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Freedom's Fidelity

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Guantanamo Update

Remember when Amnesty International made the laughable comparison of Guantanamo Bay to the Russian Gulags in a transparent effort to pander to the most reflexive anti-Americanism out there? Longtime readers of this blog already know about Guantanamo Bay and Living Standards but here is more: (via Dean Esmay)

Mar 6, 2006 — BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Inmates at Guantanamo Bay prison are treated better than in Belgian jails, an expert for Europe's biggest security organization said on Monday after a visit to the controversial U.S. detention center.

But Alain Grignard, deputy head of Brussels' federal police anti-terrorism unit, said that holding people for many years without telling them what would happen to them is in itself "mental torture."

"At the level of the detention facilities, it is a model prison, where people are better treated than in Belgian prisons," said Grignard.

...Grignard told a news conference that prisoners' right to practice their religion, food, clothes and medical care were better than in Belgian prisons.

"I know no Belgian prison where each inmate receives its Muslim kit," Grignard said.

I know no Middle Eastern country where one could find all of that.

Apparently the prisoners aren't so sure either:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- The prisoner from a western region of China faced serious accusations as he appeared before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay. But he had a much more pressing issue on his mind: Where he might go if he were released.

If he were sent back to China, he might be executed, the man, identified only as Mahmut, told the panel at the start of his hearing, according to a transcripts released by the Pentagon.

"I do not want repatriation and am seeking political asylum," he said.

....The Uighur identified as Mahmut was accused of being a member of al Qaeda, which he denied, and of training with a Muslim militant group -- an organization he insisted was dedicated only to establishing an independent homeland in Chinese Turkistan.

"I want to go somewhere where I can live a free life," he said. "That's why I left my country."

Right, he was looking for a country where he could live free so he chose..... Afghanistan under the Taliban!
His fear, according to a review of dozens of other transcripts from hearings at the prison in eastern Cuba, was not uncommon among the detainees.

Prisoners from Uzbekistan, Yemen, Algeria, and other nations told tribunals that they or their families could be tortured or killed if they are sent home.

...A man from Syria who was detained along with his father pleaded with the tribunal for help getting them political asylum -- in any country that will take them.

"You've been saying 'terrorists, terrorists.' If we return, whether we did something or not, there's no such things as human rights. We will be killed immediately," he said. "You know this very well."

Human rights? Remember that these guys were picked up on the battle field in Afghanistan, fighting for the Taliban, fighting for such noble causes as keeping women illiterate, subserviant, and locked in their homes. Oh yeah, and the right to stone gays.
A Saudi identified only as Yasim, who said he attended an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and was jailed in his country for selling drugs, told the tribunal that after being repeatedly interrogated at Guantanamo, he fears his fellow prisoners as well as others back in Saudi Arabia.

"I can't go back to my country. I have been threatened to be killed by many people," he said according to the transcripts, which the Pentagon released Friday in response to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit filed by The Associated Press.

Wahhhh! Wahhh! Wahhh! I went to an Al-Qaeda trainging camp and now my life is in danger. Wahhhh!
In the case of one group of prisoners, Muslims from western China known as Uighurs, the U.S. has struggled to find a solution.

A military tribunal has determined that five are "no longer enemy combatants" and can be released from Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. agrees they could face persecution back in China, but so far has not found a third country to take them.

For now, the Uighurs are being kept at Camp Iguana -- a privileged section of the prison where inmates have unlimited recreation time, televisions, stereos and a view of the Caribbean.

It's pretty apparent that prisoners inside the walls of Guantanamo live under significantly better conditions than citizens of Cuba residing outside those walls. Yet Amnesty International (and many of our own politicians for that matter) see fit to apologize for Fidel Castro while castigating America. That ought to reveal something about their motivation.


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