Guantanamo Detainee Fouad Mahmoud Al Rabiah’s Petition for Habeus Corpus Is Granted!

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 [1].” 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.

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From “Headmen” To “Hitmen”–A People Brutalised Yet Again

Another photographer turns up at another manufactured ‘traditional’ geography, and produces another set of racist, reductive and entirely fake set of images. I don’t mean ‘fake’ in the way that most photographer’s get all concerned about. I mean ‘fake’ in a much more serious way, one that reduces people to social, political and historical caricatures and makes them into concocted objects for class titillation and voyeurism. And this American magazine–mired deep in the heart of American imperialism, its violence and its brutality–publishes the images and accompanies them with what can only be described as one of the most incredibly ahistorical, obfuscatory and infantile articles I have read outside of stuff frequently published by Time Magazine and/or The New York Times.

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Thomas Sankara’s Restless Children

The project is now complete. Although, we may never really complete the telling of this remarkable story. You can see the project by clicking on this link here, or on the image below.


Eyes Of Aliyah–Deport, Deprive, Extradite Initiative By Nisha Kapoor

I have publicly and on this forum very explicitly argued against the strange ‘disappearance’ of black/brown bodies that are the actual targets and victims of our ‘liberal’ state policies of surveillance, entrapment, drone assassinations, renditions and indefinite detention. I recently argued:

“Western visual journalism, and visual artists, have erased the actual victims of the criminal policies of the imperial state. Instead, most all have chosen to produce a large array of projects examining drone attacks, surveillance, detentions and other practices, through the use of digital abstractions, analogous environments, still life work or just simply the fascinating and enticing safety of datagrams and charts. Even a quick look at recent exhibitions focusing on the ‘war on terror’ or wars in general, have invited works that use digital representations of war, or focus on the technologies of war. An extreme case of this deflection are recent projects on drone warfare that not only avoid the actual brown/black bodies that are the targets of deadly drone attacks, but are not even produced anywhere near the geographies and social ecologies where drone attacks continue to happen! Yet, these works have found tremendous popularity, though i remain confused what kinds of conversations or debates they provoke given that the voices of the families of those who have been killed, are not only entirely missing, but people who can raised the difficult questions about the lies and propaganda that are used to justify the killings, are also entirely missing.”

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Public Release of “The Sinner”

This is my first feature length documentary film and we–Justice Project Pakistan, with the guiding support of Sarah BelalRimmel Mohydin and others at Justice Project Pakistan, are finally releasing it.

And we are doing it first in Pakistan.

The film takes us into the world of capital punishment in Pakistan through the life of one man; Jan Masi. Jan Masi worked as an execution for nearly 30 years, and claims to have executed over 1800 people. He started his work in the enthusiastic pursuit of revenge for the execution of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

This isn’t a typical documentary film. No talking heads. No linear story-telling. No polemics or moral grand standing. No righteous exclamations against capital punishment. Instead, Jan Masi, his life, his scars, his fears and despair, act as metaphors for the meaning of capital punishment in Pakistan, and the consequences it has on the broader Pakistani society.

Sudhir Patwardhan

Sudhir Patwardhan.

Can you discover ‘an influence’ after the fact?

What do you call someone who seems to embody your eye, your sensibility, and yet you had never seen his / her work, and yet, when you now see it, you see the ‘influence’…the similarities?

Is he confronting the same questions? Is he seeing this incredibly complex and multi-layered world with the same desire to depict it as close to that complexity as possible?

I was taken aback. The aesthetic pursuit is so familiar. It is as if he is a step ahead of me. He is a step ahead of me.

I am going through these images–gorgeous, striking, unique, and no, I refuse to give you some ‘European’ reference to understand them in any way. They are Patwardhan’s and his alone. But I want to make them as photographs.

They are the photographs I would make if in Mumbai. It is beautiful stuff. It makes me want to go and make photographs.

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Make It Right For Palestine, November 4, 2017

Be there. Hyde Park. Speaker’s Corner. London. 12:00 noon. 4th November, 2017.

The Polis Project…Is Up And Running

If you can’t join them, then just do it on your own.

We launched a new collective focused on research, reportage and resistance. The specific goals and objectives are being developed as we speak, but the idea is a simple one: to collect under one banner a group of individuals from different fields – artists, writers, academics, photographers, intellectuals, poets and others, who are consistently working against the grain. In this time of collective conformity, and a media sycophancy to power and extremism, some of us felt the need to create a small space where people are still determined to refuse the agendas of political power, debilitating capitalism, nationalist extremism and neoliberal idiocy, and remain fools in their hearts, and idealists in their souls.

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Short Doc: “As If A Nightmare”;The Story Of Former Bagram Prisoner Abdul Haleem Saifullah

 

We are commemorating 9/11 this week, but by remembering the ‘other’ victims of that event that few chose to remember. These are the brown bodies that rarely make it into visual media projects, that since 9/11, have chosen to hide behind digital representations, data charts, and other visual forms that do a lot, but never permit us to see or hear the brown and black people who actually suffer the consequences of drone attacks, sweeping surveillance, targeted entrapment, renditions, indefinite detentions, torture and other forms of inhumanity that today liberal minds seem to be able to easily justify.

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Short Doc: “Prisoner 1432” – The Story of Former Bagram Prisoner Amanatullah Ali

 

We are commemorating 9/11 this week, but by remembering the ‘other’ victims of that event that few chose to remember. These are the brown bodies that rarely make it into visual media projects, that since 9/11, have chosen to hide behind digital representations, data charts, and other visual forms that do a lot, but never permit us to see or hear the brown and black people who actually suffer the consequences of drone attacks, sweeping surveillance, targeted entrapment, renditions, indefinite detentions, torture and other forms of inhumanity that today liberal minds seem to be able to easily justify.

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10 Things To Consider…

I recommend that photographers, photojournalists, documentary photographers remember these wise words by Tania Canas, RISE Arts Director / Member – I am copying and pasting it here. As brown and black bodies are stripped of their clothing, as brown and black children are dehumanised to mere misery, as brown and black women are reduced to simply victims, as ghettos and brothels and refugee camps and slums become the ‘paint by number’ formula for White photographer’s career and publishing success, it becomes increasingly important that those of us on the receiving end of White ‘largesse’ begin to build obstacles, speak back, and refuse / reject these ‘representations’ and their reductive, violent and brutal narrative frames. We have lost too much, and are in danger of whatever little we have left as humans and as histories, if we permit this process to continue.

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