Despair and Confusion at Guantanamo

As review of Friday's 5,000 pages of DOD released documents on Guantanamo detainees are analyzed, pictures begin to emerge. Many are in despair, fearful they will never leave.

Others are baffled.

Abdur Sayed Rahman, a self-described Pakistani villager ... says he was arrested at his modest home in January 2002, flown off to Afghanistan and later accused of being the deputy foreign minister of that country's deposed Taliban regime.

"I am only a chicken farmer in Pakistan," he protested to American military officers at Guantánamo. "My name is Abdur Sayed Rahman. Abdur Zahid Rahman was the deputy foreign minister of the Taliban."

How flimsy is the evidence against some of them? Consider this:

Another Saudi, Mazin Salih Musaid al-Awfi, was one of at least half a dozen men against whom the "relevant data" considered by the annual review boards included the possession at the time of his capture of a Casio model F-91W watch. According to evidentiary summaries in those cases, such watches have "been used in bombings linked to Al Qaeda."

Many of those who initially made incriminating statements have recanted claiming the statements were obtained through torture:

The files are replete with retractions. Detainees who had confessed to having ties to Al Qaeda or the Taliban or terrorism frequently told the tribunals that they had only made those admissions to stop beatings or torture by their captors.

"The only reason for my original statements is because I was tortured when I was captured," said a former mechanical engineering student from Saudi Arabia who was accused of training at a Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. "In Kabul, an Afghan interrogator beat me and told me they would kill me if I didn't talk. They shot and killed someone in front of me and said they would do the same if I didn't cooperate."

Guantanamo is the black hole that will forever be considered by the world as a black mark on America. And justly so.

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    Re: Despair and Confusion at Guantanamo (none / 0) (#1)
    by HK on Mon Mar 06, 2006 at 01:08:03 AM EST
    This is appalling and epitomizes the climate of fear that has been generated by politicians seeking excuses for their behaviour. It is not exclusive to the US, though. On a smaller scale but just as scary was the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in a London train station. He was suspected of being a terrorist about to detonate a suicide bomb and was pushed to the floor and shot eight times in the head. He was in fact an electrician from Brazil, legally in the UK, just getting on a train. Contrary to reports at the time, it has now transpired that he was NOT wearing a padded jacket and he did NOT leap the ticket barrier. Furthermore, he did NOT ignore police when challenged, in fact, they didn't challenge him in the first place. Even if this had all been true, it is very flimsy evidence on which to shoot a man to death. But since it isn't true, it makes you wonder what exactly their reasoning was (if any). 9/11 was shocking and rightly made national security an hot issue. But locking up, torturing and killing innocent people to make other innocent people feel safer...how does that work? Guantanamo is a knee-jerk reaction gone into overdrive. Since the US does not answer to anyone internationally, the only way I can see this coming to an end is if US citizens make their voices heard. Humanity and common sense are alien concepts to this administration. The only way to get a result is to threaten them with your precious votes...

    Re: Despair and Confusion at Guantanamo (none / 0) (#2)
    by Steven Sanderson on Mon Mar 06, 2006 at 01:11:21 AM EST
    Because of Bush, Cheney, Rummy, et al, the U.S. has become the world's number one purveyor of terrorism. It's not an achievement that we should be proud of. They've demonstrated the fact that anyone anywhere can be secretly kidnapped and imprisoned in Guantanamo or elsewhere within the American Gulag. Blind obedience to the American Empire means (relative) safety. Dissent means being "disappeared."

    Re: Despair and Confusion at Guantanamo (none / 0) (#3)
    by scarshapedstar on Mon Mar 06, 2006 at 05:38:54 AM EST
    Wear a digital watch, get tortured to death. O'er the land of the freeeeeee...

    Re: Despair and Confusion at Guantanamo (none / 0) (#4)
    by Punchy on Mon Mar 06, 2006 at 06:37:23 AM EST
    I'm sure Casio is pleased to hear that people wearing its watches are being jailed and tortured. I'm betting its watch sales in Middle Eastern countries are at a all-time low... Perhaps they'll start arresting everyone who eats at McDonald's because, you know, Moussaoui ate there once....

    Re: Despair and Confusion at Guantanamo (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Mar 06, 2006 at 08:52:47 AM EST
    Oh My GOD! I have worn Casio watches for years. And I just purchased a new one online. I wonder when this blonde haired blue-eyed white lady will be hauled off to Guantanamo? The local sheriff's office was out to my house yesterday because I found a bike abandoned on my property. The nice young deputy volunteered to walk the perimeter of my 7 acre plot to see if the bike's owner was lurking. And I thought he was just being helpful! This administration has proved that they can't do anything right. But, then again, all them "furrin" names sound alike, don't they? Sayed, Zahid, what's the difference? They all be "terr-ists."

    Re: Despair and Confusion at Guantanamo (none / 0) (#6)
    by Che's Lounge on Mon Mar 06, 2006 at 12:17:49 PM EST
    Pogo said it first: We have met the enemy and they are us.

    Re: Despair and Confusion at Guantanamo (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 08, 2006 at 04:33:47 AM EST
    No, they're in the White House.