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  • Technorati: graph / links

    ISN 239 Aamer, Shaker (UK-Saudi Arabia)


    by earwicga
    1st October, 2010 at 11:03 am    

    Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files, is half-way through a series of articles telling the stories of the 176 men still imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp.

    Shaker Aamer is one of the many men who were captured in 2001/02 as a result of the bounty payments offered by Team America which meant many missionaries, humanitarian aid workers or economic migrants, caught fleeing the death and destruction in Afghanistan‘ were imprisoned and tortured in one of the gravest injustices of the ‘War on Terror’.

    This is Andy’s account of Shaker Aamer:

    Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, was born in Saudi Arabia and, in 1996, moved to the UK after traveling in the US, Europe and the Middle East. He has a British wife, and four British children, the youngest of whom he has never seen. Aamer’s road to Guantánamo began when he, along with Moazzam Begg, took his family to live in Kabul, in June 2001, to work for a charity involved in humanitarian aid projects, including a girls’ school and various well-digging projects.

    After the US-led invasion in October 2001, Aamer arranged for the evacuation of his family from Afghanistan, but was thwarted in his own attempts to leave. He was taken in by an Afghan family, but was then seized by Afghan soldiers, who held him and abused him for several weeks before handing him over — or, more probably, selling him — to US forces. After horrendous abuse in US custody in Afghanistan, including prolonged sleep deprivation and starvation, so that he lost 60 pounds in weight, he apparently made a number of false confessions used by the US to justify his detention, and was then transferred to Guantánamo, where he became one of the most significant prisoners, attracting the support of his fellow inmates, and the fear and suspicion of the authorities, because of his relentless advocacy on behalf of those held without rights in the “War on Terror.”

    Charismatic and eloquent, he brokered a deal that brought a halt to the prison-wide hunger strike in the summer of 2005, but when the authorities reneged on their promise to make the prison more compliant with the Geneva Conventions, he was then imprisoned in solitary confinement for at least 18 months, and, ever since, has been held in a block reserved for prisoners regarded by the authorities as non-compliant or particularly influential.

    Despite being cleared for release by a military review board under the Bush administration in March 2007, the British government claims that negotiations for his release to the UK have stalled because of security concerns on the part of the US authorities, but this seems implausible, as any security concerns could easily be addressed in the UK. Instead, it appears that Aamer is still held because of what he knows, including knowledge of the terrible events of June 9, 2006, when three prisoners died and, he has stated, he was tortured to within an inch of his life. His presence in the UK is vital to the inquiry into British complicity in torture announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in July, in part because he won a court case in the UK in December 2009, to secure information relating to his allegations that British agents were in the room when he was tortured by US forces, and the campaign to free him from Guantánamo continues.

    Also worth reading is Scott Horton’s The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle  published in the March 2010 edition of Harper’s Magazine.


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    111 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. sunny hundal

      Blogged: : ISN 239 Aamer, Shaker (UK-Saudi Arabia) http://bit.ly/bLcadl


    2. earwicga

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : ISN 239 Aamer, Shaker (UK-Saudi Arabia) http://bit.ly/bLcadl




    1. earwicga — on 1st October, 2010 at 1:50 pm  

      CagePrisoners has examples of model letters to use when writing to William Hague re Shaker Aamer: http://www.cageprisoners.com/our-work/alerts/item/352-save-shaker-aamer-campaign-action-points-for-new-government

      The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign is on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=82639210948

    2. Roger — on 1st October, 2010 at 1:59 pm  

      How nice to see a “progressive” blog doing its bit for the jihadi supporters of Cageprisoners.

      How about a post bigging up the Shabab, the horrible people who are terrorising Somalia?

      http://www.cageprisoners.com/our-work/blog/item/579-uk-prepares-to-justify-demolition-in-the-gulf-of-aden

      Follow your jihadi leaders!

    3. Brownie — on 1st October, 2010 at 2:05 pm  

      Aamer’s road to Guantánamo began when he, along with Moazzam Begg, took his family to live in Kabul, in June 2001, to work for a charity involved in humanitarian aid projects, including a girls’ school and various well-digging projects.

      Not one scintilla of evidence has ever been provided to support the contention that Begg and his comrades travelled to Taliban-controlled Kabul in June 2001 to engage in charitable work. Indeed, this story first emerged when Begg’s father was interviewed in the UK some months after his son’s arrest. It wasn’t even the original story offered by Begg himself.

      The girls’ ‘school’ Begg was helping to build has a location unknown and no name. No independent witness can vouch for its existence or indeed that work building a school ever began. No teacher or pupil has ever been found.

      Some of us worked out why that is a long time ago.

      Gotta run, the taxi to the airport is waiting outside. The wife, kids and I are off to the Democratic Republic of Congo to open a Blockbusters.

    4. earwicga — on 1st October, 2010 at 2:08 pm  

      So you have the evidence to show that there wasn’t a school and there was no charitable work Brownie?

    5. Brownie — on 1st October, 2010 at 2:13 pm  

      Yes, earwicga, it’s in the same drawer as my evidence there is no Wizard of Oz.

    6. Roger — on 1st October, 2010 at 2:17 pm  

      His wife’s tale of how he left Afghanistan is worth a laugh too. You know how it is, you go out shopping in Kabul and you end up 100 kilometres away, in the mountains of Tora Bora. Which just happened to be al Qaeda’s escape route from Afghanistan in October 2001. A mere coincidence, that.

      Here it is, from a jihadi website:

      “He had gone shopping the day Kabul fell and found all routes back to their house closed or too dangerous to travel. Eventually he crossed to Pakistan and had “just been about to come back to find us when we arrived.”

      Sally Begg hesitated, then remarked, “I wish I had not said that now, because people might think he disappeared because he was fighting. They won’t understand the chaos. Hundreds and hundreds of people were fleeing. People, families did get separated. Roads were dangerous, blocked. Fighting. Bombing. Fear. Unless you were there you could not understand.”

      http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2006/11/26/6558.shtml

    7. damon — on 1st October, 2010 at 2:33 pm  

      The number in Guantanamo is very small.
      Compared to the 14,000 prisoners in New York City’s Rikers Island prison it’s nothing.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rikers_Island

    8. earwicga — on 1st October, 2010 at 2:58 pm  

      Roger - WTF!?!

      Damon - you’re joking right?

    9. Roger — on 1st October, 2010 at 3:23 pm  

      Yes, “WTF!?!” is an appropriate reaction to people who believe and promote the tales told by the extremists at Cageprisoners.

      They’re not at all shy about expressing their beliefs, you know. Watch this - Asim Qureshi of Cageprisoners promoting jihad at a Hizb ut-Tahrir rally:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXGPqyK3Srg

    10. douglas clark — on 1st October, 2010 at 4:04 pm  

      Brownie,

      We have been down this path before. You really do buy into the threatrics of casting stones, don’t you?

      Here is what Amnesty International had to say:

      Shaker Aamer was originally detained by Afghan forces in the autumn of 2001. Subsequently transferred to US custody in Afghanistan, he was then (in February 2002) sent to Guantánamo, where he has remained ever since. At Guantánamo Shaker Aamer has been involved in protests against conditions at the camp, including by organising hunger strikes, for which he has reportedly been punished by being held in solitary confinement for several years consecutively.

      Through his lawyers Aamer has alleged that he was tortured numerous times in Afghanistan, including by US officials while British personnel were also present. He has also alleged that he has been tortured at Guantánamo. Until recently the UK government had refused to allow the disclosure of documents that his lawyers believed would help to establish details of his mistreatment and how false confessions under torture have contributed to his extended detention at Guantánamo.

      But you don’t like AI either, do you?

    11. joe90 — on 1st October, 2010 at 6:12 pm  

      post #7

      Its only a small number??

      oh that’s ok then carry on torturing them then in the name of western democracy!

    12. damon — on 1st October, 2010 at 8:28 pm  

      earwicga @ 8

      Damon – you’re joking right?

      I can’t get that worked up about this really.

      And Joe90, hopefully the torturing isn’t going on anymore. And if it isn’t - then their situation isn’t any worse than someone in a US county jail.
      They’ll get out sooner or later. It’s not like they are facing the death penalty.

