Guantanamo Bay Authorities Ban Solzhenitsyn's 'The Gulag Archipelago'

from the stranger-than-fiction dept

Some stories, you just couldn't make up. Like this one, reported on the UK site Reprieve, about a failed attempt to pass some reading material to one of the people detained at Guantanamo Bay. Something unsuitable you might guess, perhaps advocating terrorist ways? Well, not exactly:

The legal team for Shaker Aamer, a British resident who has been detained in Guantanamo without charge or trial for 11 years, attempted to deliver a copy of The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn during a recent visit.

However, Mr Aamer has now told his lawyers that he never received the book.
Of course, this isn't the first time that 'The Gulag Archipelago' has had problems with the authorities: when it was completed in 1968, it had to be smuggled out of the Soviet Union on microfilm so that it could be published in the West. Here's what Wikipedia has to say on the book and its importance:
Solzhenitsyn argued that the Soviet government could not govern without the threat of imprisonment, and that the Soviet economy depended on the productivity of the forced labor camps, especially insofar as the development and construction of public works and infrastructure were concerned.

This put into doubt the entire moral standing of the Soviet system. In Western Europe the book eventually forced a rethinking of the historical role of Lenin. With The Gulag Archipelago, Lenin's political and historical legacy became problematic, and the factions of Western communist parties who still based their economic and political ideology on Lenin were left with a heavy burden of proof against them. George F. Kennan, the influential U.S. diplomat, called The Gulag Archipelago, "the most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever to be levied in modern times."
Now why on earth would any of that be problematic for the Guantanamo Gulag, er, Bay authorities, I wonder...?

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Aug 26th, 2013 @ 2:30am

    Too many similarities for comfort I wonder?

    I'm betting they confiscated the book in question for the mental and physical well-being of the prisoner. After all, imagine the hand and wrist strain that would occur from someone having to check the front and back of the book every other page to make sure that yes, it is indeed supposed to be a book about communist Russia and not current-day US, and the confusion that would arise due to the massive similarities between the two countries, causing such frequent back-of-the-book checking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 4:09am

    What else do you reckon is banned?

    Catch-22? Dog Soldiers? Brave New World? First Blood? (the novel is quite different from the Stallone movie) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 9:28am

      Re: What else do you reckon is banned?

      No Yevgeny Zamyatin? shame on you, add "We" to that list and we're talkin'

      ;)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    RyanNerd (profile), Aug 26th, 2013 @ 4:10am

    Not a suprise with the Police State the US has become

    My guess is that if it were a copy of the Constitution that would not have made it either; since this is obviously just as dangerous a document, created from the hearts of souls of rebels who opposed government tyrany.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 26th, 2013 @ 4:18am

    Never mind the censorship, let us focus on this single sentence:

    a British resident who has been detained in Guantanamo without charge or trial for 11 years

    Eleven fucking years incarcerated without charges. How many times this Government condemned Human Rights violations and similar stuff in the last decade? And yet there is at least one man that's detained without a freaking charge. That's plain disgusting. North Korea does that too, you know?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      The Old Man in The Sea, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 4:48am

      Re:

      The same sentence stood out to me as well. A far kick in the chops.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 6:14am

      Re:

      There are still many incarcerated without a charge. This guy is not even close to an exception from a rule... Nobody wants to take these prisoners and the US government fear that they will return to kill international soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is very easy to see how sick and twisted it was to create this abomination. It is another problem entirely to integrate the prisoners back from the legal no mans land.

      I think Guantanamo has become a clear example of how stupid it is to treat prisoners like this. Both from a human right perspective and a legal perspective. Hopefully the government has written "never again" on this stupidity. It is the only way to avoid this crappy situation.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Ninja (profile), Aug 26th, 2013 @ 9:33am

        Re: Re:

        If I lost my entire life in a prison I'd sure as hell blow myself up just to deserve all those years. The US Govt is creating a lot of ill-will towards themselves. It's unfortunate because Americans themselves end up paying for this sort of stupidity and there's a ton of good Americans out there.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 7:06am

      Re:

      Guantanamo is America's gulag, and it will soon become a prison for "terrorists" within US borders.

