14 February 2006

The Gitmo Truth Won't Be Silent

It is becoming evident that the majority of the men held in Guantanamo were not, in fact, captured in battle. A study of individual detainee cases published recently by the National Journal argued persuasively that more than half of the detainees currently in Guantanamo were abducted in the mountains of Pakistan by warlords who handed them over to U.S. forces for cash rewards, sometimes $1,000 a head. At a time when U.S. forces were unable to find Osama bin Laden, and were desperate to find enemy soldiers in the mountainous caves of Pakistan and Afghanistan, tribal informers apparently had a field day pointing to their own enemies as a way to supply human chattel, who ended up in Guantanamo.

Many of their individual case files suggest that government lawyers felt pressured to find, or invent, evidence that detainees actually knew something about Al Qaeda operations. One Yemeni prisoner was interrogated so roughly that, according to the National Journal, he finally said in exasperation, "OK, I saw Bin Laden five times: three times on Al Jazeera and twice on Yemeni news." His "admission" was duly recorded in a case file: "Detainee admitted to knowing Osama bin Laden."

His case is not uncommon. For detainees at Guantanamo, legal proceedings appear to resemble Salem witchcraft trials. Presumption of guilt and tarring by association abound, while the rules of evidence are perfunctory. These are not the American values our soldiers are fighting for.

From the LA Times.

Guantanamo Bay puts every American at risk of a terrorist attack, and undermines the foundations of constitutional government in the United States. The Senate has been complicit, passing a law in 2005 that limits suits by Guantanamo Bay detainees. The Courts have shirked their duties in handling cases brought on behalf of the detainees. The President and those in the chain of command from him to the Guantanamo Bay base have committed war crimes in permitting this to continue.

This is obvious to the United Nations and to our more sane allies. But, until there is action, the best one can to is to continue to remind the world that this atrocity exists and urge those with the power to do so to end it.

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