Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Reading the news makes me angry and sad... but why can't I stop?

Every day there's no shortage of news reports that either make me want to kick some lying butthole in a custom-tailored suit - or press a red button that will consign Homo sapiens sapiens to oblivion.

Why don't I just stop monitoring the news, I ask myself? Well, it's addictive - like cigarettes, facebook, and wanking. We all suffer from one form of addiction or another - it could be nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, adrenaline, endorphins, cannabinol, crystal amphetamine, benzedrine, or ephedrine.

Usually, the anger or amusement I experience from scanning the news quickly evaporates. Often, it's enough to just leave an incisive and witty comment by way of feedback. Remember the sad old analog days when we weren't able to ventilate our immediate reactions to whatever news was fed us? What a blessing the internet has been - at least we can strike back instantly at those who annoy us (except on certain priggish news portals like The Malaysian Insider which appears to have instructed its bots to delete my comments the instant I submit them; they must have blacklisted my IP).

Anyway, I wasn't going to rabbit on about my pet gripes. What prompted me to write a new blog was this story by Murtaza Hussain I found on AlJazeera. It made me feel like reaching for the red button and putting the human race out of its misery.

Read the whole piece yourself and then ask: why does Guantanamo still exist? Why was it even built in the first place? I'll tell you why: it's because most folks who fancy themselves educated and to a certain degree enlightened continue to bandy about stupid catchphrases like "conspiracy theory" instead of seriously investigating what 9/11 was really all about - that's why!

Guantanamo Bay detention camp opened in 2002, prompted by 9/11, to imprison and torture
"suspected terrorosts" detained without trial in the aftermath of the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Chronicle of a death foretold

Two weeks ago, the Pentagon quietly released a statement that another Guantanamo detainee had died in custody, the ninth since the prison was opened in 2001. Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 32-year-old man from Yemen who had spent eleven years incarcerated, was found dead in his cell on September 8.

The cause of his death has been recorded as unknown and may never truly be known, but Latif had long suffered from feelings of extreme depression during his time in jail, having made several suicide attempts in the previous years.

Latif had long complained of abuse by prison staff and of his deteriorating physical and mental condition during his imprisonment. Two years earlier, he had written that guards "entered my cell on a regular basis. They throw me and drag me on the floor... they strangle me and press hard behind my ears until I lose consciousness". In 2009 he slit his wrists in an attempt to end his life, writing about the incident later to his lawyer to say that his circumstances in Guantanamo "make death more desirable than living".

Latif was initially captured by Pakistani bounty hunters in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks when a mixture of confusion and desire for vengeance resulted in the effective labelling of any military age Arab males found in Afghanistan and Pakistan as potential terrorists. [Read the full report here.]

"I am happy to express from this darkness and draw a true picture of the condition in which I exist. I am moving towards a dark cave and a dark life in the shadow of a dark prison. This is a prison that does not know humanity, and does not know anything except the language of power, oppression and humiliation for whoever enters it. It does not differentiate between a criminal and the innocent." ~ Guantanamo inmate Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif in a letter to his lawyer, dated December 26th, 2010

People of the world, it's time to put an end to savage misrule by evil men in dark suits who sit around boardroom tables and talk through their humanoid masks about "security" and "stability" and "dangerous anarchy."

[First posted 24 September 2012]