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Friday, February 10, 2006

Our good friend and ally

Yet more evidence that Guantanamo Bay is the "gulag of our times":

"More than half of the terror suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay have not been accused of committing hostile acts against the United States or its allies, two of the detainees' lawyers said in a report released Tuesday.

"Compiled from declassified Defense Department evaluations of the more than 500 detainees at the Cuba facility, the report says just 8 percent are listed as fighters for a terrorist group, while 30 percent are considered members of a terrorist group and the remaining 60 percent were just 'associated with' terrorists.

"The evaluations were completed as part of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals conducted during 2004 to determine if the prisoners were being correctly held as enemy combatants. So far just 10 of the detainees have been formally charged with crimes and are headed for military tribunals.

"According to the report, 55 percent of the detainees are informally accused of committing a hostile act. But the descriptions of their actions ranged from a high-ranking Taliban member who tortured and killed Afghan natives to people who possessed rifles, used a guest house or wore olive drab clothing."

Remind me to watch people in "olive drab clothing." One wonders where Australian captive David Hicks fits into the picture. His father, Terry, yesterday accused the US of holding his son as the "token white fella."

In further Guantanamo revelations, a recent article in the National Journal provides "powerful evidence confirming what many of us have suspected for years":

- A high percentage, perhaps the majority, of the 500-odd men now held at Guantanamo were not captured on any battlefield, let alone on 'the battlefield in Afghanistan' (as Bush asserted) while 'trying to kill American forces' (as McClellan claimed).

- Fewer than 20% of the Guantanamo detainees, the best available evidence suggests, have ever been al-Qaeda members.

- Many scores, and perhaps hundreds, of the detainees were not even Taliban foot soldiers, let alone al-Qaeda terrorists. They were innocent, wrongly seized noncombatants with no intention of joining the al-Qaeda campaign to murder Americans.

- The majority were not captured by U.S. forces but rather handed over by reward-seeking Pakistanis and Afghan warlords and by villagers of highly doubtful reliability. These locals had strong incentives to tar as terrorists any and all Arabs they could get their hands on as the Arabs fled war-torn Afghanistan in late 2001 and 2002 - including noncombatant teachers and humanitarian workers.

- And the Bush administration has apparently made very little effort to corroborate the plausible claims of innocence detailed by many of the men who were handed over.

The military trials are a sham, based largely on guilt-by-association claims. Writer Stuart Taylor explains:

"The administration's unspoken logic appears to be: Better to ruin the lives of 10 innocent men than to let one who might be a terrorist go free. This logic would be understandable if the end of protecting American lives justified any and all means, including the wrecking of many more innocent non-American lives…"

Such realities perfectly explain the cynicism towards the US in certain parts of the world. Some of us prefer to simply regard the US as a rogue state.

11 Comments:

Blogger Wombat said...

It's absrub that the US goes to such extreme lengths to detain these people, most of whom are innocent, while allowing one fo the perpeptrators of he USS Cole to escape. Talk about screwed up priorities.

What are the US actaully trying to achieve by incarcerating these people?

Friday, February 10, 2006 1:00:00 pm  
Blogger HisHineness said...

"...most of whom are innocent..."

I'd be interested to see your proof of such a statement, addamo.

Friday, February 10, 2006 8:55:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Rty reading th article.

At Abu Graib, it was estimated that 80% of detainees are innocent. Why should Guantanamo be any different?

What's extremely disturbing is that the US forces are offering rewards of up to US$25000 for the captue of Taliban or Al Qaeda suspects. In a country like Afghanistan, that is a fortune. Is it not obvious that this has fuelled an epeidenmic of kinappings of innocent people, who are incarcertated on the say so of people thjemselves wealthy?

Furthermore, teh US has designated tehm enemy combatants or terrororists so that they can be denied legal repersntation or their day in a criminal court. As with the Padilla case, The Pentagon has admitted that if these peope were to be given due process in a criminal court, the evidence against them would lead to their acquital.

As this article stipulates:

A high percentage, perhaps the majority, of the 500-odd men now held at Guantanamo were not captured on any battlefield, let alone on 'the battlefield in Afghanistan' (as Bush asserted) while 'trying to kill American forces' (as McClellan claimed).

- Fewer than 20% of the Guantanamo detainees, the best available evidence suggests, have ever been al-Qaeda members.

- Many scores, and perhaps hundreds, of the detainees were not even Taliban foot soldiers, let alone al-Qaeda terrorists. They were innocent, wrongly seized noncombatants with no intention of joining the al-Qaeda campaign to murder Americans.

- The majority were not captured by U.S. forces but rather handed over by reward-seeking Pakistanis and Afghan warlords and by villagers of highly doubtful reliability. These locals had strong incentives to tar as terrorists any and all Arabs they could get their hands on as the Arabs fled war-torn Afghanistan in late 2001 and 2002 - including noncombatant teachers and humanitarian workers.

- And the Bush administration has apparently made very little effort to corroborate the plausible claims of innocence detailed by many of the men who were handed over.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 12:30:00 am  
Blogger orang said...

In our war on terror we need warm bodies.

But good news from big W, the tallest building in the West Coast was saved when a shoebombalqaidaplottohijack was thwarted. I feel safe.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 7:08:00 am  
Blogger orang said...

And further on the topic(Cole bombers escaped from jail in Yemen);

"...escape has drawn anger and astonishment in Washington, with a top White House aide criticising Yemen for housing them too close together and without enough restrictions.

But Mr Rumsfeld defended the administration's policy of releasing suspects in the US "war on terrorism" into the custody of their home, or other, countries.

"The policy is the correct policy," he said."

Rummy is like the stand up comic who gets up on stage and has no idea what is going to come out his own mouth.-Which may work for a comedian.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 7:16:00 am  
Blogger HisHineness said...

I still wouldn't draw the conclusion that most of them are innocent. The article states 60 percent were associated with terrorists. A clearer definition of this would be nice.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 11:17:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Yes a clear definition would not go astray, especially when this determination - as to what constitutes association with terrorism - is being decided by the Bush administration or their appointees.

Going back to the Padilla case, he has been held incommunicado for 3 years for alledgedly conspiring to blow up a dirty bomb. That allegation has been dropped entirely and changed to plans to blow up an apartment building using a gas bomb.

What is the truth, when you have a government that plays so hard and fast with it?

Saturday, February 11, 2006 3:09:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

Hey what happened to that terrorist, graduate of the school of the americas who was convicted of blowing up a Cuban airline in Venezuela, and was arrested in Florida? Is he in Guantanamo?

Saturday, February 11, 2006 6:57:00 pm  
Blogger HisHineness said...

I agree, Addamo. "Associating" could mean financing terrorist organisations or supplying weaponry, or could also simply mean being in the same building as the real terrorists when they were arrested.

I should point out that I do disagree with the Guantanamo Bay prison. Although I disagree with much of what's posted on this site, I can't agree with locking up people without charge for years.
Either charge them, or get them the hell out of there. Why the long delays? No one, including the US, benefits from this.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 10:02:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

I disagree on one point you made Hishineness. There must be something gained by locking these people up in Gunatanamo, as wel as the operation of Black sites and extraordinary rendition. The DOD would not be investing so many resources into maintainign such oeratins if ther ewas not at least a perceived benefit.

Like you, I fail to see what that benefit might be.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 4:07:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

But Mr Rumsfeld defended the administration's policy of releasing suspects in the US "war on terrorism" into the custody of their home, or other, countries.
"The policy is the correct policy," he said."


So why is it the 'wrong' policy for Hicks?

Sunday, February 12, 2006 5:39:00 am  

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