Good People, Evil Things: Guantanamo Testimony

Here‘s a disturbing account of the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo by Spc. Brandon Neely – it looks unlikely that Obama administration will pursue this issue which is very bad, I think:

I did not feel good about what I did. It felt wrong. This man was old enough to be my father, and I had just beaten up on him. I still to this day don’t know who was more scared before and during this incident me or the detainee.

I remember seeing him the next day when I walked into camp. His face was all bruised and scraped up. I was young and didn’t question anything back then. As I do nowadays. But even then, when I was as pissed off as anyone there, I felt ashamed of what I did. As the years have went on and the more I learn the more guilt I feel. This is one of the incidents from my time at Guantanamo that haunts me.

I am in no position to judge you, and I will not dare to do so. All I can say is that it is well known that good people can do evil things in evil environments (what psychologists call the Lucifer Effect). Or when people in authority order them to do so (the Stanford Obedience Experiment). You were in both situations. In any event, if you are OK with it, I have a couple of questions about this incident.

I am fine with this being part of my testimony. I want it to be told no matter how it makes me look. I believe it’s very important people know what happened there. I am sure there were (and are) a lot of detainees in Guantanamo that are guilty of something. But, on the other hand, there are a lot that are not guilty of nothing at all other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And no one, guilty or innocent, should be treated in the manner they have been.

China Blocking Information About Tibet.

It was not difficult to predict that China will try to block the coverage of Tibet and its protests. No one likes a reporter there when you’re trying to violently suppress an uprising, a protest, or just a good old-fashioned march.  David Barboza of New York Times reports:

The Chinese government is restricting foreign journalists from entering Tibet and neighboring areas, and blocking some news, video and Internet reports about the protests there from appearing inside China, according to journalists working here.

For the past few days, CNN, the BBC, Google News, Yahoo and YouTube have been blocked or have faced temporary blackouts or service disruptions in some parts of China. Some foreign journalists also say their e-mail service has been disrupted.

Such measures are not unusual here. China strictly censors news that appears in the Chinese media and occasionally disrupts the activities of international news organizations and foreign Web sites operating in China, particularly if the content they are distributing is deemed politically offensive to the government. The rest of the article.

The official version of the events looks sort of like this: Continue reading