February 17, 2006

Guantanamo Evidence False

Here's a snip, but check out the whole thing:

DIGGING INTO GUANTANAMO....I'm quite late getting to last week's National Journal cover story about the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, but thanks to Jon Henke at QandO I've now figured out how many separate articles there are (four) and how they relate to each other. Taken together, they tell a chilling story.

The basic message from these four pieces is that the evidence against an awful lot of the Guantanamo prisoners isn't just weak, it's known to be flatly false. For example, here's an account of Mohammed al-Tumani, a prisoner who was lucky enough to be assigned a "personal representative" who discovered that his primary accuser was a busy man indeed:

Tumani's enterprising representative looked at the classified evidence against the Syrian youth and found that just one man the aforementioned accuser had placed Tumani at the terrorist training camp. And he had placed Tumani there three months before the teenager had even entered Afghanistan. The curious U.S. officer pulled the classified file of the accuser, saw that he had accused 60 men, and, suddenly skeptical, pulled the files of every detainee the accuser had placed at the one training camp. None of the men had been in Afghanistan at the time the accuser said he saw them at the camp.

The tribunal declared Tumani an enemy combatant anyway.

There's more like this, and the story it tells is that the problem at Guantanamo isn't just that it's difficult separating fact from fiction when prisoners have been captured in the heat of battle and the witnesses against them are thousands of miles away and untrustworthy to boot. That's a genuine problem, and not one that's easily resolved.

You'll note the effort of the US officer. Those people are doing an incredibly difficult job, under extremely difficult circumstances, without much support - and often with the opposite - to uphold the standards of law. This is what I meant by: Democracy is a lot of work, and part of that work is done by regular people who have the courage to call bullshit on policies - well-meaning or not - that infringe on our liberty.

Posted by binky at February 17, 2006 06:01 PM | TrackBack | Posted to International Affairs

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