      Mark my words.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Guy Smiley, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

      Re:

      Hmm, 11 years. Wouldn't that qualify you for a free copy of Zen and Art of Maximum Security Cell Maintenance? Catcher in the Rye? 1984?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Michael Lockyear (profile), Aug 26th, 2013 @ 4:41am

    Jack Bauer: the American role-model

    Holding people without trial, torture, assassination, propping up dictators, invasion of basically everyone's private communications, targeting whistle-blowers, etc are important actions in keeping 'real' Americans safe!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      The Real Michael, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 5:01am

      Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

      If you'll notice, they're the same tactics of communist states. Communism isn't dead, it just goes under a different banner: 'progressive liberal'. Let's not ignore the far-right, either, as many of them are just as much in favor the same things.

      Read this list of the 45 declared goals of communism, taken from The Naked Communist, to see just how far they're infiltrated the social and political landscape here in America.

      http://rense.com/general32/americ.htm

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 5:25am

        Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

        You are so right! Why did President Obama and that Democratically lead Congress set up such an awful system as Guantanamo? Oh wait...

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          The Real Michael, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 7:02am

          Re: Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

          True, but then Obama promised to both shut down Guantanamo and end the Patriot Act, yet never did either.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Some Other AC (profile), Aug 26th, 2013 @ 5:34am

        Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

        Are you willfully ignorant? Gitmo and any number of headaches we are facing today from the trampling of rights and police state were effectively setup by Bush and his administration. While both parties are to blame, these "laws" and "institutions" were knee jerk reactions passed with bi-partisan support in both houses.
        President Obama is not without guilt. He has repeatedly reversed course on any number of topics that are cornerstone to maintaining a free society. However, put the blame where it accurately lies. Neither political party/ideology is without blame here.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          The Real Michael, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 6:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

          I guess you missed where I said that there are Republicans who also go along with the goals listed. Furthermore, I've been reiterating that both parties are really two sides of the same coin.

          The problem stems from the fact that most of the goals mentioned are explicitly liberal, but the end result is the same regardless: big government, same as communism in all but name, invading every facet of our lives, telling us what to think and how to act.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 6:37am

        Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

        yes, keep dancing to the puppet strings. Keep dancing following their whims while they play us off on each other. Democrat, republican, they are all the god damn same. It's rather awesomely ingrained in your brain too since you hop onto 'progressive liberals' that were vocally against it during Bush's term but now all the sudden they are vocally for it. Keep dancing.
        You are the reason this country is shit.

        you don't think for yourself or even see the strings attached to you.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          The Real Michael, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 6:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

          It's clear you don't know much of anything about me, particularly my political views. Most Republicans are for big government, hence Bush Jr., so don't mistaken me for one.

          Yes, 'progressive liberals,' as anyone can readily see how many of the communist goals listed they make a part of their political agenda. The book The Naked Communist was written in, what, 1963? It's rather scary how much they've managed to accomplish. We're truly being destroyed from within.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 1:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

            So you pull back a bit, show some humanity... then you just slam your foot back down on the accelerator pumping all 12 cylinders of "crazy".

            But hell since you responded, I might as well respond sensibly.

            Ends don't justify the means, which is the root of the problem with communism. Liberals don't like communism. It's violent. Socialism is a democratic approach. The masses debate and vote on which and how much of certain things should be taken. Much like conservatives should vote and debate on how much of certain things should be taken.

            A communist violently kicks(mostly shoots) everyone out and sets the new rules.

            liberals and conservatives battle with words and we reach a point to hopefully keep the most possible people happy.

            Your talk of communism is distracting from any valid point you may have and pointing fingers at any one group at this point is pure madness. We've had two different administrations ride through all of this doing the same damn thing.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              identicon
              The Real Michael, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 4:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

              Just because it's not as blatant (yet) as it was in, say, the USSR doesn't mean anything. They don't throw the frog in boiling water, after all.

