Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Santora on Guantanamo Prisoners in Iraq

In this morning's New York Times, Marc Santora attempts to make sense of the stories regarding the four Guanatanmo prisoners allegedly released to Iraq in "Iraq Says It Is Interrogating 4 Men Returned by U.S. From Guantanamo Prison" -- and does a better job of it than any outlet thus far. Wijdan Mikhail Salim (Human Rights Minister) confirms Iraq has received the four, Santora uses Human Rights Watch to provide the names: Hassan Abudl Said, Arkan Mohammad Ghafil al-Karim, Abbas Habid Rumi al-Naely and Ali Abdul Motalib Awayd Hassan al-Tayeea. The paper speaks with the sister of the first man (Hassan Abudl Said) and she (Nada Abdul Hadi Said) tells them she hasn't seen her brother since "1999 when he was drafted into the Iraqi Army" but began hearing from him after the Red Cross told the family in 2004 that "he was a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay."

It's a short article but it works hard to ferret out as much verifiable truth as possible. And, in case you didn't notice, big step forward -- there's no nonsense about 'detainees.' The word prisoner -- the correct term -- is used throughout.

What happens to them now? It's Iraq. Even saying they go through the 'justice' system doesn't answer that question.

Meanwhile, Andrew Malcolm, please, no drinking and blogging. Malcolm wasn't drinking when he blogged yesterday at Top of the Ticket (Los Angeles Times' political blog) which is actually a shame because this paragraph could be appreciated more had he been a little tipsy:

But it's one couched in a printed news release (no video to compete on-air with the signing -- scroll down for the full statement text and the Republicans' positive response) as part of the promised Iraq pulldown. That story will not be No. 1 on TV tonight or tomorrow. Not accidental timing.

I do love the parentheticals but let's pull it because it's confusing the statement: "But it's one couched in a printed news release as part of the promised Iraq pulldown." Iraq's not mentioned in the news release. Again, had he been knocking back a few, it would have allowed for more entertainment/enjoyment. Afghanistan is the topic of the press release, Iraq's not mentioned once. (Malcolm attaches the press release -- in full -- you can check for yourself.)

Ross Colvin's "US to decide in weeks, 'not months' on Iraq troop cuts" (Reuters) tells us an unnamed administration source has declared the decision of what Barack plans to do about "cutting troop levels in Iraq" will come "in weeks, not 'days or months'." Rebecca noted that last night. As pointed out most recently in the Feb. 6th snapshot, what to do was supposedly already settled, that campaign 'promise' which included him initiating upon being sworn in. But his Cult never holds him accountable. A bunch of mental midgets, shameful mental midgets.

But, hey, they can keep living like hormonal teenagers because it's not as if the Iraq War destroys anyone's lives, right? No Iraqis are destroyed, no Americans, no one, right? Get your ya-yas, Naomi Klein because that's all that matters. Reality from Gregory Smith's "R.I. soldier charged in Iraqi murder" (Providence Journal):

An Army sergeant from Providence is charged with complicity in the murder of four prisoners after a combat patrol in Iraq in 2007.
Sgt. Charles L. Quigley, 28, a lifelong city resident whose parents live in Mount Pleasant, is accused of knowing in advance that some of his fellow soldiers intended to kill the Iraqi prisoners, and he is charged with conspiracy to commit premeditated murder.
"These charges are not viable. He's not guilty," Pamela Quigley, the sergeant's mother, said last night in an interview in the living room of the cottage his parents share.

Carlos notes John Pilger's "Hollywood's New Censors" (Information Clearing House):

With honourable exceptions, film critics rarely question this and identify the true power behind the screen. Obsessed with celebrity actors and vacuous narratives, they are the cinema's lobby correspondents, its dutiful press corps. Emitting safe snipes and sneers, they promote a deeply political system that dominates most of what we pay to see, knowing not what we are denied. Brian de Palma's 2007 film Redacted shows an Iraq the media does not report. He depicts the homicides and gang-rapes that are never prosecuted and are the essence of any colonial conquest. In the New York Village Voice, the critic Anthony Kaufman, in abusing the "divisive" De Palma for his "perverse tales of voyeurism and violence", did his best to taint the film as a kind of heresy and to bury it.
In this way, the "war on terror" -- the conquest and subversion of resource rich regions of the world, whose ramifications and oppressions touch all our lives – is almost excluded from the popular cinema. Michael Moore's outstanding Fahrenheit 911 was a freak; the notoriety of its distribution ban by the Walt Disney Company helped to force its way into cinemas. My own 2007 film The War on Democracy, which inverted the "war on terror" in Latin America, was distributed in Britain, Australia and other countries but not in the United States. "You will need to make structural and political changes," said a major New York distributor. "Maybe get a star like Sean Penn to host it -- he likes liberal causes -- and tame those anti-Bush sequences."
During the cold war, Hollywood's state propaganda was unabashed. The classic 1957 dance movie, Silk Stockings, was an anti-Soviet diatribe interrupted by the fabulous footwork of Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire. These days, there are two types of censorship. The first is censorship by introspective dross. Betraying its long tradition of producing gems, escapist Hollywood is consumed by the corporate formula: just make 'em long and asinine and hope the hype will pay off. Ricky Gervais is his clever comic self in Ghost Town, while around him stale, formulaic characters sentimentalise the humour to death.
These are extraordinary times. Vicious colonial wars and political, economic and environmental corruption cry out for a place on the big screen. Yet, try to name one recent film that has dealt with these, honestly and powerfully, let alone satirically.. Censorship by omission is virulent. We need another Wall Street, another Last Hurrah, another Dr. Strangelove. The partisans who tunnel out of their prison in Gaza, bringing in food, clothes, medicines and weapons with which to defend themselves, are no less heroic than the celluloid-honoured POWs and partisans of the 1940s. They and the rest of us deserve the respect of the greatest popular medium.

For another example of the attacks on Brian De Palma's amazing film, you can see "Fred Kaplan falls off his pony."

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