Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Innocent until Proven Stupid

Mamdouh Habib was arrested while crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan three weeks after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the US. Ultimately he ended up at Guantanemo Bay where he was in custody until yesterday. It was announced he was to be released from custody as the US determined it did not have enough evidence to successfully prosecute him.

Obviously this is good news to critics of American policy as suggested by this Australian Indy Media Article, (Media Release) Mamdouh Habib: Free at Last, Free at Last, Free at Last!
Mr Habib has been released not as a result of the Howard Government’s intervention but because his imprisonment and torture have become an embarrassment to the US Administration.
Judicial process notwithstanding, therefore, the logic goes, if 'the world' (i.e. Indy Media's ego) continues to embarrass the US Administration, the other prisoners will be released as well? Of course. The 'media release' goes on:
The Free Hicks and Habib Campaign will continue until David Hicks is released and repatriated, and Guantanamo Bay is closed and all prisoners released.
That is, all prisoners.

Including Taliban leaders and well-known terror suspects, also at Guantanemo Bay.

They must be so pleased to have Indy Media's support...All of them.

Is there anyone at Indy Media who believes, just for a second, that there are actually bad people in the world (you know, besides Jews and Americans)?

And another thing, speaking of torture, it is alleged that:
At the end of October 2001 Mr Habib was flown to Egypt aand imprisoned there for just under six months. In the affidavit he alledges he was subjected to horrific torture by his captors.

"Mr Habib, always handcuffed and sometimes suspended from hooks on the wall, was kicked, punched, beaten with a stick, and rammed with what can only be described as an electric cattle prod," it said. "If he lapsed into unconsciousness, they would revive him and continue the beatings."

Habib alleged he was suspended from hooks on the wall of his cell with his feet resting on a large drum. An electrical current flowed into the drum from wires which appeared to be attached to a battery. If he didn't give the answers his captors wanted they threw a switch and a jolt of electricity would run through the drum, which effectively forced him to dance on the drum.
He was also threatened with German shepherd dogs; placeed in one of three rooms which was gradually filled with water, leaving only his head exposed; and forced to stand on tiptoe for hours
Of course this didn't happen under American troops in Guantanemo Bay (where torture is generally confined to getting naked and having cheerleading practice), but in Egypt, where it is claimed the Americans flew him prior to his transfer to Guantanemo Bay. Now we only have a disputed affidavit to go by, but if the torture did happen as described and America is sanctioning it, than criticism is quite reasonable. However, it's interesting to note that no one on Indy Media is remotely worried about Egyptian torture, any more than they'd be worried about Saudi beheadings, Taliban executions or Palestinian suicide-bombings.

I mean that's just the Arab World right? All of that pales by comparison to Americans following judicial process in a war on terror.

Update: I've been reading various Aussie news sources to follow this whole torture issue and Indy Media's spin on it. Professor Bunyip (Bunyip is a mythical Australian creature) saw similar anti-Government efforts in the mainstream media as well and writes:
Here's the headline: Australian 'saw Habib assaulted and kidnapped'.

And here's the first paragraph:

An Australian Government official in Pakistan witnessed the assault and kidnapping of Australian Mamdouh Habib to Egypt, where he was tortured, according to a document filed in a US court.

An unimpeachable source, that court document, eh? Must be true, then. Mamdouh Habib really did get smacked around. Damn Yanks. Rotten Howard.

But hang on, who exactly is the source? In the third paragraph we finally find out. Why, golly gosh, none other than Habib himself!

In other words, and in a better newspaper, the story would have begun something like this:

Lawyers for Mamdouh Habib today repeated their client's allegation that he was thumped after being taken into custody near the Pakistan-India border during the US-led military campaign to oust the Taleban.

Mamoud claims to have gone to the war zone on a journey of Islamic self-discovery and to find a religious school for his young son to attend.
One of the subsequent comments summed it up:
Gee, Professor, I don't see why this guy isn't believable. I am not a father but if I were looking for a nice, religious school for my child to attend, a school in a war zone would certainly be someplace to consider carefully.

Besides, although I'm not a father I am a lawyer and I can assure you that you can take Habib's submission as gospel truth, so to speak. No one would even think of submitting a document to any court that did not represent the unvarnished, absolute truth. And no lawyer would even consider representing something to a court that he did not know for certain represented the exact and complete truth; I don't know about your lawyers in Oz. Why, are you suggesting that anyone might deliberately try to mislead a court? How cynical.
I doubt you'll see similar analysis on Indy Media where any anti-US or anti-Western antagonist is innocent no matter how bad their deeds are. Now... About releasing all the other terrorists...

Rah Rah sis boom bah, Yaaaaaaaay U S A!!!!!
I'm probably going to burn in hell for that, but it felt SOOOOO good!
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