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Feature Story March 18, 2004
 
Amerikanskie Siloviki
By Jake Rudnitsky Browse author Email
 
Page 3 of 6
 
Ah... Gitmo. Camp X-Ray. Sunshine and white sand, baby. By now we've all grown accustomed to the fuzzy photos of caged men in orange jumpsuits. No international law you could possibly cite to justify the open-ended detention of "enemy combatants" on foreign soil without access to consular officials, lawyers, family, or pretty much anything beyond 2700 calories of halal rations a day and a prayer mat. Life basically consists of praying five times a day, the occasional suicide attempt and hoping against hope that they'll get called for a monotony-breaking interrogation. Part of the reason it's taking so long to interrogate the 600+ detainees, who have been there for over two years with no clue as to how long they'll be there or if they'll face trial, is no doubt a shortage of Pashtun speaking Americans working for the government. In fact, only now are the first two trials set to get under way and, in a major anticlimax, the government isn't even going to seek the death penalty in either case. At this rate, even the unspecified number of children under 18 being held at Gitmo will die of old age by the time Uncle Sam gets around to "trying" them in a special military tribunal. True some kids have already been released, but they were younger still -- the Siloviki recently let three kids out, all under the age of 16. They were all held for over a year, meaning that they must have been 14 or younger at the time of their detention. They're really not "kidding" when they're talking about Full Spectrum Dominance.

Another eyebrow-raising detail about these detentions is that the 93 detainees released so far were all allowed to walk free. Only recently, five Brits were returned to London and released after brief interrogations at Scotland Yard. Amazing, that the MI6 figured out over night what it had taken our boys 2 years to establish: that they were just a bunch of harmless sand monkey transcendentalists with a thing for Afghan sheep, not members of an international terrorist army. One of the Brits just released claims he was a Taliban prisoner when he was picked up by the Americans, and is planning to sue for compensation. Too bad we're running such a deficit, as we're not likely to be very generous.

Ironically, the only detainees who actually dig the quarters are the Russians, as Gitmo's facilities seem like heaven compared to the treatment they can expect back in the Motherland, where it's unclear whether AIDS or tuberculosis will get them first. In fact, that hits on another favorite point of the American Siloviki -- they claim they're actually more humane than the competition, as if that was an excuse to violate international law and the Geneva Convention!

DATA ACQUISITION

One of the telltale characteristics of the Siloviki is a penchant for collecting massive amounts of data. But until recently, it wasn't practical to do anything with that data. Yeah, the KGB had files on every foreigner living here, but they could only get away with that because there were so few of 'em. Russians continue with the totally obsolete foreigner registration requirements, only we all know that the main purpose of these registration stamps is to redistribute a bit of money. The FSB keeps tabs on a few foreigners who have drawn attention to themselves, and is content with the $30 registration fee from the rest.

The situation in the States is quite a bit different -- since Sept. 11, foreigners from 40 countries have their fingerprints and photographs feed into a giant database, so they can be kept track of. But forget the foreigners; they're keeping track of Americans, too.

One of the funnier quotes to come out of the recent Wesson mass murder in Fresno was when some cop lamented how they couldn't identify several of the dead children, because they were too young to have been fingerprinted! That's right, most American children over the age of five have their fingerprints on file, and the cops not only don't deny it, they see it as a net benefit to society!


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