American Thanksgiving and our Afghan winter; Afghan vigilers’ telephone conversation with Amy Goodman
To our American friends, have a meaningful and warm Thanksgiving!
We especially thank Douglas Mackey and Dennis Mills for the tele-conversation we had with students of Olympia High School and Evergreen State College, as well as Amy Goodman for speaking to us in our Afghan silence.
11/23/09 – Tea-party prankster Robert Erickson – who last week infiltrated a right-wing “Tea Party Against Amnesty” at the Minnesota State Capitol, attempted to turn himself in for self-deportation at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Bloomington. Along with seven other “illegal” European immigrants wearing orange jumpsuits and about 25 supporters, the pranksters chanted “Columbus go home!” and “Deport us now!” to stubborn ICE officials.
No matter how it ends up being spun, Sir Christopher Meyer’s testimony to the Chilcot Inquiry today demonstrated, without a shadow of a doubt, how “regime change” in Iraq was agreed between George W. Bush and Tony Blair in April 2002, and how the rush to war by the US meant that furious attempts to justify the plan were doomed to fail, “because there was no smoking gun.”
Meyer, who was Britain’s ambassador to the US between 1997 and 2003, was speaking about British and American policy towards Iraq between the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of March 2003. He explained how, before 9/11, the general feeling in the Bush administration was that Iraq was “running out of steam,” and that it was a low priority, but that, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, Iraq rose to the top of the US agenda.
Binyam Mohamed is a British resident, seized in Pakistan in April 2002, who was held in Pakistani custody, supervised by US agents, until July 2002, when he was sent by the CIA to be tortured for 18 months in Morocco, and was tied in with a “dirty bomb plot” that never even existed. After his ordeal in Morocco, he spent four months in the CIA’s “Dark Prison” in Kabul, and was then flown to Guantánamo in September 2004.
For the last 15 months, Mohamed has watched as two British High Court judges have tried to release to the public information conveyed by the US intelligence services to their British counterparts regarding his torture in Pakistan, prior to his rendition to Morocco.
Watch Bahati’s story, then go to http://www.condition-critical.org to leave a message of support for the thousands of people, like Bahati, trying to keep a semblance of normality in their lives in the middle of a war zone. MSF will take a selection of these messages to Congo (DRC) as a show of support and solidarity.
I remember the boys dressed in army surplus, the girls in hessian, their silhouettes framed in beach shanties, staring across an abyss. You were not meant to talk about them. They were not counted in the census, unlike the sheep, and anyway were dirty and feckless and dying off.
You were not meant to disturb the surface of our great southern idyll, sun-kissed and God-blessed, in circumstances that might raise questions of race. At high school, I studied a celebrated historian, Russel Ward, who wrote: “We are civilized and they are not.” They were the first Australians. At least he mentioned them. Other text books simply left them out.
Today, almost everything has changed and has not changed. For many Aboriginal people, who value healing, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology last year was important. They and their white allies had worked tirelessly for the mere word to be uttered. The resistance was formidable; white supremacist politicians, journalists and academics damned the “black armband version of our history”. And when Rudd finally said it, the Sydney Morning Herald described the apology as “a piece of political wreckage” that “the Rudd government has moved quickly to clear away … in a way that responds to some of its supporters’ emotional needs”.