Sunday, September 14, 2008

Holy terrorism in the name of Democracy


It is highly disturbing to hear someone like Sarah Palin say that this war on elusive "terrorism" is the will God because terrorists threaten everything humanity and the US stands for - i.e. democracy, human rights and freedom.

"that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God."

But hold on a second. The US has become a much less free nation since Bush declared war on "terrorism" and civilian freedoms, and the enshrined right to fair trial has come undone by the very people who claim they are fighting for the world's freedom and human rights.

An article by Hesham Hassaballa in the Islamica Magazine says that secret prisons have been set up across the world where CIA can interrogate SUSPECTED terrorists with "techniques tantamount to torture (read Washington Post 2005).

In Afghanistan, the largest CIA covert prison was code-named the Salt Pit, at center left above. Source: Washington Post

The Bush administration also sought to prevent detainees from revealing details of the "alternative interrogation methods" used in these secret prisons in federal court (read Washington Post 2006).

To be fair, the US supreme court did strike down these acts and opposed the unilateral establishment of a military commission to try terror suspects. But President Bush later signed a Military Commissions Act of 2006 which made the latter legal:

"[It] establishes procedures governing the use of military commissions to try alien unlawful enemy combatants engaged in hostilities against the United States for violations of the law of war and other offenses triable by military commission."

Note - No definition for "alien unlawful enemy combatant" was given, so practically anyone who looks alien, speaks arabic, is mulsim and has a glazed over look could potentially wind up in one of their special secret cells in Guantanamo or Cuba. The lucky ones get to go to Thailand.

Hesham's article calls for a rethinking of the strategy in the war on terror. The US, not least western media should stop spreading Islamaphobia, and stop framing this war with religious lexicon.

This war is not a holy war and certainly not a war of religions. It's a symptom of oppression and economic inequality. God knows this war is keeping America's "defense" industry awash with profits. How about redirecting some of that money to creating jobs and educating people instead?

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