December 2011        


The war on terrorism

Consider the difference of treatment between five Cubans who seek to defend their country from terrorism and an American soldier sent to Afghanistan to fight the “war on terror” and who is subsequently convicted of three murders.
     In the first instance the five Cubans who came to be dubbed the Miami Five are, barring one, spending years in prison, with little or no likelihood of immediate release.
     René González was released on 7 October but has to remain on American soil for the next three years, which puts his life in grave danger, given that he has to avoid the same right-wing groups and individuals he and his comrades had infiltrated in their attempt to offset further terrorist campaigns launched from Miami and other actions against their native land.
     Staff-Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, aged 26, was court-martialled and convicted of fifteen charges, including three murders and actions that involved cutting the fingers off corpses and taking teeth as trophies. Gibbs was the ringleader of a rogue US Army unit that he described as the “kill team,” who were regularly responsible for attacking unarmed Afghan villagers for sport, after which they had photographs taken of themselves with bloodied corpses.
     Prosecution witnesses portrayed Gibbs as a bloodthirsty renegade who despised Afghans, calling them “savages,” who regularly mocked and played with Afghan corpses.
     He was described as having committed the “ultimate betrayal . . . [He] betrayed his folk, he betrayed his unit, and, with the flag of his nation emblazoned across his chest, thousands of miles from home, he betrayed his nation.” He was sentenced to life in prison.
     His defence lawyer asked for leniency, saying that “he’s not the same person he was in Afghanistan, and he doesn’t want his wife to have to raise their son on her own.”
     The defence must have struck a chord, as the military jury decided that he would be eligible for parole in eight-and-a-half years.
     It’s good to know that he too will probably have to spend a probationary period of three years, living among the Afghan “savages” on his release from a military jail in which he was incarcerated for fighting the war on terrorism!

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