              Any sane person can see the slow, methodical destruction. Socialism inevitably leads to communism, because by its very nature it creates a system wherein everyone is dependent upon big government. When the latter owns, regulates and controls everything, you have communism and communism invariably leads to mass genocide.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        azuravian (profile), Aug 26th, 2013 @ 9:33am

        Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

        Seriously, your proof is the Skousen list? A list that has no evidence to back it up, written by a conspiracy theorist nutjob at a time when the Red Scare was still at its height.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          The Real Michael, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 4:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

          The Naked Communist was written by an ex-FBI agent in 1963. The very fact that almost every stated goal has since come to pass speaks volumes to its authenticity. Seeing as you cannot attack the author's credibility, you must resort to ridicule. So be it, stick your head in the sand.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Bergman (profile), Aug 27th, 2013 @ 10:54pm

      Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

      Apparently you're not a "real" American until you swear an oath with your hand on a Bible...and then break it.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 4:45am

    and how many steps behind this is the USA?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    DB, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 6:02am

    Shutting down the extra-judicial prison at Guantanamo Bay was one of Obama's campaign promises.

    Once he came into office, that promise was abandoned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    antymat, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 6:30am

    The American Dream

    fulfilled!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Hambone, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 8:01am

    "... detained in Guantanamo without charge ... for 11 years ..."

    This is the single most disturbing thing about all of this to me. I don't even care about the book. I am just pissed that someone could lose a decade+ of their life to the gov, without even being charged with a crime.

    The extra-legal dealings of this government have gone so far. They are adept at going not-quite-far-enough as to foment full scale armed revolution.

    Franklin, Jefferson, Washington would be pissed at all of us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Bill D., Aug 26th, 2013 @ 9:21am

    Gitmo and the Gulag

    Having read Solzhenitsyn's book years ago, there's a pretty clear Christian message in it. One wonders if they're "protecting" the Gitmo inmates from being indoctrinated :) or perhaps they just don't want to see "The GITMO Archipelago" by some enterprising inmate published in the future?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 11:21am

    I did not know that good were being made by the detainees at Guantanamo to be used and sold by the US Government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    DB Cooper, Aug 27th, 2013 @ 5:19am

    Please guys put Gitmo in perspective. Detainees do not get trials. Also are you aware that the brits held common soldierd for 10 years after WW2 ended to be used as slave labor to take apart obsolete and excess war material> How about De Gaulle putting 50,000 NAZI SS soldier in concentration camps under a lifetime imprisonment edict (think executive order)without a trial and then when they couldnt get any frenchmen to go to indochina (now vietnam) to kill commies so the rich french could get their rubber plantation back they forced these ss troops to join the Foriegn Legion and fight for them. How about the 1000's of americans who emigrated to the USSR in the 20's and 30's to live in the peoples utopia only to be imprisoned in siberia.
    Don't lose any sleep ove the guys in Gitmo. They are there for a reason.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      That One Guy (profile), Aug 27th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

      Re:

      Yeah no, you don't get to hand wave off one atrocity by pointing to another with a 'see, worse stuff has happened, so this doesn't count!'

      People accused of the worst crimes around still get trials, still get to defend themselves in court, the idea that claiming(because if they could prove it, they would have) that someone is a 'terrorist' suddenly makes stripping them of the most basic human rights and imprisoning them without trial acceptable is dead wrong, it's still a gross injustice, and an affront to the very core of 'innocent until proven guilty', something that any real justice system has as it's foundation.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2013 @ 8:22am

      Re:

      Worse wrongs in the past does not in /any/ way excuse wrongs today. If anything it makes them worse because we should know better. Emigrants suffering over half a century ago does not justify this abuse. Nor does the "victor's justice" of WWII.

      And what is the reason that they are there other than some sociopath trying to look "tough on terror" and drumming up complete bullshit fears that somehow holding trial for a captive and under excessive-guard prisoner on our soil is "too dangerous to transfer". They're people held on dubious at the very best grounds for a decade. Not some sort of mutant psychic superman who when traveling can make the heads of anyone they can see explode with a thought, let off a nuclear explosion where they stand and be unharmed, and fire superheated plasma out of their asses! If you can't prevent them from being dangerous with an overkill squad of eight armed guards you should be fired for utter incompetence.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This