Lost in the Translation at Camp Delta

 

The arrest of three individuals, so far, who were stationed at Camp Delta, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, raised the question at Reuters of whether there was a spy plot that involved Syria. Reuters is not alone with its espionage fixation. The Christian Science Monitor warns US Muslims that they must “do their part by refusing to tolerate the tiny group of radicals hiding among them.” Not to be outdone by the press, Democrat Charles Schumer wrote to Rumsfeld himself, one of the key architects of the post 9-11 Security State, and demanded to know why security measures “are lax at some of our most secure military facilities.”

Since September 11, 2001, I have had to fight off the feeling that there was a second attack — far more successful than the suicide pilots — that quietly dispersed a powerful disabling agent throughout the whole country that was targeted against federal officials and all journalists who make more than $100,000 a year. This colorless, odorless, tasteless agent attacked any neurons activated during critical thought and left its victims vulnerable to mass delusion and terminal groupthink.

Hello? Anyone home? Plenty of light, but the motion sensors are unresponsive.

Camp Delta is not just a military facility.

How do people walk around all day and manage to ignore the fact that this place is a concentration camp where thousands of people have been incarcerated with all the due process and transparency of Treblinka. The Bush administration – as has been the custom of the US government for decades – exempted itself from all standards of international law, rounded all these people up, some just reaching puberty in the camp, pronounced them terrorists, and has been doing who-knows-what with them under ZERO public oversight.

Some of us left unaffected by the aforementioned disabling agent suspect that there are many things that can now never be allowed to see the light of day from Camp Delta. The Bush administration – under siege as their whole tapestry of lies begins to unravel – is waiting for another shoe to drop, and they have to know that among all those who have been required to play the role of turnkey at Guantanamo, there will be some whose conscience gets the best of them… and make this thing the Mother of all Watergates — far worse than merely outing a CIA operative out of petty revenge.

These detainees were “captured” during a series of the most ill-conceived, legally-questionable, and poorly executed operations in recent memory, if we exclude Chechnya. They were rounded up between bombing Canadians, getting pinned down for days on snowy slopes during Operation Anaconda (as if any self-respecting reptile would stay somewhere that cold), overseeing torture and mass execution in Marar-i-Sharif, and calling Spectre gunships in on wedding parties. The beat goes on in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has reconstituted itself and roams across the south in battalion sized elements with near impunity.

This is the background, and we are supposed to give the benefit of the doubt to this administration – who has trampled on the Constitution, insulted its allies, violated the UN Charter to which the United States is a signatory, been caught in at least three vast fabrications about its pretexts for invading Iraq, and is now investigating itself after a 24-hour warning all concerned who might need to shred the appropriate documents and delete incriminating emails, for the Wilson-Plame affair.

Why is no public persona asking a simple, straightforward line of questions: Were these detainees rounded up at random, held illegally, subjected to violations of their basic human rights, and transformed over time into a huge and growing political embarrassment that will have to be buried? And are these two, perhaps three, individuals – one a West Point graduate, Chaplain/Captain James Yee, and another an experienced and apparently dedicated Air Force translator, Ahmad al-Halabi, who is under suspicion for the seditious act of visiting the country of his parents’ origin – being pre-emptively locked up? Is the same US government that told us about Iraqi mushroom clouds blossoming over New York arresting these Muslim American servicemen to prevent them telling anyone just what in the hell is going on in Camp Delta? Is anyone going to ask why a list of the so-called evidence has inexplicably escaped into the public to is circulate freely in the media, while the accused are being held as tightly and silently as Manuel Noriega?

Who has the antidote that will restore us to skepticism? We’d better find it quick, because if they come for Ahmad in the morning, they might come for you in the afternoon.

STAN GOFF is the author of “Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti” (Soft Skull Press, 2000) and of the upcoming book “Full Spectrum Disorder” (Soft Skull Press, 2003). He is a member of the BRING THEM HOME NOW! coordinating committee, a retired Special Forces master sergeant, and the father of an active duty soldier. Email for BRING THEM HOME NOW! is bthn@mfso.org.

Goff can be reached at: sherrynstan@igc.org

 

Stan Goff retired from the US Army in February 1996. He is a veteran of the US occupation of Vietnam, and seven other conflict areas. His books include Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti (Soft Skull Press), Full Spectrum Disorder: The Military in the New American Century (Soft Skull Books), Borderline: Reflections on War, Sex, and Church (Cascade Books), Mammon’s Ecology: Metaphysic of the Empty Sign (Cascade Books), Tough Gynes: Violent Women in Film as Honorary Men (Cascade Books), and Smitten Gate (a novel about Afghanistan, from Club Orlov Press).

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