Steve G.

And the propaganda machine keeps spinning …..

In Corruption, Crazy Claims, George Bush, Guantanamo, Human Rights Abuses, Military, Terrorism, Torture, War on July 20, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Road To GuantanamoAccording to this article, we’re supposed to believe that prisoners being held at Gitmo are being treated as if they’re merely guests of the goverment, while the only real abuse is directed at the guards.

However, it’s far more likely that the government is sending military members back to the states with strict orders to report that all is well at Gitmo. It’s easy to get them to do that, after all, especially if the person in question is an officer with a pension on the line, as with the person who gave the information for this story. It’s even easier when the military member knows that they, too, can be declared an enemy combatant and simply disappear if they dare to speak the truth about the atrocities they have witnessed. There is also the fear that they will be discharged due to a nonexistent “personality disorder”, and thus shamed and stripped of the civilian benefits of having served voluntarily and honorably in the armed forces.

That’s nothing new, incidentally. The military was discharging soldiers on the basis of alleged preexisting personality disorders in the early 1980s, when I served in Air Force Intelligence Operations. Those airmen were not mentally ill, and in fact were extraordinarily good at their specialties; however, they had committed the unspeakable crime of not remaining silent against what they perceived to be wrong, and branding them mentally deficient is the military’s way of silencing them. Once they are so categorized, the military can easily discount anything they may later say against the military’s interest. But, I digress.

Like so many in the current administration, this Brigadier General (for those unfamiliar with military ranks, that’s a one-star General) believes it’s acceptable to hold people in a lawless prison environment long-term with no charges, and no hearing, because they’re “enemy combatants” …… and he really and truly thinks there’s a difference between enemy combatants and prisoners of war, which causes Geneva Convention protections to not apply to enemy combatants. Yet the only real difference is that prisoners of war are captured while engaging in war, while enemy combatants are, for all intents and purposes, kidnapped. In other words, while he is willing to toe the military line and is quite successful in that position, in the civilian world his brainwashing would render him, for all intents and purposes, useless.

If prisoners at Gitmo are specifically classified as not being prisoners of war, for whom torture is forbidden under the Geneva Convention, does the government actually expect us to believe that these men are not being tortured? It’s quite obvious that the only reason to classify them differently is so that they can be tortured without violating the Convention.

What’s most sickening about this particular article, beyond the brainwashing aspect, is that it is being distributed and touted as truth on a discussion list for paralegals, who should definitely know better than to mindlessly accept what the government says. Or maybe, just maybe, these particular paralegals know just enough to be dangerous.

Facts, not myths, from an Oregonian who knows what’s really going on at . . . Guantanamo
Sunday, July 15, 2007 David Reinhard
The Oregonian

One of the first things you learn talking to Oregonian Cameron Crawford is that men held at Guantanamo are not “prisoners” or “prisoners of war.” The Guantanamo Detention Operations’ deputy commander says they’re “detainees” and “enemy combatants.”

It’s easy to see why. There’s a huge difference between “enemy combatants” and “prisoners of war,” and “detainees” and “prisoners” under international law. It’s a distinction the Bush administration has insisted on since shortly after 9/11. Detainees don’t have the same protections as prisoners of war who are protected under the laws of war. The United States has no obligation to charge these enemy combatants with a crime or provide them access to courts and laws. Guantanamo’s “enemy combatants” are simply detained until the end of hostilities and not punished as prisoners.

But there’s another thing Brigadier General Crawford wants anyone who’ll listen to understand about the detainees’ treatment at Guantanamo. Whatever you call them, they’re kept there in a “humane fashion.” There’s no mistreatment or coerced interrogations, much less torture. The detainees don’t talk to interrogators unless they want to. Some do. Some don’t. Some want to talk on some days and not to talk on other days. It’s not some “deep, dark abyss.”

That’s what Crawford himself was almost inclined to believe before going to Guantanamo a half-year ago. What he found there instead, this Oregon National Guard officer noted in a visit with The Oregonian editorial board last week, was “nothing like what he had been led to believe by the media.” For a while he thought he had been kidnapped and transported to some kind of “parallel universe.”

