Political Rantings of July

These prisoners are known as “ghost detainees” or the “new disappeared,” and they’re being subjected to treatment that makes the abuses at the military-run Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba look small-time, say intelligence analysts.

Last year, Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller said CIA interrogation techniques “violate all American anti-torture laws,” and instructed FBI agents to step outside of the room when the CIA steps in.

Analysts say there are at least a score of unacknowledged facilities around the world. Among them, several in Afghanistan (one known as “the pit”) and Iraq, in Pakistan, Jordan, in a restricted unit at Guantanamo, and one, they suspect, on Diego Garcia, where two navy prison ships ferry prisoners in and out.

This week, the United Nations said it will investigate a number of allegations from reliable sources that the U.S. is detaining terrorist suspects in undeclared holding facilities, including on board ships believed to be in the Indian Ocean.

“Diego Garcia is an obvious place for a secret facility,” says American defence analyst John Pike. “They want somewhere that’s difficult to escape from, difficult to attack, not visible to prying eyes and where a lot of other activity is going on. Diego Garcia is ideal.”

The British government has flatly denied detainees are being held covertly on the island. When asked last year, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state Lawrence DiRita didn’t deny it outright, saying only, “I don’t know. I simply don’t know.”

What is known about CIA activities is that, since 2001, the agency has been transferring or “rendering” suspects to third countries for aggressive interrogation. [more]

I have to say, this is scary stuff. To have Jordan stand on the sidelines is one thing, but to actually participate in torture tactics on behalf of the United States? Have we been reduced to washing dirty laundry at minimum wage? Though I have been taught to always grant the benefit of the doubt; considering there seems to be no evidence that Jordan has participated in torture tactics as of yet. I’m optimistic that these rumors are not true.

Next on the list is the Latest changes in the Government…

This constant reshuffeling (especially in a government that has yet to mark it’s 100th day) sends one signal to the people (or at least to me). Someone is fucking up. When we get to a point where we are unable to properly form a government from the very start without having petty conflicts or changes every 2 months, then we are a ghost train of political reform with absolutly no one at the helm.

Take for example bringing back Murwan Muashar to take up the exact same position in the last government (deputy premiere). I smell nothing but ineffeciency even though I’m rather pleased to see him come back to the fold.

The only thing I like about Jordanian Politics right now is that we are at a point in time when the national agenda for reform is more important than the ministers or the government. But constant changes and reshuffelings are ratteling; the reek of unstability and more importantly lack of confidence; something the PM will be looking to get from the parliament next week.

It’s hard to imagine 6 million Jordanians to go down a path where they will eventually vote for their government through a democratic process based on their political platforms, when we are stuck in a time when one person can’t form a proper government all by himself. Pick a team. Stick with it. See the game through.

Lastly, concerning these changes: there was “chattering” about why the new government wasn’t well recieved to begin with and why these changes were necessary, and that is concerning the fact that “Jordanians” were excluded initially whereas the “Palestinians” occupied a larger number of seats. I pray first of all that this is not the case. And if it is…if we are still at a point where we people concern themselves with where a minister’s grandfather is originally from…whether he lived 1 km west or east of the border (that wasn’t even created by us), then we are officially in a state of disrepair and we should abandon ship while we can still save ourselves because simply this type of thinking is absurd to me (as a southern Jordanian). I see no difference between a Palestinian and a Jordanian considering they are one and the same people.

One pleasing thing happening in Jordanian Politics comes from the King with the setting up of the anti-wasta commission which I hope involves less open-buffets and more cracking down on corruption. So I will end on a funny note from our friend Emad Hajjaj. (I won’t translate it because it’s funny only in Arabic, sorry)

Your Two Piasters: