Down the Rabbit Hole: HIV, Guantanamo, “Dirty Bombers” as U.S. Becomes Torture State

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

“Whither I fly is Hell…”

Candace Gorman is reporting that her client, Guantanamo prisoner Abdul Hamid al-Ghizzawi, contracted AIDS at Guantanamo’s Camp Delta. He believes he was infected during a “routine blood test.”

Last October I wrote about Mr. al-Ghizzawi’s dire medical state, and the Amnesty International campaign to save him. At that time, all we knew is that he was seriously ill with hepatitis B and tuberculosis. While Guantanamo authorities deny it, he claims he is not receiving adequate medical care. Eyewitness accounts from the U.S. prison confirm his charges.

His attorney wrote the following at The Guantanamo Blog last Sunday:

After I received the distressing news from Mr. Al-Ghizzawi that a doctor at the base has informed him that he has AIDS I sent an email to the government attorney who has been (mis)handling Mr. Al-Ghizzawi’s case. I asked him if he could confirm for me whether or not Mr. Al-Ghizzawi has AIDS. Here is his response:

“We are not privy to the particulars of what your client may have been told by his doctor, if anything, but Guantanamo provides high-quality medical care to all detainees.”

And so there you have it…. this criminal government will not deny the doctors diagnosis… (which in and of itself is telling) instead they provide an unresponsive answer…of course if it is true that Al-Ghizzawi has AIDS it means that he acquired the disease while at the base because the military claimed it did a complete physical when Al-Ghizzawi arrived and the ONLY condition he suffered from at that time was Hepatitis B….so I guess there is good reason why they don’t want to confirm the diagnosis. If only these people had support from a charity, get involved with a charity that can help them if you’re interested.

HIV transmission in U.S. prisons has long been a humanitarian disaster largely ignored in the press. University of California, San Francisco researchers have an excellent summary of research on this. But they attribute HIV transmission to homosexual sex, voluntary or via rape. (They estimate from 9 to 20% of federal inmates are subjected to homosexual rape.) — But Al-Ghizzawi claims his infection was caused by medical tests. And the prison authorities are stonewalling on any more information. Just what the hell is happening at Guantanamo? Are experiments being done on prisoners there?

It wouldn’t be the first time such experiments were done on prisoners without their consent. Jonathan Moreno, a well-respected academic, and former Clinton appointee to the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, wrote a book that summarizes some of what is known about this sinister and repressed history.

I have no evidence the U.S. government is involved in any experimentation at Guantanamo, but if one is even barely aware of the deadly history of U.S. involvement in secret experimentation, from MKULTRA to Edgewood Arsenal, from the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment to Willowbrook, then you couldn’t help but wonder, is it possible the U.S. has been conducting medical experiments at Guantanamo?

I bet you never heard of the Willowbrook scandal. It was a doozy.

The Willowbrook study [mid-1950s to early 1970s] involved infecting mentally retarded children with a Hepatitis virus to study the progression of the disease and to test vaccinations that were being developed at the time. Due to overcrowding, children were denied entrance to the Willowbrook State Mental Hospital [in New York] unless parents enrolled their children into the less-crowded hepatitis ward. This practice did not allow for voluntary participation since there were scarce resources available to care for severely retarded children which limited the treatment options from which parents could select. The institution’s director was in charge of the study and conducted subject recruitment by sending a misleading informed consent to parents that included an exaggeration of the study benefits.

So, maybe my questioning of how Mr. Al-Ghizzawi was infected with HIV isn’t so tinfoil after all. At the very least, his case is one of criminal negligence and cover-up.

Meanwhile, Jose Padilla was sentenced to 17 years and 4 months for supposedly aiding a jihad cell. While he was never tied to any violent activities, and charges that he was planning to set off a “dirty bomb” in an a U.S. city were ditched after the government realized it needed to drop the “enemy combatant” label they’d given him, he was sentenced with no credit for time served. And what did that “time” look like?

The Christian Science Monitor states that Padilla was subjected to “isolated military detention without charge for nearly four years and subjected… to harsh interrogation techniques.”

Padilla’s cell measured nine feet by seven feet. The windows were covered over… He had no pillow. No sheet. No clock. No calendar. No radio. No television. No telephone calls. No visitors. Even Padilla’s lawyer was prevented from seeing him for nearly two years. (Link to CSM quote from Alternet)

Padilla himself claims that during the period of his confinement he was subjected to severe sensory deprivation and isolation, in addition to suffering from sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures, stress positions, and injections of mind-altering drugs. Doctors who have examined him agree that his treatment caused him serious mental harm.

