6.14.2008

when you go to gitmo, stop by the gift shop and pick me up a t-shirt

It was difficult for me to celebrate the recent US Supreme Court ruling striking down the use of "military tribunals" (i.e. fake courts) for supposed terrorism suspects. Until I see that the junta actually complies with the ruling, and replaces their kangaroo courts with real trials, it's just a statement on paper.

You'll recall that in July 2004 there was a 6-3 ruling in favour of the prisoners in Guantanamo. At that time - four years ago - the US Supreme Court said that US courts have jurisdiction over the prisoners, that they can challenge their incarcerations through normal legal methods, and that habeas corpus applies.

The White House ignored it.

In fact, it was in response to that 2004 ruling that the Cheney administration set up the fake courts that were the subject of last week's ruling. Four years later, nothing has changed for the prisoners, most of whom have been there since 2001.

The junta has demonstrated their contempt for the law and the US Constitution over and over again. This ruling could be a turning point in their self-appointed expansion of powers. Or it could be completely ignored. My money is on ignored, and I'll be thrilled to be wrong.

While we wait for that verdict, why not pick up a Gitmo hat or t-shirt? Perhaps a mug or keychain for your mom. From the Washington Post blog Sleuth.
In light of Thursday's Supreme Court ruling on detainees at Guantanamo Bay, we thought it would be a good time to disclose the "presents" we received last week from the gift shop at Gitmo.

The Sleuth's husband, a reporter who went to Guantanamo last week to cover the arraignment of five 9/11 suspects, brought back not one but three surprises: a Guantanamo Bay windbreaker, a baseball cap and a t-shirt. (Honey, you shouldn't have!)

Yes, the Gitmo Naval base actually sells t-shirts, caps and other souvenirs advertising its detainee operations. And apparently, military base officials were thrilled to have reporters buying up goodies at the gift shop for their loved ones back home.

The t-shirt is the most gung-ho of the souvenirs about boasting the base's detainee operations, the future of which, thanks to the Supreme Court, is now in question.

The left breast of the front of the shirt is emblazoned with the words "Operation Enduring Freedom" and "JTF," which stands for Joint Task Force. The back of the shirt, in large lettering, says "JTF GTMO" and in slightly smaller font below it, "DETAINEE OPERATIONS, U.S. NAVAL STATION, GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA."

Check out Sleuth for pictures and links.

Do they sell t-shirts at Auschwitz?

11 comments:

redsock said...

Funny you should mention Auschwitz.

Back in January 2005, Dick Cheney attended a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. He wore a hat with the word "STAFF" on it -- along with big hiking boots and a ugly parka.

Article and photo here. (I mentioned it at my old blog here.)

impudent strumpet said...

Good taste aside, doesn't that take away from the authority of the place?

WE IS SERIOUS MILITARY. THIS ARE SERIOUS MILITARY BASE. And be sure to stop by our lovely gift shop and pick up a t-shirt for the kids.

redsock said...

If Cheney were running Auschwitz, he'd sell soap in the gift shoppe.

L-girl said...

If Cheney were running Auschwitz, he'd sell soap in the gift shoppe.

*shudder*

L-girl said...

WE IS SERIOUS MILITARY. THIS ARE SERIOUS MILITARY BASE. And be sure to stop by our lovely gift shop and pick up a t-shirt for the kids.

Definitely part of the strangeness.

Kim_in_TO said...

On my latest trip to Cuba in February, my boss and I organized a tour of eastern Cuba, passing by Guantánamo at one point. We knew we wouldn't be allowed into the prison, but apparently there is a lookout as you pass by. We were disappointed to find that it's been closed to the public. (What on earth do they think is going to happen there?)

If you think a gift shoppe is a weird idea, how about one that the public can't access?

L-girl said...

These guys are massively into secrecy, so a closed look-out point doesn't surprise me.

But a gift shop that only the jailers can access is tres bizarre!

Scott M. said...

Do they sell t-shirts at Auschwitz?

Doubt it, but if it was in some of today's hyper-capitalistic societies I'm sure they'd have a nice pair of oven mitts.

L-girl said...

Oven mitts, even better than Allan's soap reference.

Daniel wbc said...

The United States claims to be a free country. And yet it has more people in prison than any other nation.

The United States claims to be a democracy and yet huge portions of the population are deliberately disenfranchised and elections are more than questionable.

The United States claims to be a nation of laws under a constitution and yet the government violates its own laws and international laws and agreements that it finds inconvenient.

The U.S. government claims to want peace but is constantly at war and preparing for war.

It's not what one says, it's what one does. It makes my head explode.

There are really amazing parallels between the population of the U.S. and a dysfunctional family with domestic violence. There's this clinging to non-reality because it seems necessary to survival; we have to support the mythology or there will be nothing. Or we need this brutality to be protected from the cruel world. And yet, if one really acknowledged the truth, there could be a path out. But one gets locked in. [And, of course, there are those in power who know exactly what's going on and benefit from it.]

The thing is with the United States, though, is that the effects of its actions go throughout the world and it does, indeed, have the power to destroy the world.

How does one stage an intervention for an entire nation?

[Again, I'm not sure if I'm making sense to anyone but me ...]

L-girl said...

How does one stage an intervention for an entire nation?

I think that's called a revolution?

Daniel, thank you for this excellent comment.