Crawford points out that the Gitmo footage the media constantly runs is footage of Camp X-Ray. It operated for 118 days — five years ago.

There is mistreatment at Guantanamo. But it’s not the abuse that some of the terrorist/detainees complain of — indeed, are instructed to complain of in their training manuals — and some of their lawyers pass on to the gullible. No, it’s the constant mistreatment that the guards endure. There are the assaults, the verbal insults and the bodily-fluid cocktails thrown at guards on a regular basis.

The 373 or so detainees are some of the most dangerous men on the planet, and they’d like nothing better than to kill again. In fact, a number of those already released have returned to violent jihad against our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Apparently, they weren’t impressed with Gitmo’s good grub, top-tier medical care and Islamic sensitivity.

One Saudi detainee, according to Crawford, said 85 percent of the Saudi and Yemeni detainees would link up with al-Qaida to fight Americans in Iraq. Yousef Muhammed claimed he was a carpet trader and shepherd in Afghanistan. He was released from Gitmo in May 2003. A year later, he was killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and not because they were after carpet traders or shepherds. He turned out to be a top Taliban commander.

So what would Crawford like the public in general to know about Guantanamo today?

One, the detainees are being treated humanely.

Two, the United States is moving as quickly as possible to send the detainees back to nations where they won’t be tortured or do violent jihad again. More detainees have now departed Guantanamo (almost 400) than remain there (about 375). In sum, the United States hardly seems invested in keeping detainees any longer than necessary.

Three, shutting down Guantanamo is no win-win situation. Crawford doesn’t want to enter the current debate on it. He’s not a politician or a policymaker. He’s a soldier. But a soldier who’s happy to talk about the practical aspects of the problem.

Never mind where you stash the vicious detainees still there. As Crawford notes, you would “lose the synergies of this world-class intelligence platform.” You have a lot of folks who know a lot about al-Qaida and the Taliban — interrogators and detainees — all in one place.

But haven’t many of the remaining detainees been there for years? Isn’t their intel value degraded to non-existent? Don’t detainees come with a “Use by . . .” label? Such questions elicited the most interesting news of the entire Crawford chat. “Good intelligence, ” he said, “is coming out on a regular basis.”

A detainee’s potential usefulness doesn’t necessarily depend on his time in custody. It depends on the questions interrogators ask. Fresh information — a new name, a new financial connection, a new plot, a new geographical area of interest — prompts fresh questions and, sometimes, fresh and invaluable answers. Detainees have told interrogators of a North African terror cell in Italy and the location of a particular cave in Afghanistan. According to Crawford, intelligence officers on the battlefield had the name of one high-value target but didn’t know what he looked like. It turned out that one of the detainees did. The upshot: The FBI dispatched a sketch artist to Guantanamo. Problem solved.

Crawford discovered at Guantanamo that the al-Qaida terrorists and Taliban fighters there are more committed to their cause than he imagined. How committed? Here’s what one detainee with ties to Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and Chechen mujahedeen leaders told another detainee: “Their day is coming. One day I will enjoy sucking their blood, although their blood is bitter, undrinkable. ”
Sucking bitter, undrinkable infidel blood — now, that’s jihadi commitment.

David Reinhard, associate editor, can be reached at 503-221-8152 or davidreinhard@ news.oregonian. com.

Did it never occur to any of the people involved in that article, from the source to the writer to the editors (or the paralegals promoting it as truth), that being held against one’s will for long periods of time, with no timetable for release, completely stripped of all rights, is torture in and of itself? Does it never occur to them that the men being illegally held at Gitmo are violently pissed off at America, not necessarily because they are by nature violent individuals, but because we kidnapped them and are illegally holding them hostage, while invading their homelands and possibly even killing their loved ones? Are we to believe that the same men who want to “suck our blood” are voluntarily handing over important intelligence information over a casual cup of coffee? Does the US government actually expect Americans to not see through the completely transparent lies they are presenting as “truth”?

Sadly, far too many Americans do take such ridiculous claims at face value. If we don’t speak out against this harmful propaganda, no matter how unpopular the truth may be in certain circles, we are no better than those who are deceiving Americans in the first place.

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