    13. Kamal — on 1st October, 2010 at 10:48 pm  

      Nothing should surprise about damon’s anti-Muslim prejudice

    14. Brownie — on 1st October, 2010 at 11:40 pm  

      Dougie,

      AI simply reports what Aamer’s lawyers have said on his behalf and what Aamer himself claims happened. I’m sure they’re interested in him given they’re interested in everyone in Guantanamo, but they don’t appear to take a position on the veracity of his story about how he came to be in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and what he was up to while he was there.

      Pour yourself another, Dougie.

    15. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 12:06 am  

      brownie,

      It is late, and frankly, you have no evidence to support your arguement. You never have had. All you have had is the quite incredible ability to say, almost with a straight face ‘the absence of evidence is proof!’

      That is what you do Brownie. If I make any comment about this, you say I am squiffy. I say you are not, never have been, able to argue a point without a bit of this, and a bit of that. You do not discuss a subject in good faith, you never have.

      ______________________________

      It is pretty obvious to sapient human beings that due process should occur for anyone left in Gitmo. Earwicga is quite right to point to the bounty hunters and what injustices that brought about. I do not know, nor claim to know the truth, unlike Brownie, who has extrasensory perception off to a T. What I want for these people is a court of law, and for those that are found guilty, reasonable prison conditions.

      It seems to me that Brownie has a locked on fixation that, because there isn’t evidence of a girls school, then there wasn’t one. After what happened in Berlin in 1945, there was little enough evidence that Hitler actually existed, though he did. That is what war does, amongst other things, it destroys evidence.

      Jolly good Brownie, carry on believing whatever you like and don’t ever, ever cry for natural justice! It would ruin my opinion of you.

      In the morning I might check back to your previous, bullheaded posts here on this subject. Your posts elsewhere are beyond the remit of sane folk.

    16. Brownie — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:21 am  

      Dougie,

      I’ve never come across anyone online who is as sure of himself about what another commenter thinks, yet who simultaneously displays all the signs of never having read a word of what said commenter has written.

      Begg and Aamer might be dyed-in-the-wool terrorists; they’d still be entitled to due process. I’m not advocating a denial of due process to them or anyone else. Likewise, I don’t claim to *know* with absolute certainty why Begg upped-sticks with his wife and kids in June 2001 and moved to Taliban-controlled Kabul. I do have serious doubts that this was done to build a girls’ school as he claimed (some time after his arrest). This seems to me implausible given the climate that obtained in pre-invasion Afghanistan and the fact that Begg has never been able to provide a scintilla of evidence to support his claim that this is what he was doing. No other witnesses to this school-building enterprise, not so much as a brick to show for his efforts and he can’t even recall where this project was undertaken. Aamer’s story is similarly implausible, not least the part about how he came to find himself in the Tora Bora.

      Andy Worthington is entitled to believe whatever the hell he likes (as are you and earwicga). But when he (or anyone else) trots out the Begg/Aamer version of events as if they were establised and undisputed facts, I see it as my public duty to the uninformed to point out that this is very far from being the case.

      Now, I have zero expectation that the above explanation of my position will have any impact whatsoever. My guess is you will start typing before the words have sunk in and attribute more beliefs to me that I simply do not share. The only question remaining then will be whether you are a malevolent, lying scoundrel, or just a complete fucking moron.

      I have my suspicions I know which.

    17. Brownie — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:25 am  

      After what happened in Berlin in 1945, there was little enough evidence that Hitler actually existed, though he did.

      Complete fucking moron it is.

    18. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 7:10 am  

      Brownie @ 14,

      Andy Worthington is entitled to believe whatever the hell he likes (as are you and earwicga). But when he (or anyone else) trots out the Begg/Aamer version of events as if they were establised and undisputed facts, I see it as my public duty to the uninformed to point out that this is very far from being the case.

      Bullshit! There are no established and undisputed facts you moron. There are opinions and you have no right to express your opinions as if they were fact. Which is what you do.

      All. The. Time.

      Public duty be damned!

      An example:

      The girls’ ‘school’ Begg was helping to build has a location unknown and no name. No independent witness can vouch for its existence or indeed that work building a school ever began. No teacher or pupil has ever been found.

      Some of us worked out why that is a long time ago.

      Gotta run, the taxi to the airport is waiting outside. The wife, kids and I are off to the Democratic Republic of Congo to open a Blockbusters.

      Oh yeah!

      Some of you have decided that Moazzem Begg in particular and now Shaker Aamer are liars. That is what you have said in the quote above, that is typical of your modus operandi.

      In other words, your sort of belief is not based on witness statements, that of Begg and Aamer, but on a physical proof that may well be impossible to provide.

      (Though ambulances and Israel comes to mind as contrary to that. Physical proof is not allowed when it contradicts the Brownie world view, is it?)

      Your arguement relies on physical proof, when your other arguement - the Euston Manifesto and the rest of it - relies on destruction of such proof. Oh! Shock horror, Brownie is an apologist for the West.

      You are the Glenn fucking Beck of this discussion. You write total shit, see above, and then whinge when you are challenged.

      Frankly Brownie:

      Complete fucking moron it is.

      is more appropriate to you.

      __________________________________

      If anyone else is reading this they should consider what contribution Glenn fucking Beck, sorry Brownie, has ever made to resolving, as opposed to apologising for the Gitmo mess.

      None that I recall…..

    19. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 10:12 am  

      Lets see:

      For there is no defence of your right to be a couple of apologists for ignorant and stupid people. Perhaps that is what you and Brownie are. Apologists for tits.

      So let me see. The HP commenter stereotype as promoted at PP is a loud, aggressive, foul-mouthed bore. Graham and I show that up for the myth it is and we’re in “defence mode”, it’s “damage limitation”.

      Meanwhile, Douglas suggests we’re “apologists for tits”.

      Well. I think that is true. You are both morons.

      See you later.

    20. Mark T — on 2nd October, 2010 at 11:55 am  

      Aamer’s road to Guantánamo began when he, along with Moazzam Begg, took his family to live in Kabul, in June 2001, to work for a charity involved in humanitarian aid projects, including a girls’ school and various well-digging projects.

      Where is this school and what was its name?

      Why has Begg - in all the years of recounting this story - never given these details?

    21. Mark T — on 2nd October, 2010 at 11:58 am  

      It seems to me that Brownie has a locked on fixation that, because there isn’t evidence of a girls school, then there wasn’t one. After what happened in Berlin in 1945, there was little enough evidence that Hitler actually existed, though he did. That is what war does, amongst other things, it destroys evidence.

      Why would the war erase Begg’s memory of the school’s location and its name?

      The fact the school may have been destroyed by war does not also eradicate everyone’s recollection of it.

      What an odd argument.

    22. BenSix — on 2nd October, 2010 at 12:29 pm  

      Roger -

      His wife’s tale of how he left Afghanistan is worth a laugh too. You know how it is, you go out shopping in Kabul and you end up 100 kilometres away, in the mountains of Tora Bora. Which just happened to be al Qaeda’s escape route from Afghanistan in October 2001. A mere coincidence, that.

      Kabul fell on November 12th; Aamer was caught in January; OBL and co. had slipped out weeks before; none of this proves anything and, by the way, you’re not funny.

      Here’s my take: Aamer could be lying. I don’t know him and - heck - I’ve a hard enough jon believing folks that I’ve loved for years. We can’t know what happened to him, though, if the U.S. keep him locked up without even the vaguest pretence of justice. That’s what ya godda focus on.

    23. Roger — on 2nd October, 2010 at 12:49 pm  

      BenSix, learn to read. That’s Begg’s tall tale, not Aamer’s.

    24. BenSix — on 2nd October, 2010 at 12:58 pm  

      You’re quite correct. Apologies, and I’ll proceed to kick my own shins.

      Unfortunately for you, the exact same applies. Sure, he/she might be lying but what’s so odd about the claim that once a war begins you’d flee the country by the nearest route (ie. via Jalalabad and the Tora Bora mountains)?

    25. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:05 pm  

      Hmm.

      For you Brownie:

      A true confirmed racist bastard:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHH8bfPhusM

      Love you lots.

    26. Roger — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:08 pm  

      what’s so odd about the claim that once a war begins you’d flee the country by the nearest route

      You must be joking. The liberation of Afghanistan was a joyous occasion for Afghans. Refugees from the Taliban horrors quickly began to return to the country in their thousands.

