Backtalk, February 25, 2008


Fidel has been and is a perennial source of inspiration for all those who struggle for the emancipation of the mankind from the clutches of the world-gendarme, viz. U.S. imperialism, which, in the name of democracy and freedom, is killing and maiming tens of thousands of hapless children and civilians in the AFRO-ASIAN COUNTRIES. His steadfastness in holding on to the great ideals of SOCIALISM even after the collapse of the erstwhile Soviet Union speaks volumes about his commitment to the well-founded ideology. It’s neither he nor his predecessors like Stalin and Mao that are dictators, but it is your Bush and his ilk who want to impose their brand of Democracy and Freedom on the “Third World.” BY CARRYING AN ARTICLE LIKE THIS ON YOUR WEB PAGE YOU HAVE BESMIRCHED YOUR OWN REPUTATION AS AN ORGANIZATION FIGHTING FOR NOBLE CAUSES SUCH AS AN IMMEDIATE END TO THE U.S. OCCUPATION IN IRAQ AND ELSEWHERE.

~ A.V. Samikkannu

Eric Garris replies:

First, I don’t know what article you are referring to.

Second, if the Cuban people support this great leader, why is he afraid to have an open election or to even allow Internet access to the Cuban people? No other leader in the world has been in power so long without putting himself up to a vote.

Third, the fact that Bush is a fascist does not make Fidel better. They both belong in the dustbin of history.

It is Guantanamo Bay, not bloody “Gitmo.” I agree with the basic gist of your argument, but why do you, like so many other people in the U.S., regardless of political affiliation, feel the need to change the place names of sites in other countries? This is insulting. Likewise, Rice’s given name is Condoleezza, not “Condi.” The latter appears to be a nickname given to her by her supporters and allies from Bush down almost as a term of endearment. She is a truly despicable, corrupt, and inept person, and you ought not be using a name, however much in jest or sardonically, which acts to make her more endearing.

~ Chris Holder

Eric Garris replies:

Guantanamo Bay is the location of the U.S. base in Cuba. The nickname used to indicate the prison/base has been Gitmo for a long time. I think it is insulting to call the horrid prison “Guantanamo Bay,” when that term describes a wider area of Cuba. It is illegally occupied, and there is no reason to make it sound like the Cuban government in any way sanctions it.

Gitmo Charges

Why now? OK, here’s the drill so you can mark your calendars. These six prisoners must be convicted and executed before Bush leaves office on Jan. 20, 2009. He cannot leave any of them alive and available for direct questioning by any legal inquiry or authority trying to determine the ways they were tortured and the kinds, provability, and provenance of the evidence used against them. Of course, to execute them, they must be convicted and sentenced beforehand, preferably within the 10 days preceding the election on Nov. 4, 2008.

From August through mid-October of this year expect a series of “leaks” from the Guantanamo tribunals that reveal the horrendous number of ghastly attacks on the United States that have been prevented by an astute, pull-no-punches Bush administration. (These Islamofascists on trial, or their accomplices still at large, would have succeeded in all or almost all of these attacks on our sacred soil if the American people had been reliant for their salvation on those candy-assed, international-treaty-constrained Democrats WHO AT THIS VERY MINUTE ARE TRYING TO WIN THE PRESIDENCY AND CONTROL OF CONGRESS in the upcoming election). During the same time-frame (August-October) there may be intermittent rumors, dutifully fanned in the major American media, that bin Laden has been sighted and we are hot, hot, hot on his trail. But failing bin Laden’s capture before Nov. 4, the American public will be relieved and acquiesce at least in the conviction and condemnation of these six terrorists at Guantanamo (they ARE terrorists, aren’t they, huh? The government says so, RIGHT?). How do I, a nobody, know all of this? Because I have an IQ above 100, have recognized the cruel and perverse human potential in my own heart, read world history and the foreign press in original languages, and have watched for eight years now the unrelenting duplicity of the Bush administration, the cowardly complacency of Congress, and the abysmal and therefore CULPABLE ignorance of my fellow citizens. Just for the hell of it, mark your calendars for the rest of 2008.

~ William K. Scattergood Jr.

Andy Worthington replies:

You may be right, but I think it’s probable that the process will be inherited by the next administration. However much Bush wants to go out having achieved “closure” on 9/11, the military commissions permit the accused to be represented by lawyers, and at the moment military defense lawyers are thin on the ground. I don’t think the process can be unduly expedited. I therefore anticipate that, like every other aspect of the commissions to date, this will proceed at a snail’s pace. I maintain, however, that it’s probably worked as a PR job for center-right voters, and that it’s also meant to divert attention from the ramifications of Michael Hayden’s “confession” that the CIA waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri. Waterboarding is torture, and torture is illegal.

Andy Worthington’s reply on Gitmo is opinionated, not fact-based. Military tribunals are recognized courts. The U.S. would like to try the Gitmo detainees in a military tribunal at Gitmo. Why can’t the U.S. use this recognized court? His answer is opinionated, not fact-based. He thinks justice is served best in a civilian court. Totally opinionated.

~ Brian

Andy Worthington replies:

Military tribunals are courts recognized by whom, exactly? Congress approved their resuscitation after the Supreme Court ruled them illegal in June 2006, but, like Frankenstein’s monster, that’s no guarantee that every part is working. To continue the analogy, I suspect that the problem is with the brain. The monster was given a convict’s brain, whereas the commissions have Cheney and Addington’s. The legislation was written in a hurry on the back of a fag packet, and it’s full of holes. Why do you think we haven’t had a successful prosecution yet?

The Sanctions Trap

There is reason to suspect the Bush administration’s push to pass new Security Council sanctions against Iran is actually focused on a single provision: authorization for the inspection of sea cargo bound for Iran, which the United States would then use to create a casus belli.

Any council member wanting to prevent the outbreak of war between the United States and Iran should press for removal of this provision.

While the United States delegation has shown uncharacteristic flexibility regarding various provisions of the draft resolution, as Secretary of State Rice and other administration officials have repeatedly called for swift passage of the resolution, any suggestion to remove the inspection-of-sea-cargo provision would meet with strong United States objections, if this assessment is correct.

By proposing removal of the inspection-of-sea-cargo provision, Security Council members can better assess United States’ intentions.

~ William H. White

Misguided Theology Makes Bad Foreign Policy

Thank you for being one of the few voices making sense out of this insane situation. How do we get the Christians in America and the rest of the world to understand just how misguided the current trend of unconditional support for Israel is? I am passionate to see “all Israel” saved, just as I am to see all England saved, and all Iraq, and all Japan, and all the rest. God no longer deals with nations as a whole but with individuals. Jesus did not lay down His life for any nation, but for every individual who will trust in Him.

~ Rob Beckwith, Cornwall, England

Does Balkanization Beckon Anew?

I am always wary of parallels with 1914. There is no more danger of a war in Europe than of the Southern states seceding from the Union and seeking to reestablish slavery! In both cases, the issues has already been settled in blood. So I wouldn’t expect to see the Austrian cavalry clattering through the streets of Belgrade anytime soon!

That said, the last of the old pre-W.W.I multinational empires still largely intact is Russia and, logically, one would expect its constituent “nationalities” to seek their independence. After all, an Eskimo living on the western shore of the Bering Strait is not very “Russian”! The breakup of the Russian Federation is not necessarily a bad thing for a whole series of reasons, not least because it allows the Russians to take their place as the most numerous of all the European peoples without the diversions of empire.

~ Michael Kenny

Previous Backtalk