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Hunger Games on Stage

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Abd al Rahim al Nashiriby Luke Hiken and Marti Hiken

Americans are soon to be rewarded with the bizarre and inexplicable spectacle of watching Abd al Rahim al Nashiri be “tried” for treason before a “Military Commission” at our Guantanamo concentration camp in Cuba. Actually, we will not really “watch” the proceeding, since it is to take place behind closed doors, with the proceedings kept secret from the American people for “national security reasons.” Instead, we will read the propaganda reports issued by our secret police, who will provide us with their descriptions of what is happening in the “courtroom.” We will slowly watch Justice and the Constitution being carved up into little pieces, sliced, starved, mutilated, and finally, obliterated. It is the Pentagon’s twisted version of “The Hunger Games.”

It is an unnecessary show trial of a man who has been tortured, brutalized and beaten by prison guards for more than a decade. Why in the world would the military and President conduct this farce? Obama bows once again to the over-reaching demands of the Pentagon. Everyone knows that the Pentagon has no compunctions against simply killing our “enemies.” We already regularly drop unmanned bombs on civilian populations in several countries, merely apologizing for any “unreasonable casualties” who happen to be on the ground when our bombs fall. We send assassination squads around the globe to kill those individuals the President or his military owners don’t like. We eliminate cities at the whim of the President and our military. Why don’t they simply kill Nashiri, as they do with so many other prisoners we hold throughout the world? What do they accomplish with this absurd, Kafkaesque pretense at military justice in a Star Chamber proceeding?

The only rational explanation for this latest atrocity is to intimidate and humiliate those who would oppose this government. Just as in the “Hunger Games,” by putting on this scripted trial of a man who has been tortured and brutalized to the point of insanity is to place Nashiri before the world to see how brutal and uninhibited we have become as a nation.

It is nothing short of a public hanging or lynching. Instead of a closed trial, the Pentagon might as well have a public execution, with concession stands, box seats and a raffle (or some type of betting system), as to how long it will take the victim to die. No rational person in the U.S. believes that this trial possesses a scintilla of truth or justice. The charade is like Obama’s wars throughout the Middle East -- unnecessary and inappropriate. Yet, the citizenry is no more capable of altering the course of his wars than it is of putting a stop to this lynching at Guantanamo.

Of course, it will be surprising if Abd al Rahim al Nashiri participates in the Games at all – he and the American people will be absent. The American Bar Association will be there as will the National Institute of Military Justice; their bar cards lending credibility and dignity to the proceedings. The media will most likely be barred from attendance, although a few might be able to get in, so long as they adhere to the “party line.” The media’s efforts should be applauded, however, because they are making an attempt to challenge the government.

It is strikingly similar to what happens in concentration camps. “Enemy combatants” are rounded up, given no semblance of a trial, and exterminated after unbelievable horrors are heaped upon them while in custody. Given the Christian/Israeli fanaticism that dominates the Pentagon’s thinking and policies these days, it is appropriate that the “trial” be commenced during Easter and Passover. Only now, rather than being the Jews and the gypsies who will suffer it is the Arabs’ turn to die.

We live in the strangest of times – a time when two Constitutional lawyers, Obama and Holder become the Guardians of our very own, homegrown Hunger Games. If there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it lies in the fact that homicidal regimes, ones that play games with people’s lives, are ultimately overthrown and replaced by more honest leaders.

Marti Hiken is the director of Progressive Avenues. She is the former Associate Director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and former chair of the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Task Force.

Luke Hiken is an attorney who has engaged in the practice of criminal, military, immigration, and appellate law.


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