Muaz al-Alawi

Let us imagine that Germany, for instance, where many US military personnel are stationed, were to decide to imprison and torture in a secret prison somewhere all of the US personnel it could capture or pay bounty hunters in Germany or other countries to capture, whether or not they had ever used arms against Germany or any of its allies.  What if after years of such treatment, a German court of some sort were convened to review this situation and declared that no evidence existed of any aggression of these US military personnel against that country, but that the fact of their having been members of the US military is sufficient to continue their imprisonment forever?

What would you who are reading this think of that?  What if one of them were related to you?  Would the fact that such a thing is against international laws and the laws of Germany itself not make such treatment of US military untenable?  Would the fact that such treatment is morally repugnant not be outrageous?

Why then is it okay for the US to imprison and torture people in Guantanamo and other US black sites in exactly that situation?

Here is one case in particular.  Muaz al-Alawi (referred to as “Moath al-Alwi” in US documents for reasons I don’t know) from Yemen had gone to Afghanistan some considerable time before the US invasion and engaged in the long standing internal conflicts between the Taliban, the government of Afghanistan before the US invaded we must remember, and the so called Northern Alliance, another group of Afghan warlords.  He remained with his unit after the invasion of Afghanistan by the US in late 2001 and fled to Khost and then to Pakistan after they were bombed by the US several times.

The US had armed and supported those warlords during the last years of the Soviet Union in an attempt to keep that country out of what it wanted as its colony basically whatever story it told to make this look legitimate.  It is the nature of warlords to make war and they did it for ages.  Muaz al-Alawi had not enlisted to fight the US nor did he ever.

In his ruling in December 30, 2008, Judge Richard Leon wrote that:

“Although there is no evidence of petitioner actually using arms against U.S. or coalition forces, the Government does not need to prove such facts in order for petitioner to be classified as an enemy combatant under the definition adopted by the Court.”  Read more here and remarks about this by Andy Worthington here.

Muaz al-Alawi had the audacity not to have renounced his unit the moment the US invaded, though it was very likely he had no way of knowing that the US had invaded until US bombs fell on them, as they did, we might add, on numerous innocent civilians as well.  Even if he had, it might have made no difference.  He was not captured in the field of battle with the US, he was not fighting the US.  He fled to Pakistan and was sold to the US by bounty hunters.

Under US and international law, soldiers who are captured on the field of battle, which he was not, must be treated humanely and then returned to their country at the end of hostilities.  Muaz al-Alawi should never have been imprisoned by the US, much less tortured and rendered to Guantanamo, and he should most certainly have been released after the fall of the Taliban government.

Instead, it is now the tenth year that Muaz al-Alawi is held without recourse to that monstrous decision by Judge Leon.

Again, what would you think of such treatment of US military personnel by another country?  The US is coming close to declaring these people guilty of breathing while Muslim.  It is both scandalous and frightening.

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One Response to “Muaz al-Alawi”

  1. nancy Says:

    This from 22 July 2011 from

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/checkpoint-washington/post/judges-keep-accused-taliban-fighter-held-at-guantanamo-bay/2011/07/22/gIQArtMkTI_blog.html

    “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected an appeal by Moath Hamza Ahmed Al Alwi, a Yemeni citizen who is accused of being a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. In a 28-page opinion written by Judge Merrick Garland, a unanimous three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling that had rejected Al Alwi’s challenge to his confinement.

    “Garland was joined by Judge David Tatel and Senior Judge Stephen Williams in their decision that the government had met its burden in proving it may detain Al Alwi.

    “Another three-judge panel also ruled Friday that freed detainees may not challenge their confinements or designations as “enemy combatants” in U.S. courts after being released. Two freed detainees had hoped to clear their names in court. However, the appeals court upheld the ruling by a federal judge that the men could not press their case because they had been released and were now beyond the jurisdiction of the courts. The opinion was written by Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg, who was joined by Tatel and Judge Janice Rogers Brown.

    “The two rulings are just the latest from an an appeals court that has consistently sided with the Obama Administration in cases related to Guantanamo Bay detainees. In 2008, detainees won the right to challenge their confinements in U.S. Courts under the centuries-old legal doctrine of habeas corpus. The District’s federal judges preside over all of those cases; the judge’s may be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.”

    All this in spite of the fact that, as stated above in US court, there is no evidence of petitioner actually using arms against U.S. or coalition forces.

    What kind of country does this to people? What are we doing about it?

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