Why Now?
Friday, June 03, 2005
  GULag
The question is: do Guantanamo, Bagram, and Abu Ghraib constitute an Arkhipelag GULag?

Amnesty International says Yes based on the many complaints. The Busheviki say No based on their hurt feelings.

The Medium Lobster weighs in to support the Shrubbery with: So You're Being Tortured To Death In An American Military Prison!. [Usual warning about visual assault when visiting Fafblog!.]

Steve Bates feels that complaining about AI terms is being used to let Bush off the hook by allowing the conversation to become about terminology in his post: Gulag Absurdity.

I will side with Peter Klein and his NPR commentary: Amnesty Misses the Mark with 'Gulag' Tag.

The American system lacks the procedures, and time limits that were part of the Soviet system: the Bush system isn't as bad, it is worse than the Soviet system with fewer checks and protections for prisoners.

In the Soviet Union you had to be accused of a "crime" and be tried by a "court" before you were sent to the GULag for a stated period of time. You were given an attorney to represent you at trial and you were "released" at the end of your sentence. While it is true that the "crime" was political, the trial was to hear you "confess your crime", your lawyer was to assist you in writing your confession, and the fact that you were usually forced to live in Siberia after you finished your sentence, there were more "protections" for the individual than under current system. Those sent to the GULag were not subjected to torture, only harsh living conditions.

Where are the protections for "enemy combatants"? Where are the terms of imprisonment? The American system needs many changes to take it to the level of the Soviet system. Such a system does nothing to "spread democracy".

The Soviet GULag system was harsh, repressive, and despicable. It is sad that the United States can't even make it over that obscenely low level of legality.

Read the book here: Архипелаг ГУЛаг.

[Update: edited to better express Steve Bate's point and fix link.]

 



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