The USA is a land of austerity, poverty, and inequality. This is not unique to America, but the degree of hypocrisy is. No other nation so loudly claims to stand for “truth, justice, freedom, equality, and democracy” while so radically opposing these virtues. But you already knew that.
I want to mention the Guantanamo Bay prison, and then connect Guantanamo with austerity.
On Monday (1 Dec 2015) the US government admitted that it has wrongly imprisoned a man in the Guantanamo prison for the last thirteen years in a case of mistaken identity. Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri, 37, has never been charged with any crime. The U.S. government admits that he is innocent, but still refuses to release him. In fact, of the 107 victims now in the Guantanamo prison, almost half have been cleared for release from as far back as 2007.
Of all the victims at Guantanamo, only three were abducted by US forces. The rest were abducted by other nations, mainly Pakistan and Afghanistan. The U.S. government does not know why its victims were abducted, or why they must be held, except to say that they are a “threat to national security.”
Sixty-eight were abducted by Pakistani forces or informants for a bounty paid by the USA. Of those, at least 17 were captured by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence, which is a known sponsor of the Afghan Taliban (which the USA claims to be fighting).
Another thirty victims were abducted on the orders of Afghan drug lords, who collaborate with U.S. forces in the production of illicit heroin. Over sixty of the Guantanamo victims were abducted by Pakistan and Afghan thugs in the region of Tora Bora. U.S. forces paid the thugs for whoever was dragged in, and believed whatever the thugs claimed.
Thus, if a person in Pakistan or Afghanistan does not like someone, or if he simply wants some extra cash, he can attack a fellow countryman, tie him up, drag him to the foreign or domestic authorities, and collect a bounty. The victim’s innocence and identity are irrelevant. When you build a prison like Guantanamo, you need Muslim bodies to fill it. It does not matter where the bodies come from. The victims are kept in the prison even when they are known to be innocent, and even when they are cleared for release. If they stage hunger strikes, then the guards shove tubes into their bodies to force-feed them.
In March 2002, Army Colonel Stuart Herrington visited the Guantanamo prison to review operations, and discovered that US interrogators knew nothing about the victims they were torturing. The interrogators were simply told that their victims were “terrorists.”
What’s the connection with austerity?
Whenever anyone brings up these facts, and suggests that Guantanamo be closed down, the politicians that scream the loudest against closing it are Republicans who are “fiscal conservatives,” meaning they are radically pro-austerity and pro-inequality. All of them began as penniless nobodies and rocketed up the political ladder by preaching hate. All of them claim to be righteous “Christians.” All of them hate refugees, and love war (which creates refugees). All of them want to cut social programs that help average people. All of them want to want to privatize Medicare and Social Security. All of them want a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. All of them call the innocent victims at Guantanamo the “worst of the worst terrorists.”
Here are two quick examples of Guantanamo cheerleaders.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (Republican-New Hampshire) proves that women can be just as scummy as men. Ayotte says that the innocent victims at Guantanamo are “terrorist recruiters” and “bodyguards of Osama Bin Laden.” She says that if Obama closes the Guantanamo prison, Obama will be “breaking the law.” She says that climate change isn’t real. She wants further deregulation of Wall Street. She wants to lower the U.S. minimum wage, and raise the Social Security eligibility age. She opposed the “Stimulus Bill” of 2009, and she wants a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Also she is pro-gun, since her right-wing constituents don’t care how starving and impoverished they become, as long as they can keep shooting holes in each other. She is also a severe child abuser (i.e. anti-abortion).
Sen. Tim Scott (Republican – South Carolina) is a darling of the Tea Party morons, because he is an ultra-right-wing Black. By sucking up to rich white elitists, Scott was installed in the South Carolina House of Representatives. After serving only one term, he was installed in the U.S. House of Representatives. After serving only one term in the U.S. House, he was installed in the U.S. senate, alongside his good buddy Lindsey Graham. Scott has the endorsement of a political action committee in Washington D.C. called the “Club for Growth,” which campaigns for austerity and for the further decriminalization of bankers and financial swindlers.
Scott opposes any plan to release or move the innocent victims in Guantanamo. He claims that they are all terrorists. He also opposes labor unions. In March 2011 he co-sponsored a bill to deny food stamps to families whose incomes were lowered to the point of eligibility because a family member was participating in a labor strike.
Like all right-wingers he says that government spending on social programs is “wasteful,” except for the federal dollars that he grabs for his personal cronies. For example, he wrangled $300 million from Washington for a Charleston harbor dredging project.
The point of all this is that austerity and the Big Lie are products of hate, are sustained by hate, and sustain hate.