office, and she's made herself the go-to on guantanamo but suddenly she can't cover it any more.
she's just a whore.
guantanamo should be closed. it's outrageous. but if you're jane mayer, it became okay the moment barack became president.
let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'