'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Life and Times of Binyam Mohammed (Part 2) 

From the Daily Mail, courtesy of Lenin's Tomb:

A British ‘resident’ held at Guantanamo Bay was identified as a terrorist after confessing he had visited a ‘joke’ website on how to build a nuclear weapon, it was revealed last night.

Binyam Mohamed, a former UK asylum seeker, admitted to having read the ‘instructions’ after allegedly being beaten, hung up by his wrists for a week and having a gun held to his head in a Pakistani jail.
It was this confession that apparently convinced the CIA that they were holding a top
Al Qaeda terrorist.

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the offending article – called How To Build An H-Bomb – was first published in a US satirical magazine and later placed on a series of websites.

Written by Barbara Ehrenreich, the publication’s food editor, Rolling Stone journalist Peter Biskind and scientist Michio Kaku, it claims that a nuclear weapon can be made ‘using a bicycle pump’ and with liquid uranium ‘poured into a bucket and swung round’.

Despite its clear satirical bent, the story led the CIA to accuse 30-year-old Mohamed, a caretaker, of plotting a dirty bomb attack, before subjecting him to its ‘extraordinary rendition programme’.

During his eight-year imprisonment, Mohamed has allegedly been flown to secret torture centres in Pakistan, Morocco, an American-run jail known as the Dark Prison near Kabul in Afghanistan and, finally, to Guantanamo Bay.

Sadly, we can expect more tragedies of this kind, except that they are likely to take place at Bagram air base in Afghanistan instead of Guantanamo. I have always believed that the practices associated with the so-called "war on terror", such as indefinite detention, torture and rendition, have been driven more by the desire to abuse Arabs and Muslims in response to 9/11 than by security concerns. One can certainly construe the experience of Mohammed as proof of it.

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