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The Pentagon has identified the U.S. soldier recently seized by the Taliban and presented in a video as Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl, 23, from Ketchum, Idaho. In the video, Bergdahl says he was captured by the Taliban when he straggled behind his Alaska-based unit. A U.S. military spokesman, Colonel Greg Julian, responds: “We condemn the use of this video and the public humiliation of prisoners. It is against international law. We are doing everything we can to return this soldier to safety.” That’s absolutely correct. Article 13 of the Third Geneva Convention protects prisoners against “violence and intimidation” as well as “insults” and exposure to “public curiosity.” Taking a prisoner and then taking photographs or film footage of the prisoner for purposes of harassing or demoralizing him or his fellow soldiers is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions. This tape appears clearly contrived for just that purpose. It should therefore be viewed as documenting the criminal misconduct of Bergdahl’s captors, and little else.
It was likewise a violation of the Geneva Conventions when, in May 2005, photographs circulated in U.S. and British papers of an underwear-clad Saddam Hussein washing his laundry. The Rumsfeld Pentagon feigned anger over their release and claimed to have undertaken an investigation. However, the move matched perfectly psy-ops plans to use Saddam’s image as well as that of his two deceased children to damage the morale of Baathist “dead-enders.” Moreover, the photographs appeared in Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, renowned for their “special access” to the Rumsfeld Pentagon. The Murdoch papers claimed to have gotten them from a “Pentagon official.” Such episodes pull the carpet out from under the United States when it tries to press the rights of captured soldiers like Pvt. Bergdahl.
Hopefully Bergdahl will soon be released and find his way back to his unit. But over at the “fair and balanced” channel we hear a voice that wishes this young soldier ill. On Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, “strategic analyst” Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, while cautioning that he doesn’t know all the facts, goes on nonetheless to accuse Bergdahl of being a deserter and of cooperating with the enemy by making the video. “If he walked away… the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills,” Peters says, appearing to suggest that they should execute him. This is the “support our troops” channel? Watch the entire clip here.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”