      So why would some people decide instead to flee from Kabul, where there was little fighting, to Pakistan? Through Tora Bora of all places, which was under heavy bombardment?

      Because they were with al Qaeda. That’s why.

      Then again, people who believe a man who says he simply went out shopping and somehow just ended up on the al Qaeda escape route one hundred kilometres away will believe anything.

    27. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:12 pm  

      Roger @ 26,

      Well. Back up that narrative with some facts, why don’t you?

      Lest anyone mistakes you for a fellow Eustonite tit.

    28. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:18 pm  

      Or 26.

    29. BenSix — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:20 pm  

      Roger -

      Then again, people who believe a man who says he simply went out shopping and somehow just ended up on the al Qaeda escape route one hundred kilometres away will believe anything.

      I didn’t say that I believed him; I said that it might be true. Perhaps we can take those reading classes together?

      Refugees from the Taliban horrors quickly began to return to the country in their thousands.

      Yes, some did. Others fled…

      Over the last two weeks, an estimated 15,000 Afghan refugees have fled to Pakistan, and hundreds of thousands more are reportedly on the move within Afghanistan…If and when the United States and its allies launch a military campaign against Afghanistan, UN officials estimate that the number of new refugees and displaced could climb past 1 million.

      Not as many as predicted, but still quite a few…

      Some tens of thousands of Afghans have fled to Pakistan…

      And it seems there were civilians in Tora Bora, contra you…

      In December 2001 MSF transported civilians who had been wounded in the bombing of Tora Bora, and spoke out against the high number of civilian casualties.

      So, yes, it could be correct. Or has your scepticism deserted you entirely?

    30. Test — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:26 pm  

      What was the name of the school that Begg set up?

      Where was it in Kabul?

      Why are these facts consistently absent from every one of Begg’s vague narratives of his time in Afghanistan, when volunteering them would give his account the credibility it so desperately lacks?

    31. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:27 pm  

      BenSix,

      There is no talking with the likes of Brownie or Roger. They know on the back of zero evidence, on the back of their own prejudice. That is what they are and whom they are.

      Twisted fools, the pair of them..

    32. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:31 pm  

      Test,

      Jolly good that you have chosen to join the debate. It is up to you to prove that the school didn’t exist, not the other way around.

      The balance of proof is on you and your fellow insinuators..

      Capiche?

    33. Mark T — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:48 pm  

      It is up to you to prove that the school didn’t exist, not the other way around.

      Yes, and if I see fairies at the bottom of my garden, it is up to others to prove they don’t exist.

      (“Test” was me, by the way - I was having trouble posting under my name).

    34. Roger — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:53 pm  

      I said that it might be true

      Yes, whilst Earwicga and others present these tales as the whole truth and have no questions or doubts.

      As for you, do you really think Begg’s tale might be true? That one can go out shopping in a city and somehow end up in harsh mountain terrain far away, under bombardment, all in pursuit of “safety”? Yeah, right.

      Yes, some people did move. A few tens of thousands in a population of around 27 million at the time - a tiny share. According to the UNHCR, many came from Kandahar, which did see heavy fighting, unlike Kabul. These facts too should tell you something.

      As for your MSF report, it says civilians were hurt in Tora Bora. This is undoubtedly true. Did they come from outside, or were they from the region? The report doesn’t say. So you can’t use that one to back up Begg’s tale.

      The MSF story does note that it was kicked out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, alongside other aid groups. How curious, then, that Begg and Aamer were let in when those expulsions were happening.

      Aamer’s story is that he went to Afghanistan from the UK for the housing. Seriously.

      Aamer’s wife, Zin, who has found it difficult to bear the strain of being separated from her husband for so many years, says it was Shaker’s idea to leave their London home in the summer of 2001 because he felt frustrated at not having a proper home to bring up his family.

      She told The Independent in 2007: “The council couldn’t find us a flat or house in London so we decided to leave. Shaker was always helping people in England and he wanted to help the children of Afghanistan, but wasn’t sure whether he should be teaching or helping build a hospital.”

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/shaker-aamer-guantanamos-last-british-detainee-1914791.html

      Douglas, just have another drink and you’ll feel better.

    35. BenSix — on 2nd October, 2010 at 2:02 pm  

      As for you, do you really think Begg’s tale might be true?

      Yes. Refugees headed towards the Pakistani border; Tora Bora lies between the two - why not? You seem to think that reasons why he might not have done it are proof that couldn’t have. There’s a distinction between likelihood and fact. Heck, you even claim the only alternative is that he was “with al Qaeda“? Why? For all I know he might have been “with” the Taliban. We don’t know. Deal with it.

    36. BenSix — on 2nd October, 2010 at 2:06 pm  

      (Should note that I’m only throwing out a possibility, not forming a charge.)

    37. Roger — on 2nd October, 2010 at 2:14 pm  

      why not?

      Gee, I dunno, if you were running away from fighting, would you head for an area under attack from B-52s and teeming with Northern Alliance fighters and US special forces? Which was publicly known, at the time, as the number 1 Taliban and al Qaeda escape route from the war?

      The record of Begg and Cageprisoners is very clear. Jihad is what they love.

      Once again, here is Asim Qureshi of Cageprisoners saying so, loud and clear, at a Hizb ut-Tahrir rally.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXGPqyK3Srg

      “Girls’ schools” and “I went to Afghanistan for better housing” - what a lark.

    38. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 2:15 pm  

      Roger @ 34,

      Firstly, I am completely sober. So let’s put that baby to bed. I could accuse you of writing whilst under the influence of drugs or whatnot, but I don’t. So, a bit of respect for another opinion? Quite unlikely, I know.

      It is not unreasonable for a British citizen, viz Shaker Aamir or Moazzam Begg, to have tried to flee from Afghanistan. There was neither side they could rely on.

      I do not know, and neither do you, whether they built a school for girls or not. Your asumption - for the sake of the arguement - is that they did not. But you have no evidence that they didn’t. All you have is a conjecture shared with your mighty friends Brownie and Mark T.

      You do not know.

      It is reprehensible for Brownie in particular, and his chums less so, to claim that an absence of evidence is some sort of proof.

      I will say this again. The prisoners in Gitmo ought to be given legal rights, and they ought to be given Geneva Convention respect. It is not, at least to me, obvious that any of you agree. Brownie @ 16, claims otherwise, but where is the evidence that he does?

    39. BenSix — on 2nd October, 2010 at 3:15 pm  

      Roger -

      So, it’s impossible because a) you think that it’s unlikely and b) his colleague talks crap? Shall I send you a textbook on epistemology?

    40. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 3:59 pm  

      Test aka as Roger,

      Yes, and if I see fairies at the bottom of my garden, it is up to others to prove they don’t exist.

      My grandmother believed in fairies. Indeed at the bottom of the garden.

      Well, yes. it is up to rational people to prove that it is a wrongly held belief. Perhaps by going to the bottom of the garden.

      There is a reason why a court of law has a higher level of proof than seems to be the case for some commentators on this thread. It is because an absence of evidence is not evidence.

      You and Brownie strike me as a couple of gossips chatting over a fence. You have no facts, you share similar conjectures and you nod wisely at each other.

      It is pathetic.

    41. Mark T — on 2nd October, 2010 at 4:40 pm  

      There is a reason why a court of law has a higher level of proof than seems to be the case for some commentators on this thread.

      Laughable. That is - of course - the exact opposite of your own position, which is that a claim of fairies in someone’s garden should be taken as fact until it can be proven that they do not exist.

      Like all sane individuals, I treat such claims with complete scepticism until they can be proven.

      Just like Begg’s fantastical claims about building a school which has no name and no location.

    42. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 5:01 pm  

      Mark T @ 41,

      Not at all.

      Witchcraft was taken as true. You and I now find it laughable. It took a heck of a long time for that to become the consensus. So with fairies. Arthur Conan Doyle believed that the Cottingley photographs were indisputible fact. You believe that what goes on in your head is equally indisputable. It is not, and it never was.

      Like all sane individuals, I treat such claims with complete scepticism until they can be proven.

      Lest you are under some sort of misapprehension, I treat your scepticism with equal disbelief. Provide me with some evidence rather than speculation.

