Daring to utter the F-word
(Linked with Naomi Wolf).
Naomi Wolf doesn’t apologise for comparing the Bush Administration with fascism. And she certainly rejects suggestions of paranoia. “We are facing a genuine constitutional crisis” (she says).
There is a convention on the internet called Godwin’s Law. It states that, during an online discussion, the first person to draw an analogy with Nazi Germany automatically loses the argument.
It’s a rule that exists in academia, journalism and even politics. Comparing your opponent to a Nazi is a sure way not just to lose an argument but to suffer the indignity of having to apologise later. After all, it’s hard to justify a comparison to a regime which started World War II and killed 6 million Jews.
So perhaps it’s surprising that Naomi Wolf, a feminist icon and the author of The Beauty Myth, has written a book which compares the Bush Administration with Nazi Germany.
Not just in a passing reference, mind you.
Wolf hasn’t just ignored the taboo; in fact, she has taken an axe to it, arguing that the situation is so grave it is blinding us to an urgent danger. The entire book is devoted to a comparison between the Bush Administration’s response to the threat of Islamic terrorism and the methods the Nazis used to turn Germany into a fascist state … (full text).
(JURIST) – The top military prosecutor for the Guantanamo war crimes trials has resigned his post, according to a US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] spokesman Friday. Air Force Col. Moe Davis [official profile, PDF] requested a transfer from Guantanamo [JURIST news archive] after complaining that an officer who served as legal advisor to the Convening Authority [official backgrounder], who is responsible for running the trials, should not be supervising his work. A team of investigating experts assembled by the DOD found that the officer did have the authority to oversee Davis, but Davis had already requested a transfer before receiving the panel’s decision on Thursday. A military spokesman said that Davis’ resignation is not expected to delay the start of trials next month. Reuters has more. The Miami Herald has additional coverage … (full text).
NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania: – A Mauritanian man who spent nearly five years incarcerated at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay on Friday accused American soldiers of desecrating the Quran by urinating and stepping on it … (full text).
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A judge Friday reversed his ruling that created new hurdles for some lawyers seeking to visit clients held prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina in Washington reinstated 16 lawsuits challenging the indefinite confinement of about 40 men held at the military prison on a U.S. base in Cuba. Last month, Urbina dismissed the petitions of habeas corpus — a ruling that prompted the Department of Justice to warn attorneys for detainees that they would be barred from any contact with their clients unless they filed new challenges and agreed to tighter restrictions on visits and letters … (full text).
The BBC’s former Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston has written a letter of support for the al-Jazeera cameraman Sami Al-Haj, who has been incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay since June 2002. Al-Haj, a Sudanese national who was detained in December 2001 while in transit to Afghanistan, made his own plea for Johnston when the BBC reporter was abducted in Gaza City by armed gunmen in March. Johnston was subsequently released in July after 113 days in captivity … (full text).
Hot on the heels of the release of Mohammed al-Amin, a Mauritanian student who was just a teenager when he was kidnapped for a bounty payment on a street in Pakistan over five years ago, the Pentagon has released another eight detainees — six Afghans, a Libyan and a Yemeni — thinning “the worst of the worst” at Guantánamo from 778 men to just 335. Of the six Afghans released, the identities of three are unknown. This is hardly surprising, as the Department of Defense never reveals the names of those it releases, and the media long ago abandoned turning up in Kabul to welcome back another bunch of farmers, shopkeepers and Taliban conscripts from their brutal and surreal sojourn in a small corner of Cuba that is forever America. Of the 163 Afghans released since Guantánamo opened (out of a total of 218), a dozen of those released in the last few years have not been identified, and these three look like remaining just as anonymous … (full text).
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A second Army officer who sat on the “enemy combatant” tribunals at Guantanamo has come forward to criticize the panels, saying in court papers released Friday the rules favored the government and some decisions were reversed by commanders. The criticism, in an affidavit filed by attorneys for a Sudanese detainee, echo some charges made in June by Army Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, the first insider to publicly fault the proceedings … (full text).
As some you may have read, the military recently accused two lawyers for Guantanamo detainees with the London-based human rights group Reprieve of smuggling underwear to their clients. I really have nothing to add to the two letters detailing the dispute, reprinted below … (full text).
‘Guantanamo,’ a novel of imprisonment … And tell it she does, in uncomfortably close focus, in the second person, via Rashid Bakhrani, a ficticious 19-year-old from Hamburg who was snapped up by American forces while he was in Pakistan. He is innocent and ordinary. His recent past is conveyed in fragmentary thoughts and dreamlike memories. We get glimpses of Rashid’s life in Hamburg; meeting his grandparents for the first time in Dehli; trekking in Kathmandu; and traveling with a new friend to Peshawar, where he is arrested during an anti-American demonstration. Once confined to his personal cage at Guantanamo and free of his shackles, Rashid’s wisest moves are to restrict his movements to endure the heat and, to control his thoughts: “Memories are dangerous. They bring time into the cage, and the cage is too small for that. As soon as time has a chance to stretch out it pulls him off in every direction.” Primarily, the novel is dedicated to the damnation of a man confronted with pain, boredom and ignorance of what will set him free. Dieckmann gives patient, in-depth coverage … (full text).
Appeals court asked to reconsider decision on Khadr’s case at Guantanamo.