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(This is not a brand-new article, but I came across it today and was shocked that I had never seen it mentioned before.  I ran a search of the diaries and couldn't find anything, but I am not the most fluent user of dkos's search system, so if this is a repeat, let me know and I will delete.)

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.

More below...

Here is a snippet from the article...


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?

Originally posted to rhapsaria on Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 02:53 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I hope they do a movie and (4.00)
    make a billion dollars and use what they make to hire lawyers to put these idiotic wingnut criminals in jail for the rest of their miserable lives.
  •  Hadn't seen this either (4.00)
    Thanks for calling attention to this case, and to the linked Newsday article.

    As Badr and Dost fought for their freedom, they had enormous advantages over Guantanamo's 500-plus other captives.

    The brothers are university-educated, and Badr, who holds a master's degree in English literature, was one of few prisoners able to speak fluently to the interrogators in their own language. And since both men are writers, much of their lives and political ideas are on public record here in books and articles they have published.

    A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Flex Plexico, declared this summer that "there was no mistake" in the brothers' detention because it "was directly related to their combat activities [or support] as determined by an appropriate Department of Defense official." U.S. officials declined to discuss the case, so no full picture is available of why it took so long for the pair to be cleared.

    Somebody should press this question, which DoD official?

    The whole article is well worth reading.  Recommended.

  •  The Court Jester Always Hangs First (4.00)
    Regardless of political bent, it seems the jester always hangs first.  
  •  As an Immigrant... (none)
    a very, very longtime immigrant, I am very interested in the laws you mention that makes it easier to revoke citizenship.  Got a link?

    Embrace diversity. Not everyone is intelligent.

    by FLDemJax on Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 03:43:28 PM PST

    •  a couple of things... (4.00)
      I was making reference to a couple of things.  

      Firstly, we have the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 (more commonly known as Patriot Act 2).  Now, I know this hasn't passed, but its worth a look, if only because it really does help highlight the Bush Admin's long-term goals.  You can get some basic info here and here.  Some of the more horrifying aspects of this legislation are the provisions that allow a US citizen to be stripped of their citizenship if they are found to be members of, or giving financial support to, terrorist organizations.  All labels, of course, defined by the US government and not subject to appeal.

      This is something that impacts all citizens, though.  However, there have been lots of things targeting immigrants and/or foreign nationals.  Example, the Total Information Awareness program.  While this was apparently disallowed, according to the Nation article I linked above, Congress did allow it to continue gathering info on foreign nationals.

      Further, over the last few years, there have been naturalized US citizens who have had their citizenship revoked so that they can be deported.  A fast Google came up with a couple of examples here:


      A large number of Muslim immigrants, including hundreds of Pakistanis, have been deported since 9/11 but most of them were visitors, guest workers and green card holders. Naturalized American citizens were deported only if they were found guilty of having lied in their naturalization applications about a criminal record.

      But the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals has now allowed the government to revoke the citizenship of Lionel Jean-Baptiste, originally a Haitian national, and start deportation proceedings against him.

      The precedent-setting case marks the first time in the court's jurisdictional area that the government is seeking to revoke the citizenship of a naturalized person who was indicted, arrested and convicted after becoming a citizen.

      This courtesy of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004, which allows the government to open deportation proceedings if they suspect one to be a terrorist, or to have dealings with terrorists.

      The most fundamental flaw with these laws, in my humble opinion, is that they suspend habeus corpus - there is no requirement that the government actually prove the person is a terrorist.  One such case (and I can't, for the life of me, remember the name of the guy, so the Googling is turning up nada) was with a guy who was arrested on suspicion of aiding the 9/11 bombers.  After years in prison, the government still could not make their case.  So they simply stripped him of citizenship and deported him to ... I believe it was Saudi Arabia.  Where is the protection of the innocent here?

      •  Holy Crap! (none)
        Hair on fire time.  This is awful!  How about a case where ANY naturalized citizen, having lived here ANY number of years, is suddenly no longer a citizen and sent back to their country of origin?  What about if they were a citizen for 20 years?  30? 40?  What if the crime was say a burglary, or a petty drug crime, or even a misdemeanor automobile infraction.  What's the limits?

        It is easy to imagine a scenario where all anyone not born in this country could be easily sent to their original country, saving America the cost of a trial and incarceration.

        That just blows my mind that something might come up where I, someone who has been an American in all of my active memory (I was 5 when naturalized), could suddenly find myself shipped out.

        Guess I better not get into trouble with the law.  I have a really good job someone native-born might want.

        Embrace diversity. Not everyone is intelligent.

        by FLDemJax on Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 02:25:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I saw the article over the weekend (none)
    in the Boston Globe. Today, I'm teaching ninth-graders the rights guaranteed by the Northwest Ordinance, and I had to explain to them what habeas corpus is.

    Or should I say was, because it sure doesn't look like it's respected anymore in the America I live in.

    And these fuckers dare to call themselves patriots! If Bush, Cheney, et al had an ounce of understanding of what the founders actually fought for, they'd all go hang themselves for treason.

    The right wing is neo-mercantilist, against a neo-capitalist/neo-socialist left. Stirling Newberry

    by litho on Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 03:52:29 PM PST

  •  Recommend This Diary (none)
    People just don't get it, even on this site, when I complain about Gitmo and the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. rot.

    People need to understand. It's no laughing matter.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 04:06:34 PM PST

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