The Political Sacrifice of Schapelle Corby
THE EXPENDABLE PROJECT
THE EXPENDABLE PROJECT
I could have been home years ago--no one seriously thinks I am a threat--but still I am here. Years ago, the military said I was a "guard" for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don't even seem to believe it anymore. But they don't seem to care how long I sit here, either.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The detainees there are not protesting in desperation because of their geographical location: we want to be in Illinois rather than a Cuban island. They are sacrificing their health and their lives in response to being locked in a cage for more than a decade without charges: a system Obama, independent of what Congress did, intended to preserve."The only reason I am still here," said al-Hasan Moqbel, "is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one. I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen's president do something, that is what I risk every day...I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free."
Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I'm sleeping.At one point, sick in the prison hospital and refusing to be force-fed, al-Hasan Moqbel was tied to his hospital bed for 26 hours. He was not permitted to use the bathroom. Instead, he wrote, "They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray."
There are so many of us on hunger strike now that there aren't enough qualified medical staff members to carry out the force-feedings; nothing is happening at regular intervals. They are feeding people around the clock just to keep up.
During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily. I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not.
It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. As they were finishing, some of the "food" spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity.
When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the [Extreme Reaction Force] team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding.
Tsarnaev is probably the single most hated figure in America now. As a result...not many people will care what is done to him...But that's always how rights are abridged: by targeting the most marginalized group or most hated individual in the first instance, based on the expectation that nobody will object because of how marginalized or hated they are. Once those rights violations are acquiesced to in the first instance, then they become institutionalized forever, and there is no basis for objecting once they are applied to others, as they inevitably will be.Anyone who thought the government would stop at revoking Miranda rights needs to pay closer attention. Suddenly, all kinds of repressive measures--ones that would cause a frantic outcry if they came from a Republican White House--are on the table, from increased border security and background checks for immigrants coming to the U.S. to greater surveillance via video cameras and other means.
-- There are hundreds of unsolved cases of missing and murdered women across the country. Most of these are Aboriginal. The federal government has refused calls for a judicial inquiry. Nine of the ten provincial governments plus all three northern territories government recently called on the government to change its mind.Sexism and violence against women is one of the hallmarks of modern class society. Its prevalence is fuelled by the vast commercialization of sex. And considering the conduct of capitalist political leaders on the world stage, including the wars and violence they incite and wage, it is also little wonder that insensitivity and bullying by youths should be a persistent societal problem.
-- Many of the cases of missing women are in British Columbia. The 2006 trial of convicted serial killer Robert Pickton in Vancouver as well as the subsequent public inquiry revealed massive failings in the conduct of the RCMP and municipal police agencies in that investigation. Pickton's killing spree went on for years.
-- Human Rights Watch published a shocking report earlier this year on the conduct of the RCMP in northern British Columbia, accusing the force of deep-going discrimination against women. The report's allegations include criminal sexual violence or threats of violence by RCMP officers against women. Northern BC is the location of the "Highway of Tears," so named for the string of unsolved disappearances of women along its route stretching back several decades.
-- The RCMP is currently facing a class action lawsuit by dozens its own female officers for discrimination and sexual threats, coercion and assault by male constables and officers against their female colleagues.
-- Canada's prison system is also coming under intense fire for its treatment of women. Some of the latest focus is prompted by the disturbing case of Ashley Smith. She hung herself in her prison cell in 2007 while corrections officers looked on. She went into Canada's prison gulag at the age of 14 for a minor offense and never emerged. The grisly details of her case are under intensive review in Ontario.
--Coincidentally, a recently published study concluded that prison staff in Canada do not receive adequate training in ethical and human rights values.