@PaulRyan said, “The law is the law. If the president takes illegal action on Guantanamo, we will be ready to respond,” which totally ignores the vast illegality of #Guantanamo. George Orwell pointed out that “if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed then the lie passed into history and became truth.”
Guantanamo is a lie. Illegal from its inception, it tramples the Rule of Law, and denies basic rights, which all Americans hold as sacred, to the human beings held there. We can next expect Ryan’s Republicans to next tell us: War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
Denying the injustice of Guantanamo steers America away from its historical moral evolution. Only by admitting the hard truths can we move to more Peaceful Tomorrows. @bruce121Contact
Shaker Aamer, the last British resident to be held in Guantanamo Bay, has been released, having been detained there for 13 years.
He was captured by bounty hunters in 2001 while doing charity work in Afghanistan. George W Bush (2007) and Barack Obama (2009) both cleared him for release…a long time ago. Guantanamo now holds only those never convicted of anything. Mr. Aamer had never even been charged with anything!
Only when we embrace the rule of law will America be respected in the world. This is the path to more peaceful tomorrows.
Protests against America's Guantanamo torture prison erupted as President Obama toured South Africa. It's not bad enough that the Obama administration keeps supporting al-Qaeda recruitment with it's foreign policy, but this latest display of weakness is a winner!
Visiting South Africa, which harbors al-Qaeda training camps, without a public statement of dissaproval, much less drone strikes, shows a lack of will that AQ will no doubt use to its own advantage.
"The camps are in three locations in South Africa: the former
apartheid police base at Vlakplaas, a secluded farm in the Klein Karoo and
another location in the Eastern Cape." [NEWS24] NOTE: The SA government and others have disupted this report.
by Rita Lazar of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
A sargent who showed us the holding cells in which the prisoners are
kept between leaving their prison cells and entering the courtroom also
showed us the chairs in which those being chained and force fed and
asked us if they weren’t “nice and comfortable looking”.
moment reminded me of the marine guard, behind the gates to the newly
opened american embassy in Kabul in Jan. 2002 who told me to “have a
nice day” after I brought a grieving Afghan woman who had lost 8 members
of her family when one of our bombs missed its target and hit her home,
to deliver her translated written story to the ambassador, since she
had been turned away from that gate the day before and told “go away, we
don’t admit beggars”.
and check out the article by her daughter in Rolling Stone: What Happens to Justice in a Perpetual War?
In a not surprising
vote, America’s House of Representatives denied President Obama’s efforts to
close the extra-legal prison at Guantanamo Bay. In a blatant and unfounded
distortion of reality Armed
Services Committee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif. claimed
the move “supports our
troops and their families."
Republican’s refusal to admit the fact that keeping Guantanamo functioning will increase
motivation for further terrorist attacks is symptomatic of America’s emotional
need to ignore the local and global effects of U.S. policy. It is much easier
to blame “extremist religious beliefs” and be done with it.
"Intelligence (noun). The ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations." 
America is losing the “War on Terror.” In
the aftermath of 9/11 we suffered from panicked, instinctive reactions that have
driven errors in preparation, immediate response, long and short term planning,
This led to policy decisions that make us more, not less, vulnerable to
terrorist attacks. The distorted thinking and over-reactive responses also
negatively impacted our justice system and collective sense of values.
The errors. Perhaps
the most important strategic error was our declaring a “War on Terror,” with
its implication of the possibility of a final victory. The war rhetoric guides
our responses to violent actions that have unexpected results exactly because
we are dealing with terrorist mindsets and not with classical, international
Drone war generates more terrorists than it kills because of the recruiting
power of the perceived atrocities that the U.S. commits with its targeted
killings and consequent deaths of innocent civilians. The insertion of American
troops into Arab lands has become a powerful part of al Qaeda’s global narrative
of terrorism. They refer these ‘occupations’ often in Inspire Magazine
and other media, to justify martyrdom operations.
The creation of Guantanamo Prison, the use of extraordinary rendition, torture
and the creation of numerous ‘black sites’ are also used as recruitment
Presidency has taken extraordinary powers unto itself making the Office of
President judge, jury, and final word on assassinations of both citizens and
non-citizens alike. There has been a strong backlash among local populations
that serves to engender widespread and strong resentment against the U.S. This
serves to radicalize people already suspicious of American motives. The
radicalized are those most prone to take the next step: becoming radicalized to
violence. (Moghaddam) Our policies are aiding the
difficult emotional step of accepting, as honorable, the indiscriminate killing
in the name of a ‘higher’ cause, i.e., becoming a terrorist.
