Matt Taibbi’s Take on the the Bush Thanksgiving Stunt

The very witty Matt Taibbi is as usual scathing and funny in his latest column, Stuffed on Thanksgiving:In Baghdad, the fourth estate buys the fake. While he expects nothing less than that kind of stunt from Bush, he is absolutely scathing in his criticism of the reporters who went along with it, and no less to the papers who put the story on the front page.

“Rather than tune out and tell the president to pay for his campaign ads like all the other candidates, the entire American media rolled over and covered the stunt at face value, even after the administration made it clear that the only journalists they would invite along would be the ones who could be counted on to portray Bush as a cross between Christ and Douglas MacArthur.”

Beautiful. He’s right about this. One can criticize Bush for this kind of PR stunt, but it is the press that went along with it. If they weren’t there, there would be no story. Which brings me to an interview Rick MacArthur recently gave to Democracy Now!, in which he states,“…. I’m thinking that the proper response for Americans, for readers and viewers of the news, is to assume that the press is now part of the government.” Indeed.

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Abdurahman Khadr – Canadian back from Guantanamo Bay by way of Sarajevo

After 2 years in Guantanamo Bay with his younger brother, Abdurahman Khadr is back where he belongs – in the country he was raised. Whatever one thinks about what he had to say in today’s press conference, this young man is a Canadian`, and our government has not accepted responsibility for him. For nearly a year, he and his 17 year-old brother have been in the legal black hole (among other things) that is Guantanamo Bay, and the Canadian government hasn’t had anything to say about this. Canada, as an apparent defender of human rights world-wide, is not even capable of defending a basic human right for its citizens abroad: the right to *not* be held indefinitely without charge.

This is very basic, and it doesn’t matter what the situation is. If there is enough evidence, an individual should be charged and tried in either civilian or military courts. We afford this basic right to even our most monstrous criminals – even the Nazis and Paul Bernardos of the world. While some may try to focus attention on the fact that he was in an “Al-Queda sponsored” training camp in Afghanistan when he was there, it distracts from the real issues: Guantanamo Bay is an illegitimate and probably illegal detention camp, and Abdurahman Khadr, who has citizenship in only one country, should have been sent to Canada and *not* Afghanistan. The US presumably decided that he was not a threat and not a terrorist, and rather than send him to Canada, they dumped him in Afghanistan without ID and let him fend for himself.

We can only presume young Mr. Khadr is innocent or he would still be held. Whatever the case of his father, who is alleged to have been associated with Al-Queda when he was alive, it has no bearing on the case of his sons. For the Canadian government to refuse to defend the rights of Canadians held in Guantanamo, and to deny them diplomatic assistance upon their release (at least in the case of Abdurahman), is simply indefensible. I mean, where else would the government have him go? He’s a Canadian, and upon release he should have been sent straight back home. Simple.

Here are transcribed excerpts of the press conference from the Toronto Star.