Transcribed from the 8 February 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“I thought it was just another detainee holding facility. But we knew that it was not on the map; this was not on the books. The soldier with me said, ‘We just found our Auschwitz.’ It shook all through my body, and I said, ‘Let’s get out of here.’”
Chuck Mertz: Guantánamo is a horrible place that should be closed, never should have been opened in the first place, and may very well have been the scene of a triple murder. Here with an insider’s account, Joseph Hickman is author of Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantánamo Bay.
Joe has spent most of his life in the military—first as a marine, then as a soldier in both the army and the national guard. Deployed on several military operations throughout the world, sometimes attached to foreign militaries, the recipient of more than twenty commendations and medals, Joe was awarded the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Commendation Medal while he was stationed with the 629th military intelligence battalion in Guantánamo Bay. He is currently working as an independent researcher and senior research fellow at Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Policy and Research.
You start your book by writing, “I am a patriotic American.” Is this a book written out of a sense of patriotism? Is this a patriotic book?
Joseph Hickman: Yes. I do believe it is. Like you said, I was in the military for fourteen years when I arrived at Guantánamo. It was my life. And I believe that, as an American soldier, it was my job to come forward and report a war crime. I think it’s every soldier’s duty to report a war crime if they see one occur. I believe I witnessed a war crime, and I tried to report it.
Aus aktuellem Anlass stellen wir hier die Übersetzung der Broschüre: “Ferguson: Mike Brown & die Riots gegen den Rassismus des 21. Jahrhunderts” ein. Sie stammt aus dem autonomen Blättchen Nr. 19 und behandelt Hintergründe und den Ablauf der Proteste und Aufstände im August diesen Jahres.
Rassistische Spannungen in Missouri
Die rassistischen Spannung und Trennung sind konstant in der Geschichte Missouris. 1820 wurde der Missouri-Kompromiss verabschiedet, der Missouri als Sklavenstaat anerkannte, um das „Gleichgewicht der Macht“ zwischen Sklaven- und freien Staaten im Kongress zu bewahren. St. Louis war eines der Haupt-Auktions-Zentren, wo Geschäftsleute und Einzelpersonen Sklaven kaufen und leihen konnten. Im frühen 20. Jahrhundert stieg, aufgrund seines Industriezentrums und dem Reiz von Fabrikjobs die Afrikanisch-Amerikanische Immigration nach St. Louis an. Es kam zu Ressentiments und Spannungen von Weißen gegen die schwarzen Migrant_innen. Schließlich kochten die Spannungen im Sommer 1917 über, als weiße Mobs begannen, Feuer in den Häusern der schwarzen Siedlungen zu legen.
Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 5 September 2014 episode and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“It’s not so much a question of whether the media should be there or not. The media should just do a good job. We should be respectful of residents’ privacy and dignity and should practice basic research before writing something up.”
Chuck Mertz: One of the most recent additions to our team of irregular correspondents is Sarah Kendzior. We’re proud to have gotten her as a correspondent. Sarah, good morning!
Sarah Kendzior: Good morning, how are you?
CM: Good! Sarah Kendzior is a St. Louis-based columnist for Al Jazeera English and the Chronicle of Higher Education, but her writing is popping up everywhere, including her most recent work at Politico.com: After Ferguson, St. Louis’s Decaying Black Suburbs Are About to Be Forgotten. Again.
Transcribed from the 2 August 2014 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“We’re going to see the rise of a mass detention and deportation system [for immigrants] that will very much rival mass incarceration, and could actually grow as mass incarceration shrinks.”
Chuck Mertz: Live from Berkeley, Jonathan Simon is author of Mass Incarceration on Trial: A Remarkable Court Decision and the Future of Prisons in America. Good morning, Jonathan.
Jonathan Simon: Morning, Chuck.
CM: You write, “Like a biblical flood, the age of mass incarceration is finally ebbing. After forty years, not forty days, a once-unstoppable tide of harsh sentencing laws, aggressive prosecution policies, and diminished opportunities for parole seems to be subsiding.”
Forty years is two whole generations of human beings. What do you think the cultural legacy of that mass incarceration is, or will be?
Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 6 September 2014 episode and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“We face a state that treats black people as if we are about to rise up in an insurgency at any moment. They preemptively police us as if we are an insurgency.”
Chuck Mertz: Live with us right now, executive editor of the Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford. Good morning, Glen.
Glen Ford: Good morning. Good to be here.
CM: Isn’t it great, this post-racial America? It looks great in Ferguson, Missouri!
GF: Oh, I’m just aglow. I’m bathed in it. Aren’t we all?
Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 24 May 2014 episode and printed with permission. Listen to the full interview:
“When you’re a target of the police, you want to be an unpredictable person. You don’t want to show up routinely anywhere. You don’t want to go to the hospital when you’ve been injured or when your baby is born. You don’t want to go to your mother’s house on Christmas. Who knows who will be there to take you into custody?”