Sunday, June 11, 2006

growing hope UPDATE

At the end of May I wrote about the prisoners currently held at Guantanamo Bay by the U.S. government without due process. The vast majority have not been charged. They’re just being held by our government indefinitely. Call me crazy but that doesn’t sound like justice. If someone should be punished get the process moving but don’t just to hold them forever. It makes me sad to know that the American people tolerate such injustice with such little protest. I guess our assumption of their guilt is enough to help us sleep at night.

I wrote to share news about a garden created by the prisoners despite the difficulties in doing so. They saved seeds from their food.

“Using water to soften soil baked hard by the Caribbean sun and then scratching away with plastic spoons, a handful of prisoners have reportedly produced sufficient earth to grow watermelon, peppers, garlic, cantaloupe and even a tiny lemon plant, no more than two inches high.”

Yesterday came news that hope died for 3 of the prisoners who committed suicide using sheets and clothes to hang themselves. If the rest of these men and boys (some were seized at the age of 14) were involved in terrorism they should be put on trial and punished accordingly. Holding them indefinitely however is its own crime of brutality.

I learned from Transition Culture about a campaign to send seeds to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay for use in their garden. A group called Reprieve is hosting the campaign. You can send new unopened seed packages along with a message concerning gardening advice to: Reprieve, PO Box 52742, London, EC4P 4WS

It won’t change the inaction of our government but it might bring a bit of hope to what must be a horrible existence.


Anonymous said...

Gitmo will remain a scar on the American psyche for years to come. The German and Polish people remained silent about Dachau and Auschwitz even though many knew these camps were wrong.
Gitmo will be our Dachau.

Anonymous said...

Comparing a US POW camp to a Nazi genocide camp is absolutely ridiculous, and it is a disservice to the memory of the people who were actually at Dachau and Auschwitz.

In fact, I fail to see how this discussion is in any way associated with the intent of this website.

The story of their gardening is propaganda {& likely BS} (it comes from both sides you know). The story is designed to envoke empathy for them.

Do we really think that our government finds it prudent to transport, house, and feed people for "no reason at all."?

nulinegvgv said...

At first glance you seem uneducated about the prisoners being held at Guantanamo bay. They are not in fact Prisoners of War. They have been labeled by the U.S. Government as “Enemy Combatants”. Were they in fact POW’s they would be subject to Article 103 of the Geneva Convention which states,

Judicial investigations relating to a prisoner of war shall be conducted as rapidly as circumstances permit and so that his trial shall take place as soon as possible. A prisoner of war shall not be confined while awaiting trial unless a member of the armed forces of the Detaining Power would be so confined if he were accused of a similar offence, or if it is essential to do so in the interests of national security. In no circumstances shall this confinement exceed three months.

They would also be subject to a host of other human rights they do not currently enjoy. You can use the link above to further educate yourself on the matter.

There is of course the danger of losing our righteousness and our collective soul as a nation by allowing human beings, some of them 14 years of age at the time of detention, to be held without trial. Are you really suggesting that we support indefinite incarceration? Do you understand how dangerous that is? It means anyone can be held without trial. Wow you must really trust your government. Me, I think anyone with the authority to lock up human beings forever should be carefully watched for abuses of such power.

Another danger surrounding the treatment of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is felt more palpably by those currently serving in our armed forces. What do you think will happen to our soldiers who are unfortunate enough to be captured by our enemies in future conflicts? Do you not understand that enemy forces will point to Gunatanamo Bay and hold our boys and girls for as long as they’d like? Torture of our military personnel might be more easily accepted by foreign peoples if they have an example of our own abuse as a case in point. If for no other reason than the safety of our military men and women, the U.S. government should charge and place on trial those prisoners incarcerated in Cuba.

