America The Exceptional

5 Oct

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As many things that one can list that contribute to pride and patriotism that its citizens avidly trumpet, there is also a rather long list of shameful and reprehensible acts and episodes that festoon United States history(Even the phrase American Exceptionalism echoes US arrogance, as’American’ refers to the nations of two continents). The history of the relations between the United States and Cuba is on that list, just one imposing example of the depredations of the self-serving doctrine of manifest destiny, an Uhr concept of US Exceptionalism.

Though the baby American republic’s covetousness of Cuba dates back to Jefferson’s time, the Spanish-American-Cuban war finally brought the largest island in the Caribbean under the control of Uncle Sam. With pseudo laws such as the Platt Amendment, Cuba essentially remained a US protectorate (and brothel) until the Bearded Ones drove out the United Fruit backed puppet Fulgencio Batista in 1959. As the sad story goes, relations between the USA and the Cuban Revolution soured when its leader, Fidel Castro declared Cuba a socialist state and went on to nationalize American holdings —which coincidentally saw the flight (exodus) of the (essentially white) upper and middle classes.

Now this may seem like non-sequitor to the subject at hand—Guantanamo—but I suspect many readers may be lacking the context for understanding the sinister and unholy place that is the Cuban property the USA has expropriated. In comic operatic fashion, the USA has insisted on sending the Cuban government a rent check yearly which Fidel Castro, naturally,has refused to cash.

Since the creation of the War on Terror, post September 2001, Guantanamo has been one of the United States’s rendition sites used to house detainees who were pronounced (without trial or any commonly accepted legal proceedings) dangerous terrorists.

Detainees at Guantanamo are shackled, blindfolded and made to wear industrial earmuffs

Detainees at Guantanamo are shackled, blindfolded and made to wear industrial earmuffs

Now if you have a reasonably healthy recall if you harken back to President Obama’s election you should note his ‘promise’ to close “Gitmo’,as it is also known. Needless to say that hasn’t happened. Apparently that righteous act hasn’t been validated by a groundswell of support of the citizenry.

Unlike the awful acts perpetrated by various European totalitarian regimes and by US backed ‘strongmen, the stench of Guantanamo has been reported and graphically exhibited in a number of books.

Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantanamo Bay by Joseph Hickman

Murder at Camp Delta  by Joseph Hickman

Murder at Camp Delta by Joseph Hickman

Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power by Joseph Margulies

Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power by Joseph Margulies

Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power by Joseph Margulies

The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison by Andy Worthington

The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison by Andy Worthington

The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison by Andy Worthington

Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi  (edited by Larry Siems)

Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi (edited by Larry Siems)

I don’t know is this a case of ‘hidden in plain sight”?

And if you really want to feel ashamed you could have a peek at

The CIA Torture Report by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

The CIA Torture Report: Unclassified by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (

The CIA Torture Report: Unclassified by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (

Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program – Foreword, Findings and Conclusions, and Executive Summary. The Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, commonly known as the CIA Torture Report, is a 6,000-page report compiled by the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s Detention and Interrogation Program using enhanced interrogation techniques (a euphemism for torture) on detainees following the September 11 attacks in 2001. The full report has not been published, but the committee voted in April 2014 to release the recommendations, executive summary, and findings of the report. A 525-page unclassified portion of the report was released on December 9, 2014, after a presentation on the floor of the Senate by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the chairwoman of the Select Committee on Intelligence. Over 90% of the report remains classified. The report, which took four years and $40 million to compile, focused on 2001-06. It detailed actions by CIA officials and shortcomings of the detention project. One key finding was that enhanced interrogation techniques did not help acquire actionable intelligence or gain cooperation from detainees.

But let’s get real here—it is highly unlikely you’re going to avail yourself of the information. Right?

But you do have the opportunity to see a movie that has a budding super star (Kristen Stewart) in Camp X-Ray as a young US Army recruit who is stationed in Guantánamo and whose duties include 12 hour shifts rotating around a claustrophobic cell block [60′ x 20′) on suicide watch of 8 detainees.

Need I say, its a harrowing narrative? And profoundly disturbing.

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