      The absence of evidence is not evidence, I tire of repeating myself, but take heart from the complete lack of evidence that my opponents - and that is how you treat me - have advanced.

    43. Mark T — on 2nd October, 2010 at 5:18 pm  

      The trouble is, Douglas, there is absolutely no evidence that Begg is telling the truth. We just have a claim, on his part, that he was building a school. No pictures, no names, no locations, no dates.

      Why any of this should be taken as a reason to believe Begg is beyond me.

      My scepticism is grounded in Begg’s failure to advance any of these facts (why not? what plausible reason has he for witholding them?) and his proven history of association with jihadist movements and terrorists prior to 2001.

    44. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 5:40 pm  

      I repeat, ad bloody nauseam, that I do not know whether Moazzem Begg is telling the truth or not. It is your presumption that because he is unable to advance evidence that he must be a liar that I find so dispiriting.

      It is a view that you share with other commentators on this thread, and it is an easy path to go down.

      I have my own prejudices - mainly against people like you - for I will assume the worst possible faith in you.

      I believe in the rule of law, rather than the rule of the mob that constitutes a typical Harry’s Place consensus. It is up to you to prove that Moazzem Begg is a liar and a scoundrel. You have provided zero evidence that he is, and indeed have widened the attack to include Shaker Aamir.

      It is speculation supported by fabulation. Based on what, I may ask?

      Nothing except your own prejudice.

      Go on, provide some evidence….

    45. Roger — on 2nd October, 2010 at 6:51 pm  

      What does Mr Begg himself have to say about why he went to Afghanistan? Pity for the countless victims of the Taliban? Not a bit of it. He was an admirer and it is a shame they were overthrown. From his autobiography:

      When I went to Afghanistan, I believed the Taliban had made some modest progress – in social justice and in upholding pure, old style Islamic values forgotten in many Islamic countries. After September 11 that life was destroyed

      From his account of his interrogation:

      I wanted to live in an Islamic state – one that was free from the corruption and despotism of the rest of the Muslim world.

      So you chose the Taliban?

      I chose Afghanistan. I admit I have made mistakes – but had it not been for 9/11, I think I would still be living happily in Afghanistan.

      Probably as a member of Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

      I knew you wouldn’t understand. The Taliban were better than anything Afghanistan has had in the past twenty-five years. You weren’t in Afghanistan – not before nor during the Taliban. Child sex, rape, looting, robbery, murder and opium production only ended when they took control.

      As Mark T says, Begg does indeed have a long history of associations with extremists and terrorists, going back to the 1990s.

      Since his release he has continued to push extremist politics, including the promotion of al Qaeda recruiter Anwar al Awlaki. Jihad is his life story.

      In fact, for Begg, neglecting jihad is a great sin:

      By consensus of the Islamic schools of thought, jihad becomes an individual obligation, like prayer and fasting, on Muslim men and women when their land is occupied by foreign enemies. That obligation extends to neighbouring lands until the enemy has been expelled. If the whole body of believers abandon it, they are in a state of sin; if enough of them do it to complete the task, they are absolved.

      http://www.thecordobafoundation.com/attach/Arches_issue_02x_Web.pdf

      Yet the view of so many “progressives” is “oh, I don’t know what the truth is”.

      Pathetic.

    46. damon — on 2nd October, 2010 at 7:04 pm  

      Are you happy the way the thread went earwicga?

    47. earwicga — on 2nd October, 2010 at 7:12 pm  

      It’s not unexpected damon. Obviously more information is needed about Shaker Aamer in a much more simple format for most of the commenters above.

      Cheers Douglas!

    48. Roger — on 2nd October, 2010 at 7:23 pm  

      Obviously more information is needed about Shaker Aamer in a much more simple format

      Yawn. This is earwicga’s “I’m so superior” pose when her unquestioning support for jihadis is shown up for the sickening reactionary rubbish that it is.

    49. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 7:35 pm  

      We have been here before Roger,

      “Yet the view of so many “progressives” is “oh, I don’t know what the truth is”.

      Pathetic.”

      I am not particularily progressive. Unless you mean that I think people are entitled to some fairly basic human rights.

      Anyways:

      This is what Moazzem Begg has to say about Anwar al Awlaki.

      http://old.cageprisoners.com/articles.php?id=30886

      I’d have thought the most telling paragraph was this one:

      Nonetheless, Cageprisoners never has and never will support the ideology of killing innocent civilians, whether by suicide bombers or B52s, whether that’s authorised by Awlaki or by Obama. Neither will we be forced into determining a person’s guilt outside a recognised court of law. That is one of the reasons I joined Cageprisoners.

      [Apostrophes corrected, no other changes made]

      That is hardly the ringing endorsement that you are attempting to infer Roger, now is it?

      ——————————

      Let’s take another piece of cherrypicking that seems to pass as common usage against the man.

      I knew you wouldn’t understand. The Taliban were better than anything Afghanistan has had in the past twenty-five years. You weren’t in Afghanistan – not before nor during the Taliban. Child sex, rape, looting, robbery, murder and opium production only ended when they took control.

      Which part of that statement is actually wrong, rather than argueable?

      I take it he was quite careful to speak about ‘the last twenty five years’ And he was also pretty careful to talk about the Taliban rather than Al-Quaida. Not my sort of state, to be honest, but nothing like the caricature that your side of this debate makes it out to be.

      I’d be quite interested to know whether or not you agree with me that the inmates at Gitmo are entitled to a fair trial, or living conditions. Or both.

    50. Roger — on 2nd October, 2010 at 7:56 pm  

      Nonetheless, Cageprisoners never has and never will support the ideology of killing innocent civilians

      How funny.

      Cageprisoners promoted Awlaki as an Islamic preacher and hero without any qualms or hesitation, long after it was abundantly clear to one and all that the man was an al Qaeda recruiter.

      In August 2009, in the midst of a controversy, they even refused to take a position on a known hate preacher and recruiter who blogged in the open in English:

      CP cannot comment on any other statements attributed to Imam al-Awlaki or other guests as we are unaware of their accuracy

      http://old.cageprisoners.com/articles.php?id=30185

      At the time news reports were full of rightly alarmed warnings that Awlaki was out to create terrorist mayhem, with some success.

      They did this when Awlaki was their top speaker at the annual Cageprisoners fundraiser (there’s one of many endorsements).

      Cageprisoners cares about the deaths of the civilians Awlaki and al Qaeda want murdered? Ho ho.

      Which part of that statement is actually wrong

      Er, how about starting with murder?

      What a credulous fool you are.

    51. BenSix — on 2nd October, 2010 at 8:02 pm  

      Yet the view of so many “progressives” is “oh, I don’t know what the truth is”.

      Pathetic.

      Er, Roger, there’s a difference between “bad politics” and “active terrorism“. I don’t like Begg’s views but think they’re totally irrelevant. No one deserves the treatment he received; least of all for their opinions. I “don’t know” what he was doing in Afghanistan.

    52. Lucy — on 2nd October, 2010 at 8:18 pm  

      Obama and Clinton have just apologised to the Guatamalan government for a programme of medical research conducted in 1946-48 in which doctors injected Guatamalans with venereal diseases without their knowledge or consent and yet Obama says ‘we must look forward not back’ when it comes to investigating abuse and torture in Guantanamo or in the so-called ‘secret’ matter of ‘extraordinary rendition’ and has blocked all lawsuits seeking damages for torture committed in the war on terror - (an undeclared ‘war’ in conventional terms). There has been no accountability on the part of the US for Guantanamo (except in the world court of public opinion) and it does not seem likely that there will be accountability - at least in the near future when it could make a difference to inmates who are still incarcerated without charge and those who have been released without charge. Why? Because the American Congress has blocked all efforts to have detainees tried in the US on a ‘not in my backyard’ basis. That is not justice and that fact is a very simple proposition. Politics govern that decision. Not justice. Not by a long shot. No speculation necessary there on who is guilty. The politicians are guilty of committing an injustice. That is where the complaint should be directed. Not at prisoners or former prisoners who have not been put on trial, whose captors have not been subject to cross-examination and who cannot defend themselves properly as a result.

