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The British Are Special

6:50 PM, Feb 11, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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I just got through my first call-in radio show for the BBC, where I was invited on to 5 Live to discuss the "fairness" of the military tribunals at Gitmo. The program's other guest was Andy Worthington, who's apparently written a book on the culture of torture at the military prison. Before running out the door, I thought I'd see what I could find out about Mr. Worthington. His latest piece at Counter Punch begins:

It really doesn't get any worse than this.

Candace Gorman, lawyer for Abdul Hamid al-Ghizzawi, a Libyan detainee at Guantánamo, reports that her client has been infected with AIDS. Mr. al-Ghizzawi explained to his lawyer in a letter that he was told about his infection by a doctor at Guantánamo, adding that he believes that the infection took place in 2004, when he was given a blood test, which "resulted in alarm amongst the hospital staff," although he was not given any explanation for the alarm at the time.

That's right...the U.S. military is now infecting detainees with AIDS, which I suspect would have come as no surprise at all to the program's callers had Worthington cared to share the news with them. Most of the calls ended in some sort of deranged rant about how the United States was complicit in the 9/11 attack, and how there would be no justice at all until the politicians running this country were held accountable for their crimes. The host let them all have their say without interruption. Mixed in were a very few calls of the "good riddance to bad rubbish" variety, but when one of these callers recommended summary execution as a simple solution to the Gitmo problem, his comment was deemed "offensive." Of course, offensive is a relative term. The host didn't hesitate to read aloud text messages from his listeners labeling me a terrorist for my nuanced view of waterboarding (it may be torture, but as a matter of policy it is not currently considered as such, and I personally don't lose any sleep over it).

Best of luck with the Sharia, I say.