Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Three More "Worst Of The Worst" Are Freed, With An Orwellian Explanation

The Department of Defense announced today that three more Guantanamo detainees have been released. We don't know their names but one was sent to Afghanistan, another to the UAE, and the third to Qatar. These are three more of the five hundred prisoners who Donald rumsfeld labelled as the "worst of the worst" who have been released from Guantanamo without charges. According to DoD there are 265 left to go.

This announcement is good news for these prisoners but what is really remarkable is the language used by DoD in making the announcement. First, there is this,

These detainees were determined to be eligible for transfer following a comprehensive series of review processes.

Comprehensive review process? It's been six years. We prosecuted and won victory in WWII in three and a half years but it takes six years to finally figure out these poor schmucks shouldn't be in custody. If it gets any more comprehensive they'll be sending these guys home with walkers.

But not to rest on its laurels, the release goes on,

The transfer is a demonstration of the United States’ desire not to hold detainees any longer than necessary. It also underscores the processes put in place to assess each individual and make a determination about their detention while hostilities are ongoing — an unprecedented step in the history of warfare.

"No longer than necessary?" Who are they kidding? Everything they knew about these guys was made known soon after their capture. If they are like the typical Guantanamo detainee they were not captured on a battlefield. They were guys who were turned over by bounty hunting Pakistanis and Afghanis looking for a quick buck. Most of them were foreigners going to schools or passing through, and some were locals against whom Afghanis had familial or clan grudges.

But especially rich is the crowing about this wonderful process, which is claimed to be unprecedented in the annals warfare. Damn right it is unprecedented. We pay bounty hunters to round up people and gin up some "evidence" about their supposed misdeeds. We hold and torture them for a while before shipping them to Guantanamo where they get more of the same. They are isolated for long periods, interrogated endlessly, and after six years we say "OOps," you are no longer a threat.

The press release goes on to say that another 65 of the remaining 265 prisoners are eligible for release. And so far people have been released to the following countries,

Albania, Algeria, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

What about the ones not yet cleared for release. Well, one is a guy named Hamdan who is currently on trial. Unlike the other 500, he actually had a connection to Al Qaeda, but his "crime" seems a little tenuous. He was nabbed for having been Osama bin Laden's driver. Here at the ACLU's website is an update on what happened at the trial today. Actually, they watched a movies prepared by the DoD which depicts the evils of AQ, but doesn't say anything about the actual case that is being tried.

If these prosecutors had any sense of history they would understand the true pathos and tragedy of this case against OBL's driver. In 1945 the US took the lead in prosecuting the surviving members of the genocidal Nazi regime. Anything OBL has done pales in comparison with what Hitler and his minions did. There was one person, though, who was not prosecuted — he was Hitler's driver. That man's name was Erich Kempka who, in addition to being Hitler's driver, was also an SS officer who was with Hitler from 1934 all the way to the last day in the bunker. Not only was he not tried at Nuremberg, he was a witness for the defense of Martin Bormann

In the words of the DoD press release our actions in Guantanamo truly are "unprecedented."

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