In a remarkable, courageous and honest ruling, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, found that the government could not credibly support its allegation that Fouad Mahmoud Al Rabiah was part of the Taliban or al-Qaida, and that the evidence against him wasn’t sufficient to justify his continued detention. She ordered the government to release Al Rabiah “forthwith .” The actual statement read as follows:
Because the Government has not met its burden by a preponderance of evidence, the Court shall GRANT Al Rabiah’s petition for habeas corpus. The Court shall issue an Order requiring the Government to take all necessary and appropriate steps to facilitate Al Rabiah’s release forthwith. Dated: September 17, 2009
That there are institutions, procedures and individuals that still respect the rule of law, and the necessity of upholding our most cherished legal, judicial and moral precepts particularly in moments of crisis and fear should give us hope for our increasingly decimated republic.
But whereas we can argue for the rights of illegal detainees held in the USA few if any for that matter have raised a voice in outrage at the wholesale slaughter of imagined ‘terrorists’, ‘Taliban’ and ‘Al Qaeda’ operatives in the tribal areas of Pakistan. I say imagined because they are labeled ‘Taliban’ and/or ‘Al Qaeda’ to ensure that we never ask for evidence or proof and that we can kill them at will.
There the Pushtuns, a people dehumanized so completely that we do not even register their deaths, are being killed and maimed with impunity, thanks to the venal machinations of the Pakistani elite and toy-hungry military in bed with an American imperialist juggernaut that knows nothing other than the inspirations of its own greed and power.
The people of Pakistan’s tribal areas deserve their day in court if they are being accused of specific crimes and misdemeanors. Though I do not know what these would be other than that dastardly crime of not bending to the will of specious power and elite greed. I have argued in an earlier piece called Fear The Pushtun Bogeyman Or Scaring Children As An Imperialist Habit for the necessity of protecting the lives, and access to procedures of law and justice for all citizens of Pakistan particularly the criminalized Pushtun tribes of the frontier.
The Pakistan Army, and its establishment civilian leaders, have carried out an unjust, illegal, immoral and inhumane war against its own people. The bombs that capture our attention are a consequence of a belief that disproportionate force can erase memory and sorrow. The United States of America has provided the funds and the armaments and the quiet pat on the back. The war on the frontier serves political interests both in the USA and in Pakistan, ensuring that fear of this bogeyman never leaves us, that we believe that our manicured front lawns are in fact under direct threat of crazed, wide-eyed, bearded men in loose pants with designs to subjugate all that we love and cherish (Wall Mart? 24-cable TV? Unlimited internet porn?) and control the world.
Illegal detainees are being given a chance to argue their case, to defend themselves, and a Government that illegally tortured and incarcerated them is being taken to task. Here in the USA. But in Pakistan, where our surrogates are happy to dance to any tune we play, the deaths continue, the horror unfolds. There are few voices in opposition. So I suppose they will only come in the form of bomb blasts and more ‘terror’ attacks. Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind.