Thursday, May 29, 2008

Open Tribunal Records on Child Soldier POWs


To Representative Michael C. Burgess, Kay Granger, and Select Members of Congress

From: Eddie Griffin

Re: Open Tribunal Records on Child Soldier POWs

Dear Congressman Burgess & Congresswoman Granger:

As you know, this war has raised my most detestable ire, prosecution by inhumane means, and under the cloud of deceit. We never hear about the Geneva Convention code of conduct in this war. We never hear about the fatherless children of war.

We killed the fathers in battle and took the children into custody, some as young as 12 years old, and charged them with being “terrorists”. We subject them to torture and other harsh interrogation techniques to extract a confession.

Congressman Burgess: Are you in this war to kill the fathers and torture their children?

Congresswoman Granger: Do you approve of the treatment to these children?

Why can’t they speak for themselves, loud enough so all American citizens can hear?

I have highlighted the cases of several juveniles now incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. (Click on link). I was utterly shocked to discover the ages of these combatant. I forwarded my concerns to the Child Protection Division of the United Nations, because asking the US government to examine its own human rights practices has been like asking the fox watching the hen why feathers keep flying out of his mouth.

One child soldier has been held six years, without charges, until now since he turned 21. Now the government wants to bring him before a military tribunal and charge him with a capital offense. These are not isolated cases. A case in Florida proved false. In Dallas, an Islam charity group was exonerated after a long persecution. Now we have incarcerated some 60 or more teenagers, suspected of being terrorists.

A child throws a rock at a Germany tank in World War II, he is a hero. The same child throws a rock at an American humvee and he is a terrorists. Come on! You robbed this child of his childhood, ravished his homeland, killed his father, and destroyed everything that he has left. And, you people call him a “terrorists”. PLEASE!

You and the government have tried to keep the cases of these children quiet, by feeding us the propaganda that these are the notorious terrorists. You don’t tell us that you detain them because they are “potential” terrorist, a reverse berserk notion of crime prevention, as part of our war against terrorism.

Let the children speak for themselves, before you try to put them to death. And let every word of their testimony be read before the light of day, so people of the world can judge for themselves.

I have addressed this issue to the United Nations Commission on the Right of the Child. First, these child soldiers are protected by international law, which the United States refuses to be party to. But neither are they protected by US laws. Therefore, these children have no guardian or safeguards, other than the government’s false claims.

Eddie Griffin asks:

1. Under what circumstances were these children detained?
2. Were they afforded someone to represent them, as underage combatants?
3. Did they know their rights under the law or by the Geneva Convention, or under the Commission on the Rights of the Child?
4. Was he allowed to correspond to the outside world and ask for help?

It angers me to think that a 12-year old child crying out for help from a place like Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib, tortured into making false confessions that can only rain down more terror upon him and his family.

Detained and harshly interrogated spells torture in anybody’s book. And, these children had no way to cry out from the dungeon, except through hunger strike.

It angers Eddie Griffin personally because he has been there. I was once held incommunicado in a refrigerated deprivation chamber. I know what it feels like to scream through an open window into hollow air for help from heaven. I know the pangs of a hunger strike.

My testimony is recorded in the congressional records and records of the U.S. Supreme Court. It would not surprise me if part of their defense is based upon my experience in “Breaking Men’s Minds”, as one of a few surviving prisoners who were held incommunicado for political reasons. People forget that the Black Panthers were falsely characterized by the government as terrorists also.

Those incarcerated in isolated prisons without a voice deserves to be heard, unless you and the rest of Congress are too afraid of what you will hear. What does these children have to say for themselves and what has happened to them since being taken into custody?

I want to know, because I am an advocate for the Right of the Child. The American people want to know, how low we have stooped in the war on terrorism. The rest of the world already knows us, and have no respect for us. We are an eye sore upon humanity.

Eddie Griffin for ROOTS
Author of “Breaking Men’s Minds
BASG, International Afrosphere Blog Network
Fort Worth, TX


Renee said...

When I think of all the horror of this situation it what is happening to children hurts me the most. If these where white suburban American children there would be an uproar about the loss of innocence. This clearly shows what kind of bodies matter in this world. Discursively we say protect children, and innocence but we clearly do not really believe this.

PurpleZoe said...

Peace Renee

So true. It is amazing the doubletalk we've accepted as a nation and even further as a global village. We're in an age where we can make a difference with our voices in ways our forebears only dreamed of. We have to utilize our resources to make change.

Thankyou for sharing your voice.

Shine on

Eddie G. Griffin said...

I am greatly encouraged by your work and dedication.