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Mon

23

Feb

2009

Position Paper: “Super Progressives for Obama” on Guantanamo.
Monday, 23 February 2009 12:39
by Maher Osseiran

The decision by president Obama to close Guantanamo was a source of deep despair and heated debates at the headquarters of the “Super Progressives for Obama” until finally a consensus was reached and a clear position forged.

The creation of Guantanamo was a stroke of genius; hard to say but true. After 9/11, the country needed a remote place to incarcerate America’s deadliest enemies, those sworn to destroy its democracy, its constitution, its economy, and rob it from its way of life.

A work of genius can still be flawed and we, “Super Progressives for Obama”, strongly request that the Obama administration address these deficiencies and elevate Guantanamo to the level it deserves; the beacon of justice for western democracies and the world.

I do understand that what is being said is raising some eyebrows and causing some lips to pucker, especially those of the lesser “Progressives for Obama”, but please, hear us out.

Guantanamo is the most humane place for the serious terrorism offenders. Let us take for example Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind 9/11, if he were in a federal prison, he would not survive a day; the predictability of the daily torture regime would seem to him like a Spa treatment when compared to the incessant fear of being stabbed in the back or even worse.

Okay, the “T” word slipped out, we, as “Super Progressives for Obama”, are very much against the “T” word and all other words that are truncated to their first letters including torture. We do think that, part of addressing the deficiencies at Guantanamo, all detainees should be granted what is a universal right, the right to habeas corpus, and should be tried in federal courts. If found guilty, Guantanamo would be their humane place of incarceration in the company of their peers.

Considering the inability of the Military Commission trials held at Guantanamo to convict, the federal court system would have an even harder time since only a handful is convictable.

That raises a new dilemma; Guantanamo will never rise to its glory, would considerably shrink in size, and could even be closed. As “Super Progressives for Obama”, we cannot allow that to happen and recommend a repopulation of the facility, but where could such people be found?

Grabbing people randomly in foreign lands because they were wearing rags on their heads, properly known as turbans, is not going to cut it this time. We need bodies that our fair judicial system could easily find guilty of waging war on U.S. democracy, its constitution, its economy, and the American way of life, whichever way you define it, spiced up with a little murder, a pinch of high treason, and tons of total disregard for human life.

At one of our brain storming sessions in preparation for this position paper, a dear “Super Progressive for Obama” colleague suggested rounding up anyone going in and out of the Capitol buildings in Washington as better suited for Guantanamo than those already there but the idea was immediately shot down by our “Super Duper Progressive” attorney as unconstitutional; “you need cause”, he grunted.

It was then that I remembered this little investigative article I had written; it fit what was needed to a “Tee”. I tell the gathering that the investigation uncovered a good amount of murder, plenty of high treason, and tons of total disregard for human life, and all pointed to W’s White House.


There was a look of puzzlement on the faces of those in the room and piercing glares. Sound like conspiracy theory one said, anything new?

It does sound like conspiracy theory, I agreed, but it is not since the work could easily be duplicated by independent investigative bodies and would get even stronger if such bodies had subpoena power.

Obviously, there was a need to give more background, I continued, usually, leaks are the only source for such juicy material; it is not that different in this case. The evidence of White House criminality was extracted from the bin Laden confession videotape the White House and Pentagon inadvertently released on Dec. 13, 2001. They inadvertently released it in support of their war activities, present, Afghanistan, and future, Iraq, thinking no one could figure out how it was produced, but I did; it is not your typical leak, it is more like governmental incontinence.

There was a chuckle and quite a few ears perked up, so I push for more attention saying, what is really fascinating, even though disturbing and unfortunate, is that the evidence of these crimes is crystal clear. Unlike evidence of criminal activities relating to the Iraq war, this evidence is as good as black and white, it cannot be spun, cannot be denied, cannot be taken back or wished away, but most importantly, it is immune to any statutes of limitation and the prophylactic pardons Bush Jr. attempted to grant during his last days in office.

At this point, I pause, the details are tedious, but these “Super Progressive for Obama” are adamant at restoring and preserving Guantanamo’s glory, words of encouragement quickly came through, go on Maher.

