Happy "Reichstag Fire" Day

    Heather McNamara: Veronica, what're you doing tonight?
    Veronica Sawyer:     I don't know, mourning, maybe watch some TV. Why?

Let us reflect, shall we?

  • If you, an American citizen, are accused -- not convicted, accused -- of something our fearless leaders class as "terrorism," you may spend the next few decades rotting in a wire box without ever getting a trial, and possibly without ever speaking to a lawyer:

    Rumsfeld Says Terror Suspects Will Be Held:

    Rumsfeld said the 660 or so men held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base are imprisoned not as punishment but "to keep them from going back and fighting again and killing people." He said most would be held until the global war on terrorism is over -- a fight that Rumsfeld has said could last years, if not decades.

    The defense secretary said he expects some suspects to be tried before military tribunals but prefers that most continue to be imprisoned indefinitely.

  • Feel the CAPPS II love:

    Details can be found here, but to summarize, if you if you book a ticket through Galileo, the company will send your information to the federal government, which will then open up a file on you, run a criminal background check, and determine, based on whatever information you've accumulated, if you're a "threat." They will then assign you a threat color for when you get to the airport. If you're "Green," then you'll pass through security as normal. "Yellows" will undergo additional background checks. "Reds" will never be allowed to fly again.

    The government isn't legally obligated to tell you how you've been classified or why. The Transportation Security Administration doesn't even require that any of the private databases they use to "screen" people contain accurate information, just as the Justice Department has exempted their warrant database from being accurate.

  • This War on Terrorism is Bogus: a good summary, though this article doesn't say anything I haven't read before -- but it is notable in that it appeared in the mainstream British press, and was written by a Member of Parliment and former Minister. On this side of the Atlantic, this sort of thing seems to still be considered "crackpot conspiracy theory."

    Before [Cheney/Rumsfeld's "Project for the New American Century" document] is dismissed as an agenda for rightwing fantasists, it is clear it provides a much better explanation of what actually happened before, during and after 9/11 than the global war on terrorism thesis. [...]

    The PNAC blueprint of September 2000 states that the process of transforming the US into "tomorrow's dominant force" is likely to be a long one in the absence of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor". The 9/11 attacks allowed the US to press the "go" button for a strategy in accordance with the PNAC agenda which it would otherwise have been politically impossible to implement. [...]

    In late September and early October 2001, leaders of Pakistan's two Islamist parties negotiated Bin Laden's extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for 9/11. However, a US official said, significantly, that "casting our objectives too narrowly" risked "a premature collapse of the international effort if by some lucky chance Mr Bin Laden was captured".

  • Update: A rare mention of such issues in the US press:
    Why Don't We Have Answers To These 9/11 Questions?

    No event in recent history has been written about, talked about, or watched and rewatched as much as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. [...] So, why after 730 days do we know so little about what really happened that day?

    No one knows where the alleged mastermind of the attack is, and none of his accomplices has been convicted of any crime. We're not even sure if the 19 people identified by the U.S. government as the suicide hijackers are really the right guys. [...] There are dozens of unanswered questions about the 2001 attacks, but we've narrowed them down to 20...

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16 Responses:

  1. saraphale says:

    Scary stuff, particularly that last article. I'd not read most of that before.

  2. king_mob says:

    From the Guardian article:

    It is also reported that five of the hijackers received training at secure US military installations in the 1990s (Newsweek, September 15 2001).

    Okay, that I hadn't fucking heard.

    When operatives turn against their sponsors, it tends to mean something really big has happened. We're not talking "anger against the Great Satan" here.

  3. pjammer says:

    A moment of levity, courtesey of Maddox BOMB IRAN.

    and a more serious essay on the peculiar circumstances immediately around 9-11, courtesey of yours truely written eleven days after 9-11-01. :)

  4. unabomber says:

    Re the "if you, an American citizen" part... are there actually any American citizens at JTF GTMO? I thought all of the detainees were citizens of other countries, therefore avoiding any possibility that it is an American prison where American justice is served.


    • jwz says:

      Who decides whether any U.S. citizen is an 'enemy combatant'?

      "The government asserts that domestic courts have no authority to question the military's determination that a citizen is an enemy combatant. Yet the consequence of such a determination is that the citizen may not be entitled to all of the procedural protections of the Bill of Rights. These include the right to a lawyer, the right against self-incrimination, and the right not to be held indefinitely without being charged with a crime.

      If the government's view prevails, and it alone decides who is an enemy combatant, then there is nothing to stop it from declaring anyone -- you, me or Tom Daschle -- an enemy combatant who can be detained indefinitely without trial."

    • flipzagging says:

      The original draft of the VICTORY act, aka Patriot II, would have allowed the Justice Department to strip you of your citizenship if you are deemed to have associated with a subversive group. Problem solved!

      Aside -- I've noticed that even anti-Bush Americans implicitly accept the idea that the justice system can treat a non-citizen differently. This is the loophole that gives Ashcroft tools like 'designated enemy combatant'. But rights are rights, aren't they? Your Constitution specifically doesn't make any distinction there.

      • waider says:

        I'm not clear on what the standpoint re: the Bill or Rights is, but from previously digging around on the topic, the "enemy combatants" are covered by the Geneva Convention which has a specific clause stating that you can't unilaterally declare someone not to be covered by the Geneva Convention, i.e. you can't say they're "illegal combatants" and thus exempt from protection. There are some qualifiers within the Convention for determining if someone is a legitimate combatant or not, but IIRC from my previous digging, the only one that could conceiveably apply to the Guantanamo inmates is that they're not legitimate combatants if the events in Afghanistan did not constitute a war.

        Maybe it was a police action.

  5. This is why I can't listen to NPR anymore without screaming at my radio and flipping it off. And they don't even bring up a lot of the "fringe" stuff.

    But then I finally got a copy of Kompressor "Want to Get With You" and suddenly every things seems to be just a little bit better.

  6. lovingboth says:

    Michael Meacher is still an MP - he's a former Minister ie Blair picked him to be in the cabinet and run a department (the environment, in this case).

    What I'd like to know is how many other hijackings didn't result in fighters being scrambled.

    • cannery says:

      It's sad but from what I've read of comments about Meacher in the UK press, he lacks credibility. He has this in common with most ex-ministers, with the exception of Geoffrey Howe whose part in Thatchers' downfall is not to be denied. Who would pay attention to him now, though?

      It's wierd but I keep thinking of parallels btn 9/11 and "The Watchmen".

  7. bwooce says:

    GTB is a "war crime" in the making. Its not a jail, its a point of incarceration for abitrary individuals who have no representation in the US to make a fuss.

    People make mistakes, and governments make more. There is apparently nothing to stop the US Govt. declaring me a terrorist and taking me there. Hell they don't even need to declare it, they just disappear me.

    Scary stuff.

    I note (with interest) that I'm not supposed to smile on my passport photo anymore. Apparently the facial recognition software, to be used to match me against my stored bio-metric profile in my password, is assisted by this. Golly.

    So from now on, if you see someone smiling in the street then you should obviously report them as a terrorist as they're just trying to defeat the software. Clever bastards.