I came across an article on Newsday.com today that chronicles the story of two brothers who write political satire in Afghanistan, who were detained in 2002 and spent 3 years in Gitmo due to a piece that they wrote in 1998 that takes a poke at Bill Clinton.
Badr Zaman Badr and his brother Abdurrahim Muslim Dost relish writing a good joke that jabs a corrupt politician or distills the sufferings of fellow Afghans. Badr admires the political satires in "The Canterbury Tales" and "Gulliver's Travels," and Dost wrote some wicked lampoons in the 1990s, accusing Afghan mullahs of growing rich while preaching and organizing jihad. So in 2002, when the U.S. military shackled the writers and flew them to Guantanamo among prisoners whom Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared "the worst of the worst" violent terrorists, the brothers found life imitating farce.
For months, grim interrogators grilled them over a satirical article Dost had written in 1998, when the Clinton administration offered a $5-million reward for Osama bin Laden. Dost responded that Afghans put up 5 million Afghanis -- equivalent to $113 -- for the arrest of President Bill Clinton.
"It was a lampoon ... of the poor Afghan economy" under the Taliban, Badr recalled. The article carefully instructed Afghans how to identify Clinton if they stumbled upon him. "It said he was clean-shaven, had light-colored eyes and he had been seen involved in a scandal with Monica Lewinsky," Badr said.
The interrogators, some flown down from Washington, didn't get the joke, he said. "Again and again, they were asking questions about this article. We had to explain that this was a satire." He paused. "It was really pathetic."
The article is here...
The whole situation left me shocked, and more than a bit scared. Every violation of civil rights committed in the name of the "war on terror" is a horrible thing. I can't imagine how anyone with an ounce of morals and human decency would not feel outraged. Furthermore, common sense dictates that we should all be very afraid - if they have no qualms about doing this to a human being, then how long before they get nervy enough to try it out here, citizenship be damned? Already, they have put laws on the book that make it easier to revoke the citizenship of immigrants that aren't even guilty of anything. When will they stretch their long arm of "justice" even further? Should Jon Stewart be secreted away to an unspecified location somewhere?
And then, of course, the other frightening prospect is ... if it was that hard for satirists to prove their innocense, what chance does anyone else in Gitmo have? How many innocent people are being held in Gitmo; how many of them have been there for years?