The analysis of the videotape, an authentication process that took close to a year to complete, shows that the videotape was the result of a two-part sting operation run by U.S. intelligence with the help of Saudi intelligence. The first part was to tape bin Laden confessing on September 26, 2001, barely two weeks after 9/11, and ten days prior to the invasion of Afghanistan. The second part, which was designed to capture him, was deferred to a later time and unknown date.

For the better designed part of the sting, the taping part, U.S. intelligence knew, four to five days in advance, the date of the taping operation, twenty four hours in advance its exact location, and had a very good idea how long bin Laden would be at that location since his favorite son, Hamza, and his mother, bin Laden’s favorite wife, lived in that village. Such detailed knowledge and abundant time to plan for bin Laden’s capture, was the best opportunity for the Bush administration to fulfill its legal duty to capture the most wanted man on the FBI’s most wanted list and its self imposed moral obligation to keep its promise of “dead or alive”, but if bin Laden were captured, there would have been no legal basis or popular support for the invasion of Afghanistan ten days later; Bin Laden, with premeditation, was allowed to walk away a free man.

The least the Bush administration could be accused of on September 26, 2001, is, dereliction of duty and giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war; that is called treason - U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 115, § 2381. The Bush administration could also be accused of murdering all those unsuspecting troops and civilians who lost their lives since that invasion.

The audience captivated, I continue, the capture of bin Laden, the second part of the sting operation, was deferred to an unknown future date for when bin Laden returned to the village to visit with his family. For that purpose, a Saudi intelligence operative was left behind in order to alert the American Special forces of bin Laden’s return.

Here, the Bush White House could not catch a break, call it an act of God, bad luck, Bush Karma, or simply the expected screwy result of hubris and wishful thinking, bin Laden returned to that village on a day with sleet, snow and freezing rain.

Despite the inclement weather, two Special Forces Black Hawk helicopters, supported by F-14 fighter jets, were dispatched from the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt; a suicide mission on its own due to the extreme weather. Flying through night vision goggles and relying on instruments, the helicopters reach the village by mid-night November 2, 2001 but not without surprises.

What is most likely an uninvited guest, a prototype Predator drone operated by the Air Force, but as a prototype most likely under the control of the CIA, makes it to the village and rams one of the helicopters; the capture mission fails.

The helicopter crashes, the second helicopter rescues the reportedly injured crew while an F-14 bombs the crashed helicopter in an effort to conceal and destroy any evidence pointing to the purpose of the mission.

In the least, we can say that the mission was partly successful, bin Laden and his family never suspected that they were the target since his kids, lead by Hamza, were shown in the video released by the Pentagon playfully running up the hill to inspect the crash site, kicking the main rotor, dragging smaller parts of intermingled helicopter and Predator wreckage indoors, and videotaping all as if documenting, down to the equipment tags, tag images that were very helpful to the investigation.

I don’t know if any laws were broken here. The Predator/helicopter collision might have been a weather related accident but intelligence sources told me that it was intentional sabotage. Either way, an investigation is justified and if found to be a case of sabotage, more deserving candidates for Guatanamo are found.

Again, I don’t know if any laws were broken but it shows a total disregard for human life when those troops were sent on what amounted to be a suicide mission without informing them of the better designed opportunity to capture bin Laden five weeks earlier on September 26.

Noticing that I was starting to loose my audience, especially the recent converts from the “Progressives for Obama” crowd, I say, but these are not the most serious of crimes, there is more.

The most serious crime is the release of the tape itself. Since bin Laden was never captured, the two-part sting operation, in its totality, was a failed operation. As a sensitive by-product of a failed intelligence operation, the confession tape had to be declassified and only Bush and Cheney had that authority.

The only reason the Bush administration declassified the tape was in response for calls for proof from the Arab and Muslim streets. Tony Blair, and Colin Powell, having failed to provide the proof they promissed, forced the hand of the Bush administration to release the only proof they had.

