Glenn Greenwald asks this question at the end of this column:
And then there is the issue of the restrictions imposed on reporters covering these travesties. The Miami Herald‘s Carol Rosenberg — probably the single most knowledgeable and relentless journalist covering Guantanamo — was banned in May, along with three Canadian journalists, from attending any further proceedings, a ban that was then reversed as arbitrarily as it was imposed. Last month, she gave a speech to the National Press Club about how arbitrary and oppressive these restrictions are, and adapted that speech into this superb article published by McClatchy. Last night, Rachel Maddow discussed those press restrictions with Newsweek‘s Mike Isikoff, who is covering the Khadr trial from Guantanamo; it’s worth watching this 5-minute segment [this link takes you back to the column: I cannot embed the video. But the video is definitely worth watching: very reminiscent of the Soviet trials. The US is quickly moving toward a more and more authoritarian government. – LG].
As I’ve written before about the Khadr case (as well as the very similar case of child soldier Mohamed Jawad), what is most striking to me about this case is this: how can it possibly be that the U.S. invades a foreign country, and then when people in that country — such as Khadr — fight back against the invading army, by attacking purely military targets via a purely military act (throwing a grenade at a solider, who was part of a unit ironically using an abandoned Soviet runway as its outpost), they become “war criminals,” or even Terrorists, who must be shipped halfway around the world, systematically abused, repeatedly declared to be one of “the worst of the worst,” and then held in a cage for almost a full decade (one third of his life and counting)? It’s hard to imagine anything which more compellingly underscores the completely elastic and manipulated “meaning” of “Terrorist” than this case: in essence, the U.S. is free to do whatever it wants, and anyone who fights back, even against our invading armies and soldiers (rather than civilians), is a war criminal and a Terrorist.
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Regarding the Obama administration’s efforts to have the scope of National Security Letters expanded to include your email and Internet “transactional” records, Harper‘s Scott Horton examines how abusive a power that is by looking at one case that recently became public (see an excellent Democracy Now interview from this morning with the true hero of that story, Nick Merrill). Relatedly, I have an essay in Cato Unbound on the ongoing explosion of the unaccountable Surveillance State. Really, though, it’d be best if you look over there at John Boehner, become sufficiently scared, express gratitude that Obama isn’t Sarah Palin, and then keep your mouth shut about all of these matters and just dutifully get to work to elect Democrats. That’s what any good citizen would do.