home we have taken drastic, and sometimes ludicrous, measures to ‘ensure
safety.’ The Patriot Act has taken constitutional rights away from Americans. The
Homeland Security airport procedures and random searches in subway stations have
become expensive exercises that serve mainly to terrorize people who are going
about their daily business. Media, Government, and Law Enforcement ‘experts’ have
consistently framed the dangers as imminent when they are of relatively low
risk. Little of their pronouncements are backed by science. Our overall
response to 9/11 was and continues to be one of exaggeration and
Why have we made Errors in Judgment? The sciences that study thought
processes, especially those manifest under stress, are revealing distortions in
logic that act beneath our usual awareness. These distortions cause errors in
thinking and lead to inevitable errors in judgment. This logical chain is
demonstrable in the laboratory and is predictable, mainly within the science of
cognitive and social-cognitive studies. Psychological influences on our
individual and group responses to fear and outside threats are measurable and
help to explain our individual, national, and government reactions to 9/11.
science teaches us that negativity bias causes us to pay attention to and give
more weight to our fears of attack than is warranted by facts. It’s only
natural, as is the effect of loss aversion. This fear of losing our lives moves
the government and the population at large to accept huge costs to avoid what
might be small chances of attacks. Threats generate changes in thought that are
more conservative and more accepting of immediate violent solutions. (Cohen)
International war becomes an acceptable, even welcome, response. Under stress we
tend to replace logical thinking with black and white
views, rigidity, and closed-mind perception. (Hudson)
mechanisms facilitate the manipulation of popular perceptions. What the
‘experts’ say tends to be taken, by most people, at face value with little
Basic flaws in understanding the nature of terrorist organizations and their
mindset lead to false conclusions about the best way to thwart their efforts. This
interferes with our critical ability to “Pay attention to the impact of US
action/policy on Terrorism’s thinking, beliefs, and goals.”
One example was the persistence of “Black Sites”, at one time involving over 50
countries, which yielded little actionable data but functioned as a constant
source of propaganda for terrorists. In each of those countries the local
Islamists have ‘proof’ that the local government is a partner to the America’s
has likewise been more advantageous to al Qaeda than to the “War on Terror.” The
‘top level terrorist operatives’ that are assassinated are quickly replaced and
the effect on the terrorist groups is generally minimal and short-lived. The
longer-term effects of our quick-response violence against terrorists is an
area worthy of more study.
and Veldhuis delineate a number of misperceptions that skew decision making
about strategy, tactics, and policy:
fear is not commensurate with the numbers of actual incidents.
leads to overreaction which can lead to extreme policy decisions which can
generate the backlash of increased recruitment power to terrorists.
assessments become possibility-based, rather than statistically arrived at,
vastly inflating the danger.
due to the fact that “perceived collective fear of terrorism can contribute to
elevating real fear of terrorism, irrespective of whether the perception of
shared fear is accurate or not,” we find
ourselves in panic mode when a thoughtful, measured response would be more
appropriate. (Bakker, Veldhuis)
finance also plays a role in exaggerating threats. The media know that
sensationalism sells. They cash in whenever they get the opportunity to
heighten our fears with graphic depictions of the latest terrorist attack. We
also should not ignore the effect of corporate influence on Congressional approval
of vast sums allocated to questionably effective anti-terrorist initiatives,
equipment, and munitions.
Managing Perceptions as Part of Counterterrorism. The government, academia, science,
and the media all have important roles in correcting the perceptions of
terrorism and its impact, both real (historically) and potential for two main
reasons. Distorted reasoning leads to:
1) The adoption of ineffective
counterterrorism measures, and
An enormous waste of money.
we exaggerate threats and perceive them as imminent when they are not, then we
risk suffering the stress-amplified impairment of confirmation bias (assuming
our worst fears are reality) which can lead us into restrictive modes of
thought just when we need maximum flexibility and openness. Terrorists have
proven to be highly adaptable, changing effectively as we try to limit their
actions. We, on the other hand, have proven to be rigid in our thought and slow
to adapt to rapidly changing tactics.
in leadership positions must learn to recognize when psychological pressures
compromise intelligent thought. The general populace must also learn to
realistically assess the world around them before they make decisions as to
personal safety and who to vote for.
has shown us these mechanisms that interfere with rational decision making. We
now have to disseminate that knowledge so that we can all be better at resisting
the terrorist’s aim of inducing panic and irrational thought.
the aftermath of a terrorist action it is important to manage fear. This
requires preparation beforehand as well as coordinated activity as part of the
response. Our natural tendency assume the worst (negativity bias), fundamental
attribution error (painting terrorists as madmen), and media’s propensity for
sensationalism all have to be mitigated to ensure intelligent decision making
on the part of government, and intelligent response on the part of the public.
