{ An Autopsy of Democracy }

Friday, July 01, 2005

The denial and cover-up of the torture scandal is abhorrent

The Pentagon recently sent several Congressmen on a visit to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base so that they could see for themselves how nice the prisoners there have it, and report back accordingly. Which they did.

One Congressman I saw on CSPAN the other day compared it to a resort. Seriously. (I'm trying to remember, or find out, his name.)

You can listen to some of them gush about how beautiful Gitmo is on CSPAN.org . Here's the audio from one:

CSPAN - Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) & Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) on Guantanamo Detainees (mp3, 10.9 mb)

I have absolutely no doubt that what they saw was perfectly fine and humane. You'd have to be an idiot to believe that, if there's inhuman treatment going on, they're just going to welcome in a team of Congressmen on a scheduled visit and say "look, this is where we sodomize and electrocute people. Oh, and over in that room, that's where we sick vicious dogs on the genitals of nude men. Would you like to take some pictures?--Here, use my camera. Get a shot of this dried pool of blood, that's a good shot. . . ."

Read this story from "The Independent" from August 2004.

What's seldom reported, also, is that--after Seymour Hersh and others broke the story that the torture in Iraq was deliberately exported from Guantanamo-- prisoners are being moved from Guantanamo to Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries (where--well, you can guess how they'll be treated).

Now. On April 8th, 2005, DemocracyNow! reported that "a top human rights investigator in Afghanistan was recently forced out of the United Nations under pressure from the U.S. just days after he released a report criticizing the US for committing human rights abuses. He says, "The U.S. has done an enormous disservice to the cause of human rights in Afghanistan simply because they wanted somebody who was going to look the other way on what their practices were."

"the Commission unprecedentedly . . . adopted almost every recommendation I had. But, when it came to inquiry into what the U.S. forces are doing, there a stone wall was put. And I suspect it has to do with the fact that in the last two months the U.S. has been moving prisoners from Guantanamo to Afghanistan, and that soon we will see the D.O.D. open up Guantanamo for international inspection. And by then the worst cases will have been transferred to Afghanistan; Guantanamo will have been repainted, recarpeted, and would look very nice, and people who would go to inspect it there will find nothing wrong. But, of course, that means that those people who have been transferred from Guantanamo to Afghanistan could not be interviewed or seen by anybody else. So, I speculate (but I think there's valid reason to make such speculation) that the reason that the mandate was not renewed was really to avoid having somebody like myself, and certainly myself, if I were to be renewed, insisting on going into the prison facilities and talking to the people, which would in this case have included those transferred from Guantanamo. So it was a chance that I think the U.S. didn't want to take."

Bahraini Detainees May Be Moved - April 24, 2005


SIX Bahrainis held in Guantanamo Bay could be moved without notice to prisons in Yemen, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia or Egypt, say their lawyers.

They could be moved without their lawyers or families being told, following a court ruling in Washington.

Lawyers defending the six asked to court to order the US government to give them advance notice of any transfer of their clients from the US camp in Guantanamo, Cuba.

They made the request last month when the Pentagon announced that it was transferring many of the detainees to prisons in other countries, including Yemen, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The move aims to cut by half the numbers held at the base in Cuba.

US Lawyer Joshua Colangelo-Bryan told the GDN that in view of the court order, he had no way of confirming the whereabouts of his clients.

"If the government were to decide to transfer the Bahraini detainees to any country in the world, including countries that the US State Department has said commit torture, it could do so and would have no obligation to notify anyone, including us," he said.

Mr Colangelo-Bryan said this meant that the lawyers acting on behalf of the detainees would not be able to take any steps to prevent their clients from being transferred to a prison in Yemen, Afghanistan, Egypt or "anywhere else".

"In fact, the government would have no obligation to inform us about a transfer even after it occurred," he said.

"So, it is possible that one of our clients could be transferred - or already has been transferred - and we would never know that the transfer occurred or the location to which the transfer was made."

Mr Colangelo-Bryan urged the government of Bahrain to take action to secure the release of its citizens so that they are not sent to any country other than Bahrain.

He said that there were reports of abuse at prisons in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Yemen, among others.

Mr Colangelo-Bryan is among a group of lawyers from the New-York-based firm Dorsey and Whitney who are acting on behalf of the six Bahrainis free of charge as part of a global effort to provide free legal support to all Guantanamo prisoners.

They have maintained that the allegations do not justify holding the detainees for over three years without charge.

The lawyers are disputing their classification as "enemy combatants" and say no evidence has been put forward to support the allegations.

The six Bahraini detainees held at the camp as "enemy combatants" are Juma Mohammed Al Dossary, Essa Al Murbati, Salah Abdul Rasool Al Blooshi, Adel Kamel Hajee, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Abdulla Majid Al Naimi..

SOURCE: Gulf Daily News



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