When bin Laden viewed the tape, which he would inevitably do, he would immediately realize that it was taped covertly and that intelligence services could have captured him. The first time bin Laden deviated from his strict security protocol – by observing Arab and Muslim codes of hospitality and going to where the visitor is, in accommodation to the paraplegic Saudi intelligence operative, Khalid al-Harbi, instead of having the visitor come to him – intelligence operatives were feet from him, taping him. As a result, bin Laden’s security protocol would get even tighter and no one would ever get that close to him again, not the Bush administration nor any other administration that follows.

The release of the tape by the Bush administration insured bin Laden’s continued freedom almost indefinitely. The Bush administration by first allowing bin Laden to walk away free on September 26, 2001, failing to capture him on November 2, 2001, and finally, releasing the video on December 13, 2001, provided more help to bin Laden than 99% of the Guantanamo detainees.

Based on U.S. law, the crimes committed range from murder, to treason, to high treason. The unjustified invasion of Afghanistan was an egregious violation of the Geneva Convention and as a result, untold numbers of innocent civilians were killed; that would surely qualify as a high crime against humanity.

The authentication work on the videotape resulted in a timeline of the crimes and names of individuals involved in its production, including Federal agents named in an intelligence report exclusively sent to Dick Cheney which describes meetings over a period of time between one FBI agent, Brad Lee, and one CIA agent, Robert Wachtel, with the Saudi intelligence operative who visited with bin Laden, Khalid al-Harbi, in Manila in October of 2001 where money was exchanged; most likely for a job well done.

All the information was shared with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as early as 2006, and with Biden’s Judiciary Committee in 2007; if a special prosecutor is appointed, indictments should result within weeks and arrests in less than three months.

The failure of these institutions to fulfill their constitutional obligations and prosecute, considering the seriousness of the crimes, is by itself a criminal act, § 2382 Misprision of Treason U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 115, which should result in more candidates for the noble cause of repopulating Guantanamo.

According to ABC, Biden said the following in September of 2008: "If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued”. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Biden has already failed. Also, considering that the expansion of the illegal/criminal war in Afghanistan is the cornerstone of Obama’s policy in that region, that promise was just a lie.

Instead of being investigated and soon to join his buddy Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at Gitmo, Bush is basking in the warm Texan sun promising us that history’s slow and usually warm lens would vindicate his criminal acts.

In our longing to repopulate Guantanamo, we insist that Obama grant him his wish sooner and have twelve honest citizens judge him.

Obama needs to prosecute Bush for the sake of the country, the constitution, and the rule of law. If all that is not a good enough reason for Obama, he should certainly do it for his own sake; sooner or later, the illegality of the Afghanistan war will be evident to all and Obama’s plan to expand that criminal war would only make a criminal out of him.

In these difficult economic times, times that should nurture and foster positive turning points in our history, we, as “Super Progressives for Obama”, would not want to see Obama, America’s last chance and only hope to lead its recovery in an orange jumpsuit at Gitmo.

Mr. Obama, the Afghanistan war is more criminal than the Iraq war and so much easier to prove as such. Mr. Obama, you have been fairly warned, sease and desist and prosecute those responsible for the deaths of so many innocents who include our brave troops that perished or were injured in this synthetic war on terror.

Note to the reader: Karl Marx got it wrong; religion is not the opiate of the masses, it is hope. Hope, as the tool of last resort in hard times can create a dependency that blinds. Hope has shown its power in cases of terminal desease but historically failed us in all other circumstances where what was needed was action. Hope is at the heart of Obama’s appeal and many of my friends, all progressives, have been saying “give the man a chance”. I don’t see the prosecution of Bush and Cheney as denying Obama his chance, on the contrary, the prosecution of Bush and company would take away from Obama the opportunity to expand and wage more wars but would force him to focus on the pressing issues such as the economy and energy; green energy.

If you support the prosecution of Bush and Cheney, please sign the following petition found at

http://www.democrats.com/special-prosecutor-for-bush-war-crimes

For those in the UK who believe Blair should also be prosecuted, please sign the following petition foud at

http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?BWCF&1

Reference articles:

“Osama’s Confession; Osama’s Reprieve” found at

http://www.counterpunch.org/osseiran08212006.html

“Is Bin Laden Responsible for the 9/11 attacks?” found at

http://www.mydemocracy.net/war_crimes/bin_laden_911_responsible.htm

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