Distortions that occur right after an attack tend to persist and further cloud
perceptions and, therefore, policy making. Scientific risk assessment, clear
information about preparedness, realistic assessment of the perpetrators, and
robust communications networks can help ease the emotional effects of
terrorism. (Breckenridge and Zimbardo)
Obstacles to Progress. There
are many obstacles to thinking effectively about terrorism. Three are
particularly harmful. The first because it irrationally affects who we elect as
decision makers; the second and third because they have a pervasive effect on
the population as a whole.
The power of self-interest: There is a tension between seeking the greater good
and striving for our own well-being. Official seeking office may pander to fear
by increasing the public’s anxiety,
Media may frame events in the most inflammatory way to increase circulation,
The apathy of the populace may work to maintain the status quo. People have the
power to alter the direction of political, educational, and communications
discourse, but only if they are willing to work toward those ends.
great power amassed at the head of political, media, and corporate entities
presents a formidable wall that leads to frustration on the part of those
seeking change, which leads to apathy in the face of hopelessness. These
elements define a self-feeding, societally self-destructive set of mechanisms. But
there is a way out.
Keys to success.
The critical path to a future in which we can apply more intelligent handling
of the terrorist threat lies within educational sphere. Institutions of
learning have access to the thought processes of young people. While they are
learning to apply intelligence to solving problems we can enlighten them as to
the real-world factors that can influence the clarity of their thinking. Awareness
of cognitive mechanisms that can interfere with logical thought should be part
of the teaching curriculum at all levels, from pre-school through advanced
studies. In this way we will arm our citizens with the tools required for an
intelligent approach to the existence of terrorism in our world.
also have to work to mitigate the current impairments to judgment by exposing
the general public to the distortions that are guiding today’s policy
decisions. This calls for more government transparency and requires cooperation
of the media. Both are extremely difficult goals. Although there is some
movement in this direction, more would be helpful.
President Obama’s May
24, 2013 speech contained acknowledgement of some of these problems and mostly
vague promises to take steps in the right direction. Even if he can convince
Congress to implement his proposals it will not be enough.
America can move to more efficacious
actions, but only if we seek an unbiased truth. We must admit our errors, do
the necessary research, and implement strategies and tactics based upon sound
Those Black Sites." Editorial. New York Times. New York Times, 18
E. and Veldhuis, T. "A Fear Management Approach to Counterterrorism."
Discussion Paper, International Centre
for Counterterrorism, The Hague (February
A.T. (2002). Prisoners of hate. Behaviour
Research and Therapy, 40, 209-216
H.N., & Zimbardo, P.G (2007). The strategy of terrorism and the
psychology of mass-mediated fear In B.
Bongar, et.al., (eds.) Psychology of
Terrorism (pp. 116-133). New York:
Oxford University Press
S. (2011). Psychological theories of terrorism and political violence; a non-
linear evolution. To appear in: Encyclopedia of the History of
theories. New York,
Benjamin H. Managing Fear: The Politics of Homeland Security, Political
Science Quarterly, Volume 126,
Number 1, Spring 2011, pp.77-106.
R.A. (1999). The sociology and psychology of terrorism: Who becomes a
terrorist and why? Washington, D.C. Federal Research Division, Library of
F. M. (2007). The staircase to terrorism: IN: Bongar, B., Brown, LM,
Le, Breckenridge, JN, and Zimbardo, PG (eds.) Psychology of Terrorism,
Hunger strike in Guantanamo, the citadel of injustice and
The Obama administration’s simplistic explanation
for the hunger strike by the Guantanamo prisoners, “to attract media attention”,
doesn’t really do justice to the cause.
And the U.S. government’s forced feeding program is against
medical ethical standards. It serves only to prolong the torture that moved the
prisoners to choose to stop eating. British courts accept the right to starve
oneself, but American courts have failed to do so. Most of the world disagrees
with America on this issue.
The World Medical Association’s (WMA) Tokyo declaration
states that “Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the
doctor as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the
consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be
fed artificially”. http://jme.bmj.com/content/29/4/243.full
Why choose hunger? It has been known to work. From Bobby
Sands onward, the tactic has been used successfull, and this is a motivator.
But that’s not all.
Guantanamo forces not guilty prisoners to view their plight
as without hope. Living in isolation from the external world, except for
sporadic visits from attorneys and the ever present functionaries of the facility,
there is no ear to hear. It is a perfect situation to allow self-radicalization
to occur. Prisoners may even seek to outdo one another in coming up with ideas
of rebellion. The conditions they live in “result in elevated rates of
depression, anxiety, and other emotional disturbances, as well as increased
susceptibility to disease, heart attacks, and other serious medical conditions.”
The torture and humiliation they have experienced has reduced their self-esteem.
This resulted in a pervading feeling of powerlessness. They are suffering from
traumatic stress disorder. When an idea like hunger strike appears it will be
accepted without reason. Cut off from seeing any possible path to freedom, they
see no other way out of their continued torturous existence.
