Saturday, July 29, 2006

Going After The Family

On April 29, 2003 Waleed bin Attash was arrested by police in Karachi, Pakistan. He is suspected of planning the attack on the USS Cole. He has since been "disappeared" into the secret detention centers of the Central Intelligence Agency. Six months earlier, his 17-year-old brother, Hassan bin Attash was arrested in Pakistan and handed over to American forces. Hassan is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay.

According to his lawyer, Hassan was initially sent to a U.S. run "Dark Prison" in Kabul, Afghanistan for about a week. He was then flown to Jordan on an extraordinary rendition flight. While in Jordan he was severely tortured  by Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate, or GID. He was interrogated about his brother, Waleed bin Attash. According to his lawyer, Mark Falkoff, one favorite torture technique of the GID was to "beat the soles of his feet and then placed them in salt water". Ultimately, he signed "whatever was asked of him."

Hassan was moved from Jordanian custody back to the "Dark Prison" in Kabul on January 8, 2004. He was moved again to a prison in Bagram before ultimately arriving in Guantanamo Bay in May 2004. He has been there ever since. To keep it all in the family his 70-year-old father was picked up and detained in Saudi Arabia under U.S. orders.

Of Hassan, his lawyer had this to say:

“I couldn't tell you whether he was guilty or innocent,” Falkoff said. “I have no clue because we haven't been able to talk to him about anything other than the abuse he suffered, and the judge in his case refused to require the government to justify his detention. I don't know what evidence the government claims to have against him or even the charges.”

Regardless of the his innocence or guilt, which apparently the U.S. government does not need to prove or pretend to prove, Hassan has been subjected to the grand tour of the U.S. torture archipelago. It now appears that his 70-year-old father has been subjected to the same. All of this because, it seems, of being related to an alleged al Qaeda operative. It begs the question why Osama bin Laden's brothers and family are not subjected to the same treatment. Instead the Bush Administration flew them out of the U.S. immediately after September 11th without even questioning them. Could it be that torture is only doled out to those who do not have money and influence?

It looks like we have learned a thing or two from The Sopranos. 

[Cross posted at Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying]


Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

Great post. We should be outraged over this. Quite a double standard if you ask me.

6:50 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Excellent post, Mash. It is these 'disappeared' people - unpeople, if you like - that need us in the West to speak up for them the most.

It reminds me of a poem - "Not My Business" by Niyi Osundare:

“First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”

That's why it is so important that people like us and Amnesty take the effort to speak out on behalf of these 'unimportant', 'expendable' people.

Well done!

6:53 AM  
Blogger Dr. Strangelove said...

I am sure his 70 year old father is a major security risk. /snark/

6:58 AM  
Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

I'm glad I'm going third. Still doing a little research for my blog post in 34 minutes.

7:00 AM  
Blogger bodda said...

yeah, yeah.

you are a terrorist if one of your distant relatives visited afghanistan in the seventies.

7:03 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Or if you have a beard and don't support the war in Iraq. Actually, forget the beard - if you don't support the war in Iraq, it OBVIOUSLY means you support the terrorists. Duh.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Cyberotter said...

You Might be a Terrorist If....

7:09 AM  
Blogger Dr. Strangelove said...

You are either with us or you are with the terrorists.*

* (Unless you are Nouri al Maliki, or any leader of a friendly Arab country who happens to finance or support a terrorist, or if you are a bin Laden family member, or...)

7:21 AM  
Blogger bodda said...

BUT you are not a terrorist
even if you detain and torture peaceful protesotors supporting illegally prosecuted judges for staying true to their ethics; as long as ur name is HUSNI MUBARAK or whatever and you are the head of a (friendly) Arab regime!

7:25 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

See, if only the lawyers could spell it out like that, it'd be so much easier to understand.

Let's not forget Israel*, which has 9,000 Palestinians and Lebanese prisoners detained without charge or trial, or convicted based on evidence extracted by torture.

I'm including Israel in my post about US/UK sponsorship of torture around the world, along with S. Arabia, China etc. I'll try and find to time to research Egypt too.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Excellent post. To ignore the rights of those who may be our enemies is to become like those out to destroy us by any means possible.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

isn't it amazing? the gov't does NOT have to provide any evidence? That's the central point to holding someone prisoner legally. But wait..this is not legal!
(yes yes, you can always claim nat'l security for keeping all those evidentiary secrets safe and under the table)

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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12:36 AM  

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