Friday, 6 February 2009

Heartless obfuscation.

The Sun has major form in repeatedly playing down the abuses conducted in the name of the "war on terror". In probably the most despicable instance, it called the beating to death of Baha Mousa in Iraq a "so-called crime", even after one soldier had been sentenced to prison for admitting his role in his death. It almost completely ignored the Abu Ghraib scandal, and has printed hardly anything whatsoever about extraordinary rendition. Only a couple of weeks ago it denounced David Miliband for daring to suggest that the use of the phrase "war on terror" had been unhelpful and even counter-productive. It's therefore not much of a surprise to know that it doesn't want Binyam Mohamed, the last British resident at Guantanamo Bay, to return to this country. It's the obfuscation involved in its argument that really rankles:

LET’S concentrate on the undisputed facts about Binyam Mohamed, the Guantanamo terror suspect who claims he was tortured.

FACT: Mohamed, an Ethiopian, sought asylum here in 1994 and was allowed to stay till 2000.

FACT: In 2001, after converting to Islam, he disappeared to the Taliban badlands of Afghanistan, saying it was to kick a drug habit.

FACT: In 2002 he tried TWICE to fly to Britain from Pakistan on a false passport bearing the picture of another man.


To begin with, Mohamed naturally only "claims" that he was tortured. Presumably whoever wrote this leader then assumes that Mohamed, who had his penis repeatedly slashed with a razor while he was in Moroccan custody and has the scars to prove it, something that MI6 has admitted they might have helped with due to their providing information about him to the Americans, did so himself as an alternative to masturbation. Likewise, it's a fact that Mohamed was a resident here, even though he was not an actual citizen. On these grounds David Miliband has already requested his release. Also a fact is that while Mohamed did travel to Afghanistan, although what exactly the "Taliban badlands" are is anyone's guess, he went to Pakistan after 9/11. The last "fact" seems to be completely irrelevant: as long as Mohamed was a resident here and his presence was perfectly legal, that he was travelling on a false passport is neither here nor there.

Now, it is thought, the Government is preparing to let Mohamed return.

Arguments continue about whether his alleged confessions were made under duress by security agents trying to stop terrorist atrocities.


These arguments are only occurring in the Sun's mind: no one else disputes that Mohamed was tortured. Why else was he flown from Pakistan to Morocco, then Afghanistan and finally to Guantanamo if it wasn't for the purpose of extracting information from him through mistreatment? Were these in fact just holiday trips disguised as torture sessions? Similarly, the idea that these were by security agents desperate to stop "terrorist atrocities" is both a joke and a disgraceful semi-justification for what is both a crime and completely counter-productive.

But one fact is certain: We DON’T want him back.

Err, except that isn't a fact: that's a statement. It's also one that shows the true heartlessness of the Sun: this is a man that has been viciously tortured, not convicted of any crime and whose detention and abuse we have connived with, and yet the Sun would still have him turned away from the country which he called home, presumably to waste away as he is currently doing in Guantanamo. The paper, as always, only believes in justice for those it deems acceptable.

1 comment:

James I McAnespy said...

I generally agree with the piece, but I don't think the fact that he was travelling on a false passport is irrelevant - that raises reasonable suspicion of some form of more significant illegal activity.