So they seek to better their lives, i.e., end the torture,
by any means possible, even if the method kills them. It’s a contradiction in
logic, but they live in a contradictory universe in which their internally held
truth (“my innocence”) is ignored by the external world. This is a powerful
There have been many hunger strikes since Guantanamo’s first
in 2005. Desperate acts will continue until this monument to America’s
disregard for the rule of law, this citadel of injustice and torture, is
Please act now and contact your representatives and tell them
how you feel. It’s the least you can do.
Guantanamo, Boston, and al-Qaeda's Inspire Magazine
May 9, 2013 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
You may have thought, “Whatever else is wrong with
Guantanamo prison, it is making us safer.”
Think again. Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have
been using the torture chambers of Guantanamo as a recruiting tool for years.
(Yes, indefinite detention after charges have been dropped is torture. So is
forced feeding; especially when administered roughly with oversized feeding
The Boston Marathon bombers were readers of al-Qaeda’s Inspire
magazine, and the captured brother claims that they were self-radicalized partly
by reading internet inducements to violence, including Inspire. Guantanamo
is referenced 20 times in the first 10 issues. It is a powerful cognitive symbol.
Guantanamo conjures up images of torture, humiliation,
injustice, and hypocrisy. It reminds readers of Abu Ghraib and all the other
black sites used to torture people with no regard for the law.
President Obama can order the
closing of Guantanamo.
It will take courage on his part,
but we will all be safer for his valor.
The Boston bombers were not the only terrorists known to
have read Inspire. The following list will indicate its recently broad
• On April
15, 2013 Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly
exploded 2 devices at the annual Boston Marathon. They had allegedly assembled
at least four types of improvised explosives from plans they read in Inspire
• In March,
2103, three men in the United Kingdom pleaded guilty to terrorism charges
related to attending terrorism training camps in Pakistan. The men allegedly
were motivated by Inspire.
• On Nov.
29, 2012, two brothers from Florida, Raees Alam Qazi and Sheheryar Alam Qazi,
were arrested and charged with plotting attacks in New York. Prosecutors noted
that the pair had been motivated by Inspire magazine.
• On Oct.
17, 2012, Bangladeshi national Quazi Nafis was arrested as part of an FBI sting
operation after he attempted to detonate a vehicle bomb outside New York's
Federal Reserve Bank. Nafis reportedly was an avid reader of Inspire magazine.
• On Sept.
15, 2012, Adel Daoud, another avid Inspire reader, was arrested after he parked
a Jeep Cherokee outside a Chicago bar and attempted to detonate the bomb he
thought it contained. His was also an FBI sting operation.
• On April
25, 2012, four men were arrested in the British town of Luton and charged with
plotting attacks against a British army base. The four were also charged with
downloading and possessing six editions of Inspire magazine. They pleaded
guilty March 1, 2013.
2011, PFC Jason Abdo was arrested trying to assemble a bomb from Inspire
instructions. He intended to blow up a restaurant that was popular with
soldiers from Fort Hood.
2011, Jose Pimental was arrested in Manhattan as he was constructing a bomb
from Inspire instructions.
2009, Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people. A second soldier who was plotting an
attack was found to have copies of Inspire.
Google it, my friends. There are ten times as many hits for Zero Dark Thirty (239,000,000 results) as there are for Guantanamo (34,900,000 results).
More people know more about a fantasy movie than they do about a critical site in today's global interactions. Guantanamo, if you study it a bit, is a site for:
evasion of the Rule of Law,
excuses for hiding information from the American public,
a feable means to try and terrorize Islamists, and
an unparalleled recruitment tool for 'al-Qaeda' groups.
It's that last one that really bothers us. Americans are deaf, dumb, and blind when it comes to understanding the dangers that Guantanamo generates...not for the prisoners held there, but for us! We are the ones who will be attacked with Guantanamo as a critical component of the justification of the terrorist attacks to come. Read the terrorist literature and you'll see how often it is mentioned.
We wish we knew how to educate U.S. citizens about the realities of the world they live in and about the truth concerning how the actions of the Obama administration generate waves of hatred that will continue to build the ranks of 'al-Qaeda' groups and create more and more terrorism. And some of that terrorism will be directed at us! If we all understood, we'd close that place down in a day.
Yes, it's not Obama alone, of course, and his drones, lies, blind-eyes toward corruption, support of vicious regimes, and ..well, you know, all the bad stuff. Other administrations before and probably after will continue to behave in long-term-self-defeating ways. But as the Commander in Chief, as the most powerful political leader on the face of the earth (as I am sure he likes to think of himself), as Mr. President he could be doing a lot more to change the way America is percieved in the world, and the level of anger directed toward us, and the consequent damage we will have to endure.
'Revenge' shows 238,000,000 results.
January 14, 2013 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact-dedicated to steering all of us toward more peaceful tomorrows.