As unjust as our indefinite detainment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has been, it does not compare with the mass execution of millions of Jews during World War II. I reject the notion that what the U.S. government is doing in Cuba even approaches the level of atrocity reached in those death camps. You would have to reach further back to the extermination of millions of Native Americans by the European settlers and later the U.S. government to come close to such an example. I however interpreted the first comment as pointing to another example of national shame placed upon its people by the citizens themselves; willing to sit quietly by while their government flaunts the rule of law. The atrocities committed by the German and Polish governments against the Jews were much more horrible than those imposed by the U.S. government on the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. It is however another example of the willingness of a population to accept their government’s abuse of human rights- and in America! It is and will forever be a national shame.

I welcome questions and queries concerning my work here at powering down. I however will establish and guide the intent of this site. If you don’t like where we’re headed there’s plenty of room here on the internet for you to start your own site. Wandering from time to time is good for the spirit.

You suggest that the story about Gardening at Guantanamo is propaganda. That term has shifted in meaning over the years. Originally a neutral expression, it has come in our culture to mean a negative use of information, even false information, to unduly influence others. If that’s the case then the vast majority of main stream media is propaganda. If you think I’m crazy go without it for a long while. Get rid of your television and turn off your commercial radio and take in information in slow, deliberate bites. In other words read a lot. Then return to the world where you are constantly being told what to think and what to buy on an up-to-the-second basis. You will instantly recognize the vast majority of what is being said as an attempt to influence you. You go on to mention it comes from both sides. I can only reason you are making reference to the right and the left of American politics. So clever of you to recognize both polar groups seek to dominate your perspective. Maybe there is hope for you after all.

But then you screw it up by saying the story is “designed” meaning it has a designer, someone who created it for the purpose of evoking “empathy for them”. Your argument really falls apart when you suggest that the report is “B.S.” Have you any proof of this? Do you have anything other than a gut feeling to support such claims? If you think Mr. Willett is a lying terrorist sympathizer you can take that up with him ( If you think his article about gardening is Guantanamo is fabricated take that up with the Washington Post.
But do not use this forum as a pulpit to slander others without proof; you the anonymous commenter with no recourse of responsibility. That just makes you look bad.

As for your final argument that our government knows best, I caution you against loyalty over logic. If you believe our government is justified in the indefinite detention of prisoners then I say shame on you. You who would destroy this nation of freedom with your blind support of authority. Make no mistake about it, fascism will not arrive through the front door, it will be let in the back by those who are unwilling to think for themselves. Just ask the German people. And be sure that when fascism comes to town it will be carrying a cross and will be draped in the American flag. Hell, it’ll probably want to sell you something. Fear any administration that thinks it knows best above all others. Can’t you see that understanding others is the cornerstone of a peaceful society? Use your mind as God intended. Think for yourself and don’t come back until you have something more useful to offer than misinformation, misplaced allegations and close-minded support for those that would enslave you, indefinitely.

Anonymous said...

True, it is your site, and you will pick the content. Just be aware that imposing your pollitical views could cause you to loose some readers, who are not visiting here for that purpose. There are already plenty of "blogs" for that, and I guess I just didn't think of this as a pollitical forum.

However, if you'd like to open that discussion, then I'd just like to add a couple of points for the sake of debate.

1) Our current enemy does not take prisoners.

2) Why on earth would the internet be assumed to be a safer source of information than that of traditional media?
Lots of web pages have "agendas", and they are much less acountable.

3) It is possible to be a closed minded liberal.

4) People who disagree with you are not automatically closed minded.

5) Facism already exists in the Middle East, and you're correct it is guised in religion.

6) I agree, it is irresponsible to call something "BS" without proof. Apologies to Mr. Willet.

nulinegvgv said...

I appreciate your thoughts about political views and their contribution to this website. In general I agree that a focus on freedom through doing for oneself, especially concerning food production, is better for readers. This site is still a way for me to work out issues I’m having with empire culture. It’s a form of therapy for me. I hope people continue to visit and read about ways they can change their lives for the better, but I reserve the right to rant if and when the mood strikes. It keeps me sane. Remember I am getting paid nothing ($0.00) to do this. If readership declines I will continue to write. It pleases me that other people use this site as a resource. It’s also a sanity resource for me.

