Forthcoming

"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 05.08.2019)

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me”; Nora Ephron, author/comedian

"Make your story count". Michelle Obama

"Social pain is understood through the lens of racial animus". Researcher/author Sean McElwee writing in Salon, 2016

"We are citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear."  Chelsea Manning; activist/whisleblower

“My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you, And no fascist minded people, like you, will drive me from it. Is that clear?” Paul Robeson; activist/singer

“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent”. from civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” Frederick Douglass, WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS 4TH JULY? 07.05.1852 (full text in blog)

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

 

"We are more alike than we are different"v  Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singer at 89

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain

 

You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore

 

 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:

 

"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.

 

What was really going on at Guantanamo Prison?

2009-04-01

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Guantanamo Bay Prison will close. But what about the files—records of the treatments or ‘experiments’ that went on there?

Don’t expect us to believe that detailed records those thousands of days of interrogations were not carefully amassed. Whether or not the prisoners are guilty of any war crimes, whether they will be released or not, the managers of this torture center have doubtless accumulated hundreds of thousands of pages—not to mention the videos and audio files-- of their ‘sessions’ with the prisoners. I speak not of pages of confessions, but pages of ‘observations’. What is to be done with this material? And do these have some ‘scientific’ value beyond any putative security purpose?

Let us be honest: as abhorrent a thought as it may be to us, torture and interrogation are could be viewed by some as a ‘science’. Careful records of those activities are made. We learn how ‘treatments’ are often systematically applied, reapplied, and applied again. Some reports by former prisoners speak of repeated torture sessions. They are retuned to their cells, then called out and interrogated again, with the same questions, over the over. They tell of promises made, or threats. We learn about the rigorous procedures applied by security staff when prisoners do not ‘behave’. We know about the involvement of ‘doctors’, perhaps psychologists, and of video tapings (for security purposes?). We learn that torture is applied psychologically and physically.

Yes, these ugly, shameful, illegal sessions may be used to secure ‘information’. But what prison needs years to interrogate individuals, using whatever means?

To me, procedures applied through such a sustained program suggest something more sinister than has been spoken of. I suggest the real aim of the torture and captivity was not primarily to extract information. Guantanamo became an “experimental center” on human behavior—specifically the behavior of Muslim men. Information sought was about how these people respond to various torture techniques, what reveals of their faith-- Islam.

Perhaps never in modern history have western authorities had what they might view as an opportunity to understand what they might consider to be ‘an alien religion’. Maybe some of the violence against these men served a masochistic purpose for some guards. Approached more coldly, applications could be conducted with the aim of discovering, for example, how these ‘aliens’ can be humiliated, enraged, converted? For those who resist, the jailers want to discover how their faith help motivates them, protects or defends them?

Experiments on prisoners were conducted in the not distant past. Is America capable of such things today?

 

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