    53. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 8:23 pm  

      Roger,

      You can insult me all you like, it appears to come with the territory of disagreeing with harry’s madhouse, but you have still failed to prove a damn thing.

      Cageprisoners cares about the deaths of the civilians Awlaki and al Qaeda want murdered? Ho ho.

      Well, that is what they say.

      I don’t see quite what your point is. It is apparently a fact that Anwar al Awlaki became violently radicalised as a consequence of his own imprisonment. Indeed some of his earlier life would appear to be a sequence of increasing polarisation. He will, presumeably, not be the first or last US evangalist to bed prostitutes.

      It is clearly the case that Moazzem Begg and Cagedprisoners distanced themselves from him. I take that at face value, you prefer a conspiracy.

      Ho, hum….

    54. earwicga — on 3rd October, 2010 at 11:49 am  

      Douglas @49, you are correct in pointing out that that quote is cherry picked and in isolation means very little. But I do have to point out that Begg’s statement ‘Child sex, rape, looting, robbery, murder and opium production only ended when they took control.’ is completely untrue. Parts of the Taliban engaged in all these things along with many other monstrous activities.

      It’s really interesting that the HP twats cannot engage with the OP which is about Shaker Aamer who has been held hostage by murderers and torturers since 2002 with no charge and indeed was cleared for release in 2007. Perhaps those facts are too difficult to engage with?

    55. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2010 at 1:09 pm  

      earwicga,

      True. But what Begg appears to be saying is that it was worse under the previous regiemes than it was under the Taliban. I agree completely that these things didn’t stop altogether, and I’d assume even Begg himself would think the final flourish in that paragraph was a hostage to fortune. It is also worth pointing out that he isn’t claiming that the Taliban were the best thing ever, he limits his time horizon to 25 years. Which takes us back to, roughly, 1985. Which rather oddly is the mid period of the Russian War in Afghanistan. So he would appear to see the early years of the Soviet occupation as being better than the Taliban? No, I don’t understand it either.

    56. Mark T — on 4th October, 2010 at 10:01 am  

      I repeat, ad bloody nauseam, that I do not know whether Moazzem Begg is telling the truth or not. It is your presumption that because he is unable to advance evidence that he must be a liar that I find so dispiriting.

      Where have I suggested that Begg must be a liar?

      As I said in the post immediately above yours, I am sceptical of his account. That is quite different from accusing him of lying.

      Try to engage with what I am actually saying, Douglas.

    57. douglas clark — on 4th October, 2010 at 10:23 am  

      Mark T,

      Perhaps you haven’t called him a liar. What you have said are things like:

      Like all sane individuals, I treat such claims with complete scepticism until they can be proven.

      and:

      The trouble is, Douglas, there is absolutely no evidence that Begg is telling the truth. We just have a claim, on his part, that he was building a school. No pictures, no names, no locations, no dates.

      Why any of this should be taken as a reason to believe Begg is beyond me.

      The latter comment in particular is just your opinion, and certainly sails a helluva close to the wind of actually calling him a liar.

      It is, of course, an arguement from incredulity.

    58. cjcjc — on 4th October, 2010 at 11:27 am  

      Has Begg really given no name, location or dates for his “school building” project?

      At all?

    59. earwicga — on 4th October, 2010 at 12:15 pm  

      Begg has cjcjc. And he has said the school has been destroyed since.

    60. cjcjc — on 4th October, 2010 at 12:40 pm  

      Link?

    61. earwicga — on 4th October, 2010 at 1:57 pm  

      Try google.

    62. cjcjc — on 4th October, 2010 at 2:03 pm  

      I have.

      No luck.

      Can you point me in the right direction?

      (I’d hate to think he/you was/were making it up…)

    63. earwicga — on 4th October, 2010 at 2:10 pm  

      I can’t help you cjcjc as I lost all my bookmarked links last week when my laptop died. I think there’s some information in Begg’s book and I have read more elsewhere but I have no idea where.

    64. douglas clark — on 4th October, 2010 at 2:45 pm  

      To be frank cjcjc, there does not appear to be a heck of a lot of physical evidence floating around. Which is sort of understandable in the case of a refugee who is arrested in Islamabad by the Pakistani Police, moved back to Baghram in Afghanistan for a year and then subsequently incarcerated for two more years in Gitmo.

      I seem to recall people in orange overalls being taken into Gitmo. Wasn’t much sign of a baggage allowance, was there? Perhaps Fed-Ex was bringing their luggage and papers along after them?

      I somehow doubt it.

    65. Mark T — on 4th October, 2010 at 3:01 pm  

      To be frank cjcjc, there does not appear to be a heck of a lot of physical evidence floating around.

      Fair enough, but cjcjc was not asking for physical evidence, he was asking for the names, dates and locations of Begg’s school project.

      Information which is not forthcoming in Begg’s book, despite claims to the contrary above, nor in his numberous media appearances.

    66. douglas clark — on 4th October, 2010 at 3:22 pm  

      cjcjc,

      The only people that are ‘making things up’ are the people that do what they have always done. They argue from incredulity. In terms of dates at least, you can cut the date range down to sometime between July and October 2001. (The apparently universally agreed dates of his entry and exit from Afghanistan). This is actually a period of less than three months.

      There is a fairly neutral NTY article from away back in 2006 that you may care to read:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/15/world/15begg.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

    67. douglas clark — on 4th October, 2010 at 3:32 pm  

      Mark T,

      Has he been on the telly or the radio recently? There certainly doesn’t seem to be any sort of Google data except something from Dawn TV, which, as it is in Urdu, is a closed book to me.

      I recall him saying something along the lines of ‘no matter what information I provide, there are people that will always ask for more. I do not feel safe here anymore [UK after Gita Sahgal spat] and am away to live elsewhere.’ That is not a direct quotation because I can’t find a link to that either.

    68. Mark T — on 4th October, 2010 at 3:38 pm  

      Begg was the subject of a half-hour programme on Radio 4 on 23rd August, entitled “Father and Son”.

      He did mention the school project during this programme, but did not venture any details.

    69. cjcjc — on 4th October, 2010 at 4:22 pm  

      “I recall him saying something along the lines of ‘no matter what information I provide, there are people that will always ask for more.”

      Though he doesn’t seem to have provided *any* info about the school, right?

      Or none that anyone can so far find!

      Argument from incredulity?

      Well, yes.

      My hand is not in the cookie jar to steal cookies.
      I am undertaking a study of the average size of cookie jar openings, that’s all.

    70. douglas clark — on 4th October, 2010 at 4:51 pm  

      cjcjc,

      He has provided some, that the school buses had the name of the school on the side, that the taliban didn’t interfere with them, minor stuff like that

      My hand is not in the cookie jar to steal cookies.
      I am undertaking a study of the average size of cookie jar openings, that’s all.

      Well, that was quite funny.

      I am not here to argue about the width of the honey jar’s opening, I am here to argue that there is no honey in the jar!

      I would reiterate that I do not know any more than you do. It is all down to interpretation of what ought to be expected of someone giving witness - I hasten to add in a legal context. Should the assumption be instinctive incredulity and, if so, at what point does that become a cruel and unusual method of discussion?

      I would, probably, think that talking to a completely unreceptive audience: folk that have already made up their minds would be a bit of a turn off. So, I can see the point of retreating into your own community where people at least listen to you. Rather than trying to make a fool of you.

      I have spent a few hours reading cageprisoners today and it is in danger of turning into a muslim only site. It ought to have better and higher objectives than that.

      I have been against Gitmo since day one, and I am no muslim. There is a far wider target audience than they appear willing to address.

    71. douglas clark — on 4th October, 2010 at 4:53 pm  

      I wonder if anyone else agrees with me that Sunny Hundal, who has credibility both as a spokesman against Gitmo, as a spokesman against prejudice against muslims and indeed as someone who is credible in the wider community should seek an interview with Moazzam Begg?

      I think this would be a fair forum for such a discussion, though the mods would need to be sharp!

    72. cjcjc — on 4th October, 2010 at 4:58 pm  

      Then you will have seen that one of the CP lot is crying over the fact he wasn’t given a US visa.
      And all he had done was stand outside the embassy a few years ago calling for the “resistance” to kill US troops.
      I mean, really. How petty those US officials can be, eh?!

