Monday, December 17, 2007

ENEMY COMBATANT: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar

Mozzam Begg (with Victoria Brittain). Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar. New York: New Press, 2006.
HV6432.B44 2006

Review by Chris Gaunt

I rarely purchase books, but I bought this one in mid-December last year. I read it in early January 2007 as I was traveling to D.C. with fellow peace-loving Iowans. We were protesting the five year anniversary of the January 11 opening of the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Moazzam Begg, a British citizen, was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and accused by the United States of being a terrorist. He was finally released in 2005 without explanation or apology. He tells his story.

I cried when he told about his undeserved torture and its effects, mental and physical. It is obvious that he did not let the experience turn him into a hater. He lived to tell his story and have it published. Good for him. Good for us.

The torture issue resonates with my soul, magnified when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out in 2004. I know from my involvement with the movement to expose and close the SOA/WHINSEC at Ft. Benning, Georgia, that a Freedom of Information Act in 1996 uncovered torture manuals used at that school. It is a dirty little secret that the U.S. military still wants to keep secret.

I recently served a prison sentence and endured on a very small scale the demeaning treatment that is routinely extended to those sucked into one of our U.S. jails or prisons.

For me, torturing comes down to this: the effects on the torturer as well as the victim.

I cannot believe that I will soon travel to Washington D.C. again, to mark the 6th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. What a disgrace.

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