The question is cui bono? Who benefits? Certainly Padilla’s treatment represents an attack on U.S. traditional jurisprudence norms, a conclusion ably represented in an article on the sentencing by Jacob Hornberger:

What happened to Padilla continues to hang over the head of every independent-minded American like a Damocles sword….

The reason that the Padilla case is so ominous for the American people is that it established that the government now wields the post-9/11 power to ignore and violate all of those constitutional protections, as long as it is the Pentagon that is doing the ignoring and the violating.

In other words, the Padilla case did not wipe out these constitutional protections as far as the police are concerned. But it does stand for the proposition that all of these constitutional protections are wiped out insofar as the military is concerned. And this despite the fact that the Bill of Rights expressly applies to the entire federal government, not just the non-military parts of the federal government.

While it’s possible that the government continues to do experiments on incarceration that involves psychological torture, like sensory deprivation and sensory overload, isolation, use of drugs, etc. — in fact, this seems likely — it’s certain that he represents a test case on how to subject a human being, in this case a U.S. citizen, to total government control, to break a person’s body and will without any restraint of law or morality.

While Canada can’t make up its mind whether the United States belongs on a list of nations that torture…

Amnesty International Canada… says it has ample evidence that prisoners are abused both in U.S. and Israeli jails….

“When it comes to an issue like torture, the government’s main concern should not be embarrassing allies,” Alex Neve, the group’s secretary-general, told Reuters. The U.S. embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under “definition of torture,” the document [part of a training course manual on torture awareness given to Canadian diplomats] lists U.S. interrogation techniques such as forced nudity, isolation, sleep deprivation and blindfolding prisoners.

It also mentions the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba….

Down the rabbit hole, Alice got lost. But, in the end, she found herself and was returned to her comfortable home. We just keeping getting more lost.

Also posted at Invictus

13 comments

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    • Edger on January 23, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    What should be done with dirty bombers?

    The massive use of depleted uranium in American munitions has made this reordering invisible, microscopic and eternal. It will forever be re-constructing the very architecture of human beings and their environments, both in the Middle East and around the world:

    “Most American weapons (missiles, smart bombs, dumb bombs, bullets, tank shells, cruise missiles, etc.) contain high amounts of radioactive uranium. Depleted or non-depleted, these types of weapons, on detonation, release a radioactive dust which, when inhaled, goes into the body and stays there. It has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. Basically, it’s a permanently available contaminant, distributed in the environment, where dust storms or any water nearby can disperse it. Once ingested, it releases subatomic particles that slice through DNA.

    At the Uranium Weapons Conference held October 2003 in Hamburg, Germany, independent scientists from around the world testified to a huge increase in birth deformities and cancers wherever NDU and DU had been used. Professor Katsuma Yagasaki, a scientist at the Ryukyus University, Okinawa calculated that the 800 tons of DU used in Afghanistan is the radioactive equivalent of 83,000 Nagasaki bombs. The amount of DU used in Iraq is equivalent to 250,000 Nagasaki bombs.

    The results have been devastating and heartbreaking. As Dr. Jawal Al-Ali revealed in his presentation to the 2003 World Uranium Weapons Conference, Iraqis have been suffering from massive tumours and lesions, but also giving birth to horrifically malformed babies — babies born without heads, or deformed to such an extent that they bear little resemblance to human beings.

    The U.S. and Canadian mass media have been reluctant to address this issue, but it is a story that will literally never go away: with a half-life of 4.5 billion years — much longer than life has lived on planet Earth — DU will continue to swirl through the atmosphere and destroy the DNA of every living thing it touches, for as long as there is a planet Earth.

    Clearly, this is an environmental catastrophe of the first order: there is nothing else save an actual nuclear war that can compare to it.

    — Depleted Uranium and the “Unbuilding” of Iraq

  1. …that their blood sampling protocol would be so fucked.  One gets the impression, reading about Guantanamo, of incredible inhumanity on a by the numbers basis.  Reuse of sample needles just doesn’t fit.

    Unlike US jails, where the good citizens are apparently quite content with…

    Gah.  It’s all too evil.  I’m going to make spaghetti now.

    • Valtin on January 24, 2008 at 3:36 am
      Author

    for the promotion and the support.

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