    73. douglas clark — on 4th October, 2010 at 5:05 pm  

      cjcjc,

      I support the general position of CP. I do not like stuff like extraordinary rendition nor Gitmo. But you knew that. I am not ‘in bed’ with them, which should have been pretty obvious throughout this thread.

      I do, however, protect my right to stand up for Moazzam Begg against hysterical nonsense.

      (I trust my use of the word hysterical will be allowed in this context, as it appears to be levelled only at male hysterics…)

      Which is all it has been, ‘huff and puff’. And a few ad hominems, obviously…

      Which is par for the course when we are invaded by the Harry’s Place contingent.

    74. Mark T — on 4th October, 2010 at 5:34 pm  

      He has provided some, that the school buses had the name of the school on the side, that the taliban didn’t interfere with them, minor stuff like that

      That doesn’t square with his recorded testimony, where he claims to have been engaged in setting up a school. (If the school was in the process of being set up, I doubt buses would be running).

      Look, I am prepared to have an open mind on this, but the fact is that if I had been falsely accused of being a terrorist, I would have been far more forthcoming about details that would establish the real reasons for my presence in Afghanistan.

      Begg, on the other hand, has provided no details whatsoever about this school. Nothing. That’s illogical.

      I suspect that he was just being ‘slightly’ naughty rather than an out-and-out nutter - but of course that’s just a hunch. He’s been shady about this period in Afghanistan because that would obviously be detrimental to the amount of sympathy he has received.

    75. douglas clark — on 4th October, 2010 at 5:48 pm  

      Mark T,

      No I’m not ready to make nice.

      Begg has provided some information, which I have issues with, which are completely different from the ones you have brought to the table.

      I think that you should support my idea that Sunny Hundal should ask Moazzam Begg for an interview. It certainly doesn’t help his case that so little data has been released, but on the other hand giving succour to your enemy is not only a point of war, it is a point of law.

      He may very well have other reasons. Better than the ones I give above. What if the girls school is still open and he doesn’t want it targetted? Would his silence be understandable then?

      I’d accept that as a reasonable, covering, statement, and I certainly wouldn’t ask a follow up question.

      There have been a number of girls schools attacked with gas in Kabul, recently.

    76. douglas clark — on 4th October, 2010 at 6:05 pm  

      Apologies,

      So, it might not be as illogical as you assume. It might be someone remaining silent for the greater good.

      Of course, it might not.

      But there is a doubt there, is there not Mark T?

    77. Mark T — on 4th October, 2010 at 7:34 pm  

      I think that you should support my idea that Sunny Hundal should ask Moazzam Begg for an interview.

      No problems with that at all.

      He may very well have other reasons. Better than the ones I give above. What if the girls school is still open and he doesn’t want it targetted? Would his silence be understandable then?

      That could - plausibly - be a reason.

      However, there are plenty of girls’ schools open in Kabul, the names and locations of all which I am sure the Taliban are fully aware. I’m not certain why Begg would feel the need to keep quiet about his one in particular, given that the Taliban would almost certainly be aware of it. So I’m not really buying that as a reason for Begg’s lack of information.

      (That is not, of course, to deny that there could be other reasons).

    78. douglas clark — on 4th October, 2010 at 11:34 pm  

      Mark T @ 77,

      Well, that’s you and me asking Sunny to interview Mr Begg. I wonder whether Sunny will respond?

      Anyways…

      _________________________

      Yes, but, and stuff.

      I am pretty clear that if I were a sponsor of a girls school in Kabul I’d do everything in my power to keep that information away from the Taliban. For obvious reasons.

      And especially if I were ‘known in the West’ which is probably seen as a bad thing by the anti-feminist nut jobs that appear to rule right now.

      I do not know whether that is the truth or not. It is no more than a proposition.

      By the way, you are a better human being than I thought you were.

      Just saying…

    79. Mark T — on 5th October, 2010 at 9:03 am  

      By the way, you are a better human being than I thought you were.

      That’s the internet for you… And likewise.

    80. douglas clark — on 5th October, 2010 at 9:36 am  

      Mark T @ 79,

      Cheers.

    81. Brownie — on 5th October, 2010 at 11:14 am  

      He has provided some, that the school buses had the name of the school on the side, that the taliban didn’t interfere with them, minor stuff like that

      WTF? So we have a fully-functioning girls’ school in Kabul that the Taliban were aware of but ‘left alone’ that even had buses (with the name of the school on!!!!!!!!!!)? No corroboraiton from a single pupil, teacher, fellow school builder, charity worker or local Afghan. Nada. Zilch. Begg can’t/won’t say where it was, what it was called, name any person who went there or worked there. When quesitoned about this, he claims people would still disbelieve him even if he did provide informaiton.

      Begg has [given the name and location of the school] cjcjc.

      No. He. Hasn’t.

      As for not engaging with the OP, this is taken from the main body of the post:

      [Aamer]has a British wife, and four British children, the youngest of whom he has never seen. Aamer’s road to Guantánamo began when he, along with Moazzam Begg, took his family to live in Kabul, in June 2001, to work for a charity involved in humanitarian aid projects, including a girls’ school and various well-digging projects

      I realise earwicga is extracting from Worthington, but this passage presents the Begg/Aamer version of how they came to be in pre-invasion Afghanistan as FACT. It does not say this is their *claim*. It is the presentation of this story as established fact that I objected to at the top of this thread.

      Then Dougie:

      There are no established and undisputed facts you moron. There are opinions and you have no right to express your opinions as if they were fact.

      First, it strikes me you need to tell Worthington that there are no established and undisputed facts - see above. Second, I’m happy to clarify that when I say that Begg’s and Aamer’s stories of how they came to be in Afghanistan and what they did when they got there are worthy of Hans Christian Andersen himself, that this is my opinion only. What did you think it was?

      But a word to Dougie on how the law operates. If my alibi for the night my neighbour’s house is burgled is that I was down the pub, but I can’t produce a single witness to this effect and don’t bother to recount the name or location of the pub itself, I’m probably looking at 18 months. The Dougie defence of ‘it’s up to you, yer ‘Onor, to *prove* the pub doesn’t exist’ isn’t going to save me.

    82. douglas clark — on 5th October, 2010 at 11:41 am  

      Brownie,

      Not really. That is the narrative you want to tell right enough. It is you expressing incredulity and expecting everyone to swallow it. It is a load of tosh.

      So here’s another scenario:

      What if you were down the pub, it got bombed, you ran away, were captured in a foreign country, returned to torture in the original country, expatriated to Gitmo, probably without your luggage, held there for two years, and then freed without charge?

      How would you feel?

      Ready to face a judge and jury Brownie? Having had all physical evidence removed from you?

      Ready to face the court of public opinion that constitutes the ‘jury of the idiotic’ that is Harry’s Place?

      I don’t think so.

      Brownie, it took you since post 17 for you to come up with that bullshit.

      Just so’s some folk recall, this was your incredibly worthwhile contribution back then:

      Complete fucking moron it is.

      Directed at poor wee me. Boo Hoo!

      You do not own this place. On here you are just a punter like me. You are not judge and jury about what I think, nor, hopefully, what others think. So stop this bullshit of assuming you are pulling all threads of opinion together to support your stupid ideas.

      Lest there be any doubt, Brownie is an idiot.

    83. cjcjc — on 5th October, 2010 at 12:10 pm  

      Well I would tell people the name of the pub and its address, at least…

      Other people would probably then say, yes, we remember that pub on that corner, and so on.

      Honestly.
      You really do have the telescope to your blind eye again, Lord Nelson!!

    84. douglas clark — on 5th October, 2010 at 12:37 pm  

      cjcjc,

      Not really. It seems to me that there might be a good reason to remain silent about the name and address of the pub (girls school). You do not seem to have accepted that as an arguement yet.

      Please do not join the troupe of three idiotic monkeys who see evil, hear evil and speak evil. It does not become you.

    85. cjcjc — on 5th October, 2010 at 12:45 pm  

      “You do not seem to have accepted that as an arguement yet.”

      It’s a very weak one.

      I mean, come on, the buses had the school name on but he can’t say what it was or where it was?

      **Just my opinion** as you would say, my lord admiral!

    86. douglas clark — on 5th October, 2010 at 12:59 pm  

      cjcjc,

      Why is it a weak arguement? It at least explains the lack of willingness of Moazzam Begg to clarify matters for your delectation and amusement. Frankly, why the hell should he?

      Is it true?

      Dunno.

      But it is another point of view to the heinous bullshit Brownie spouts. There is never any criticism by you of Brownie here, is there cjcjc? Are we all supposed to bow down and accept that whatever Brownie says is the last word in analytical thought?

      It isn’t now and it never was.

      I refer you to any of the posts that he has written above. He is keen to use ad hominem, he is delighted to speak from incredulity, he couldn’t argue his way out of a wet paper bag without insult or dodgy analogy. That is who you support cjcjc.

      Jolly good.

    87. cjcjc — on 5th October, 2010 at 1:13 pm  

      Sorry but In this instance, yes.

      Jolly good.

    88. Brownie — on 6th October, 2010 at 1:00 am  

      Why is it a weak arguement? It at least explains the lack of willingness of Moazzam Begg to clarify matters for your delectation and amusement.

      No it doesn’t. The school has been destroyed according to Begg. So what is he afraid of? That the Taliban come waltzing into Kabul to blow up a destroyed school?

      What if you were down the pub, it got bombed, you ran away, were captured in a foreign country, returned to torture in the original country, expatriated to Gitmo, probably without your luggage, held there for two years, and then freed without charge?

      I’m pretty certain my wife would want to know why I’d buggered off to another country just becasue the Dog and Duck went up in smoke.

      I’ve consistently opposed Gitmo, which you’d know by now if you ever bothered reading my comments instead of switching to default Dougie mode. I recognise there is a very real issue about what should be done with enemy combatants who cannot be repatriated because their home countries either do not want them or would torture them if they were returned. The old rules when you simply repatriated POWs at a cessation of hostilities were written for a different era. But this conundrum doesn’t validate the existence of Gitmo in my book, and it never has. So you need to stop attributing views to me that I do not hold.

      You do not own this place. On here you are just a punter like me. You are not judge and jury about what I think, nor, hopefully, what others think. So stop this bullshit of assuming you are pulling all threads of opinion together to support your stupid ideas.

      I recognise all the words, but even after a third reading, most of it makes no sense. But for the record, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass what you think or how unlikely it is I will ever persuade you of anything, but I neither require nor request your permission to voice an opinion, which in this case is that Begg’s and Aamer’s stories read like pure fantasy. Now, contest this view by all means, but don’t pretend you have a coherent, plausible alternative theory. You don’t, and your barely intelligible ramblings here confirm that.

      Chin, chin!

    89. damon — on 6th October, 2010 at 2:58 am  

      About six Germans and one British guy got zapped by a drone in Pakistan in the last few days.
      Should we be upset? It could have been some people setting up a girls school.

    90. Sarah AB — on 6th October, 2010 at 6:56 am  

      It seems a pity that hardly any of the comments address the substantive issues in the post - I think a slightly more sceptical and less accepting take on Aamer in Andy Worthington’s piece (which need not exclude the possibility that he was completely innocent, just acknowledge that there is *some* uncertainty around him and Begg as well) would have encouraged people to focus on the abuses.

    91. Sarah AB — on 6th October, 2010 at 7:05 am  

      And if he had been just a bit more sceptical about Aamer the description of the abuse itself would have seemed more credible. It may all be true, I don’t know, but the fact that he is publishing this on the CP website (something I didn’t notice at first) doesn’t inspire complete confidence.

    92. earwicga — on 6th October, 2010 at 9:18 am  

      Innocence or guilt has absolutely nothing to do with the treatment Shaker Aamer has received. Even if he had been charged with a crime and had been tried and found guilty (all things that have NOT happened) it would bear no relevance. That people are confusing the two is disgusting.

    93. Brownie — on 6th October, 2010 at 10:22 am  

      Innocence or guilt has absolutely nothing to do with the treatment Shaker Aamer has received. Even if he had been charged with a crime and had been tried and found guilty (all things that have NOT happened) it would bear no relevance. That people are confusing the two is disgusting.

      Me at #16: Begg and Aamer might be dyed-in-the-wool terrorists; they’d still be entitled to due process. I’m not advocating a denial of due process to them or anyone else.

      And if he had been just a bit more sceptical about Aamer the description of the abuse itself would have seemed more credible. It may all be true, I don’t know, but the fact that he is publishing this on the CP website (something I didn’t notice at first) doesn’t inspire complete confidence.

      This is the crux. Any objective reader will regard the Aamer and Begg stories of how they came to be in Afghanistan and what they did whilst there a little suspect, at the very least. If requests for further detail are met with a stony silence, then people can’t be criticised for concluding that their stories of ritual abuse at the hands of their captors are similarly dodgy. Which is actually very sad, given my genuine belief is that Begg and Aamer probably were maltreated, albeit I suspect their accounts are somewhat embelished.

      I really would be less inclined to engage in this sort of discussion if post authors didn’t uncritically regurgitate the claims of Aamer, Begg et al as incontestable truth, only to get all huffy whenever anyone points out the fantastical nature of some of the claims.

    94. Sarah AB — on 6th October, 2010 at 10:29 am  

      I think I agree with Brownie - though I also agree with earwicga that whether they committed the crimes isn’t the main point - which is what Brownie thinks too of course - what I was saying, though, was that it distracts from the really important points raised in earwicga’s post if the post actively or even just implicitly assumes that these men have told the whole truth about every circumstance. If the post had been more along the lines - ‘we can’t be quite sure exactly what Aamer and Begg were up to before they were arrested but there are good reasons to suspect they have been shamefully mistreated, and the fact that they may not have been completely innocent makes that maltreatment no less shameful’ - that would be fine.

    95. cjcjc — on 6th October, 2010 at 10:33 am  

      SarahAB - exactly.

    96. Lucy — on 6th October, 2010 at 5:15 pm  

      It is not a question simply of saying he should not be mistreated. Who here is going to suggest that he should be mistreated? If he is not going to be put on trial, he should be freed. That’s all. The demand should be : either put him on trial or let him go or the British government should call for him to be sent back here. Innocent until proven guilty. Do we really need to be reminded of that? Or the fact that the Obama regime is not putting this man on trial and the UK government is not bringing him to the UK? He is in prison, in limbo, and he should not be there!

      Obama complains that Democrats are ‘whining’ rather than supporting him and his party in the forthcoming elections. Apparently, according to his logic, the reason and the only reason for voting for him is that the other guys are patently so much worse. They may be. But he has done diddley squat to ‘change’ the world as he promised. US policies on war, torture, rendition and detention have not got better or more enlightened since he came into office.
      He has escalated the war in Afghanistan and into Pakistan so much so that Pakistan is a country suffering the reality of living in parts of it under the blitz - a drone blitz - but no less the equivalent of the blitz. Beyond that, back in the USA, his ‘security’ regime seems incapable of recognising real terrorist threats when they have been telegraphed well in advance (the underpants bomber) but well capable of setting up phoney sting entrapments of poor Muslims in the US, incarcerating non-terrorists for a lifetime when all they did was stop resisting the blandishments of persistent, pesky paid former criminal FBI informers.
      [http://www.democracynow.org/ Wednesday October 6, 2010]

      But the main discontent is Obama and his not having the guts to push when he could have done to put the Guantanamo detainees on trial in the US. Now the atmosphere in the US is far far more toxic and anti-Muslim than it ever used to be…no shortage of blame for this is thanks to Obama’s cowardice and his Faustian bargain with his predecessor’s politics. (It is not all to do with the Tea Party designating Obama a martian or a secret Muslim or whatever…). By not taking an upright stand - that many expected - on Guantanamo, torture and rendition, among other things, Obama has, in part, allowed the drift into such ridiculousness as the questioning of his birth and religious affiliation. He is just not a stand-up kind of guy. But it is also easy to see that the build-up of fear of Muslims domestically makes it easier for the US Administration to justify the confusing and unpopular war in Afghanistan and now Pakistan. Not much hope for a call for justice for the detainees still in Guantanamo in such circumstances. But clarity is what is important, however difficult actually obtaining justice may be. This is where the thrust of the anger should be directed - at both Obama and those responsible for the corruption of American democratic institutions that has led to the failure to put the Guantanamo detainees on trial and the failure to prevent the abuse that many have suffered in their detention. The UK government should be pushed to demand justice for those detained in Guantanamo, particularly Shaker Aamer. And if he is not going to be tried, he should be released and returned to the UK.