While we’re at it though…

1. Who do you mean by “our current enemy”? Are you talking about Iraqi insurgents angry we invaded their country despite the whole WMD mistake? Are you talking about the Middle East as a region or Muslims in general? Are you talking about anyone who kills civilians? That last group is horrible bunch. I don’t put a whole lot of stock in the “us” vs. “them” rhetoric. It’s really just a way for people in power to over simplify issues and get average Americans to hate people and therefore support killing. I’ll guess your talking about Iraqi insurgents. You statement is incorrect. They do kidnap people. Sometimes they release them and other times they behead them and video their actions. I don’t condone those actions. In fact I condemn that behavior but that “we good, they bad” talk really doesn’t get us anywhere. Have you ever really thought about why anyone would hate America? Here’s a hint, it doesn’t have anything to do with “hating our freedoms”.

2. The vast majority of print, tv and radio media rely on advertising for revenue. Follow the money and you’ll find a connection to the individual bias each is peddling. Let me take this opportunity to again state that I receive no money for writing at my site. You have to deal with my personal opinions and I am a human therefore I will make mistakes but I am beholden to no one. There are many sources of information free from the chains of corporate sponsorship here on the internet. There is plenty of propaganda here as well but the existence of so many of us doing this work for free raises the chance of getting information not aimed at trying to get you to buy something.

3. Of course it’s possible. I know many of them. Again with the sweeping generalizations. I think the federal government should be way more responsible with tax dollars than it’s currently being. And I don’t care who my neighbor has sex with. I think condoms should be available to high school students in an effort to reduce abortion, which I think is a bad idea in many instances. I think religion has no place in our schools and I believe Darwin got it wrong. Which team would you place me on? I find it highly amusing that the democrats can’t figure out why their poll numbers aren’t rising as the republican’s poll numbers drop. Newz flash- most Americans aren’t adequately represented by either party. Can we get some more options here? Why must we pick out of a list of two? I have more options than that when I shop for light bulbs. Politics in this country won’t change significantly until we get a few more parties in play and until we remove corporate financing of candidates.

4. People who are unwilling to consider my ideas or anyone’s ideas before condemning them are closed minded. People who have stopped growing and think they know everything necessary to create an unalterable belief system are closed minded. I love how many of the republicans when asked about al gore’s documentary on climate change have said they won’t see the movie. Now that is closed minded. Newz flash fellas, you can open your mind and watch a movie and then come out and decide the movie was wrong. It’s as if they believe seeing the movie will infect them with a disease that forces people to inaccurately believe in global warming.

5. By facism in the Middle East I assume you mean the mandatory covering of a woman’s FACe. I’m kidding. I am a horrible speller by nature so I’ll let you off the hook and assume you meant fascism which Wikipedia defines as “a radical authoritarian political philosophy that combines elements of corporatism, totalitarianism, extreme nationalism, militarism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism.” I see many of these aspects reflected in countries in the Middle East; some of whom are our allies. I see the corporate, nationalistic and even some of the totalitarian aspects right here in America. Corporations giving millions of dollars to campaigns, being allowed eminent domain for redevelopment of communities, hell my spell check was pissed because I didn’t capitalize the word “corporations”. A confidential memo leaked today shows the GOP plans later this week to label those who oppose the war as “sheepish, weak and prone to waver endlessly”. Sounds pretty nationalistic to me- you don’t support the war so you are un-American I’m told. And totalitarian… I am amazed at how Americans have rolled over and allowed the current administration to examine domestic phone records (regime if they are our enemy, administration if they are our friend. Damn they use language to shape our opinion). And this from the republicans who claim to support the rights of the individual. Good thing the Democrats aren’t running this surveillance program. Me, I support house to house searches of American households each night; as long as it’s in support of the war on terrorism.

6. I respect your apology and will pass it along.

Unless you object I move we adjourn from this location for any further political debate stemming from this comment section. If you have a reply to the above please visit

for continued debate.

Now, who wants to see pictures of my new baby chickens?