    97. salim — on 6th October, 2010 at 5:34 pm  

      damon

      The number in Guantanamo is very small.
      Compared to the 14,000 prisoners in New York City’s Rikers Island prison it’s nothing.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rikers_Island

      er… yes… but they’ve actually been convicted of a crime after a proper trial. The hostages in Gitmo havent.

    98. Sarah AB — on 6th October, 2010 at 6:59 pm  

      Lucy - I think I focused on mistreatment because that was what struck me most about the post.

      Pakistan isn’t just suffering from US drone attacks.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-10648909

      But I do think your questions about Shaker Aamer seem very pertinent.

    99. Lucy — on 6th October, 2010 at 9:06 pm  

      Sarah - I didn’t write what I did because I wanted to single you or anyone else out. If it read that way, it was not intended. I agree that it might be uncomfortable-making to think we are being asked to assent to a description of someone which we can’t readily check out. But I wanted to post something that didn’t ‘give up’ on Shaker Aamer - that is on his basic human right to be charged, have a fair trial, or be released or sent back to the UK - just because we can’t know for sure what he may or may not have done. We have established traditions of justice - at least in theory.

      Drones and other excesses. Is it a contest of who kills the most or least? (Rhetorical question) Not really - if we talk about these matters at all it must be because we must have some inner concept of a just war. And I cannot see that our participation is doing more good than harm. I’m understating what I really think. What we are doing is not right, in my view, not justifiable. On drones specifically or similar - Perhaps I also have a quaint reflex of disgust at people killing other people without making themselves vulnerable to being killed.

    100. Brownie — on 6th October, 2010 at 11:05 pm  

      But I wanted to post something that didn’t ‘give up’ on Shaker Aamer – that is on his basic human right to be charged, have a fair trial, or be released or sent back to the UK – just because we can’t know for sure what he may or may not have done. We have established traditions of justice – at least in theory.

      It’s not a simple as that. Forget Aamer for a second as the exact circumstances of his apprehension are contested, but at least some of the inmates at Gitmo were enemy combatnats picked up in theatre. In any other era, these would be prisoners of war and, following cessation of hostilities, the obligation on the state holding such POWs is to repatriate them. In this case, there is neither a cessation nor, very often, a host state willing to have these detainees repatriated, or a host state deemed suitable for repatriation purposes (as in, our treaty obligations prevent us sending Yemeni dissidents back to Yemen to be tortured, for example). There is no (or often not) a criminal law aspect to any of this. And even when there is, there is the question of jurisdiction (can the US prosecute ‘criminals’ picked up in the Tora Bora who aren’t suspected of committing any offences on US soil?).

      The mistake the US made was not to confer POW status on those actors picked up on the battlefield, or suspected of trying to kill coalition troops. I’m not excusing Gitmo, but the fact remains that the Geneva Conventions were written in an era when war was fought on a battlefield between state actors and ended with accords. Today, it’s often asynchronous warfare fought against non-state actors.

      The reality is that options are limited, especially for any country which takes seriously its duty of care to its citizenry.

    101. Lucy — on 7th October, 2010 at 10:53 am  

      Non state actors? Do the drones wear uniforms? Are the drones going to be detained? I suppose the drones can be considered as participating in a ‘war on terror’, so loosely defined that it can encompass just about anything. Eventually, no ‘innocents’ will be killed, because everybody will bear a grudge - hence they’ll lose their innocence and join the terrorist category of legitimate targets, not that in practice they aren’t there already.

      I don’t think forgetting about Aamer is on the cards. He is still languishing in Guantanamo - getting him out from under that immoral detention is the object of the exercise at the top of this thread.

    102. douglas clark — on 7th October, 2010 at 11:40 pm  

      Brownie @ 88,

      Your complete discomfort at being challenged on your narrative, for let us make no mistake, it is narrative, is beyond parody. ‘Cause you don’t like it, you go into full metal jacket attack mode. You are genuinely pathetic.

      —————————————-

      Anything that contradicts you is given the full Brownie treatment, the full blast of misunderstanding, misinterpretation, lack of good faith and the usual shit about someone who doesn’t swallow all your disassembly as absolute truth, being subject to every callumny under the sun. Yup, par for the course, and I’m talking about Moazzem Begg here, not me. Although if the cap fits, maybe I should wear it too.

      I have been - relative to you at least - quite clear to oppose what you propose. I have provided an alternative analysis to your fixated pronouncements, which is all they are really.

      Is it beyond you that Moazzem Begg may have folk that he still cares about to protect in Kabul? People that were involved in that school? People he does not want exposed just to satisfy your idle curiosity?

      You like to take the high ground in these discussions, as if you had an insight into the minds of people you do not know Brownie.

      You do not.

      You never have, and with the lack of empathy you display here, you never will.

      It is really a shame that you and your whole crew jump to one conclusion when numerous other ones are available.

      You are a fixated bully, Brownie, get back on your meds….

      [If anyone else is still reading this thread, and I do not care if Brownie is or not, one, minor correction to the creaking analogy. Moazzem Begg became separated from his wife after they left Kabul, so Brownie's comparison to his misdeeds in the past are just another bit of spin.]

    103. douglas clark — on 8th October, 2010 at 7:37 am  

      Brownie,

      Have you ever admitted you were wrong?

      The mistake the US made was not to confer POW status on those actors picked up on the battlefield, or suspected of trying to kill coalition troops.

      What?

      And Geneva Convention Rights and stuff like that Brownie?

      A step too far for you perhaps:

      I’m not excusing Gitmo, but the fact remains that the Geneva Conventions were written in an era when war was fought on a battlefield between state actors and ended with accords. Today, it’s often asynchronous warfare fought against non-state actors.

      It seems to many of us that there was a battlefield and it was called Afghanistan. The fact remains, Brownie, that the Geneva Conventions ought to have been applied and shits like you and the US State Department are in denial.

      You are an apologist for torture, so you are….

      The reality is that options are limited, especially for any country which takes seriously its duty of care to its citizenry.

      No, not really. There is the opportunity to treat your enemies with decency, or not. You side with the ‘not’. You are some sort of idiot.

    104. Sarah AB — on 8th October, 2010 at 7:42 am  

      No problem Lucy - I take the point about drones.

      Brownie - I don’t have the same problem with many of the issues you raise as other commenters here - but I’d be interested to know if you agree Aamer should be returned to the UK. I feel rather ignorant about the issues but I’ve read nothing to make me feel he shouldn’t be.

    105. douglas clark — on 8th October, 2010 at 7:50 am  

      I don’t have the same problem with many of the issues you raise as other commenters here

      Well, I do.

      The man is an idiot. Worse than that, a sleekit wee idjit.

      It is worth asking your new friend whether of not he signed up for the ‘Euston Manifesto’ or not.

      I think you’ll find that he did.

      How to spread democracy through violence. A seminal text on stupidity…

    106. earwicga — on 8th October, 2010 at 10:31 am  

      Brownie:

      The mistake the US made was not to confer POW status on those actors picked up on the battlefield, or suspected of trying to kill coalition troops.

      Quite. Huge mistake. What about those not picked up ‘on the battlefield’? Those who were sold by the ISI etc. and taken from their homes?

    107. cjcjc — on 8th October, 2010 at 10:41 am  

      “get back on your meds…”

      Hmmm, a bit of pot calling kettle there, Admiral!

    108. douglas clark — on 8th October, 2010 at 12:28 pm  

      cjcjc @ 107,

      Hello again! Have you got a favourite band with Brownie attached to your wrist? Have you actually nominated Brownie as your favourite science fiction author?

      Are you so detached from reality that you think Brownie is right, rather than having no case, no arguement, and a first class honours degree in being an insulting bigot?

      That is what your chum is. A bigot with attitude. And you are a sleazy wee git too.

    109. douglas clark — on 8th October, 2010 at 2:53 pm  

      Anyways cjcjc,

      I always thought you were a tit. Now I know you are a druggie like Brownie. Emflamed by your own words.

      What a charming analogy….

      A couple of folk in a love in….

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