The magazine said he was questioned in a room filled with pictures of Sept. 11 victims, was made to urinate in his pants and told to wear photos of near-naked women around his neck. He was also forced to bark like a dog and was turned down at times when he asked to pray, the magazine said.
U.S. Not Aiming to Shut Guantanamo Bay Prison
White House Reviewing Options, Cheney Says
By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 13, 2005; Page A02
Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that the administration has no plans to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as some prominent Democrats have recommended, but other Republicans said that reports of mistreatment of prisoners there have made the prison a growing global liability.
Additional information about aggressive interrogation tactics at Guantanamo surfaced Sunday that could heighten the debate further.
In remarks to be broadcast Monday on Fox News, Cheney said the administration was reviewing its options at the prison "on a continuous basis." But he defended its track record, saying, "The important thing here to understand is that the people that are at Guantanamo are bad people."
Very bad about the torture, but good that they're not shutting the whole facility down. Among thouse prisoners are Al Qaeda terrorists, and we need to confine and question them, and ultimately try them by tribunal. We certainly don't want the ones who really are bad running around loose plotting more 9/11s.
Yep, these jokers in prison just aren't folks snatched off the street and detained for no good reason. This is war, they are prisoners of war and should be detained until the war is decided.
Pressed by Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) on how long an enemy combatant might be held without trial, Wiggins said, "It's our position that, legally, they can be held in perpetuity."
Can you give a source for your first post, Stilly?
Losing their heads over Gitmo
June 15, 2005
I guess Bush should have backed Katherine Harris, after all. Sen. Mel Martinez, the Senate candidate Bush backed instead of Harris, has become the first Republican to call for shutting down Guantanamo. Martinez hasn't said where the 500 or so suspected al-Qaida operatives currently at Gitmo should be transferred to, but I understand the Neverland Ranch might soon be available.
Maybe Sen. Arlen Specter - the liberal Republican Bush backed instead of conservative Pat Toomey, which still didn't help Bush in Pennsylvania - will step forward to defend the Bush administration. That Karl Rove is a genius.
Martinez explained his nonsensical call for the closing of Guantanamo by asking: "Is it serving all the purposes you thought it would serve when initially you began it, or can this be done some other way a little better?"
There are Arabs locked up at Guantanamo, no? Admittedly, not enough. (And not under what any frequent flier would describe as "harsh conditions.") Still and all, Arabs are locked up there. That is what we call a "purpose."
By becoming a focus of evil for human-rights groups, Martinez suggested, Guantanamo has become a recruiting tool for al-Qaida: "It's become an icon for bad stories," Martinez said, "and at some point you wonder the cost-benefit ratio." (I've been wondering the same thing about Mel Martinez.)
This is preposterous. NBC's "The West Wing" is an icon for bad stories; Gitmo is a place where we keep an eye on evil, dangerous people who want to kill us.
Martinez was borrowing a point from Sen. Joe Biden - which is always a dangerous gambit because you never know who said it originally. The "Biden" version was: "I think more Americans are in jeopardy as a consequence of the perception that exists worldwide with its existence than if there were no Gitmo."
So if people around the world believe that if they try to kill Americans they might go to a bad, scary place called Guantanamo, that will make them more likely to kill Americans? How about doing a cost-benefit ratio on that analysis?
Let's also pause to ponder the image of the middle-of-the-road, "centrist" jihadist who could be "recruited" to jihad by reports about abuse at Guantanamo. You know - the kind of guy who just watches al-Jazeera for the sports and hits the "mute" button whenever they start in about the Jews again, already.
Liberals want us to believe such a person exists and that he is perusing newspaper articles about Guantanamo trying to decide whether to finish his coffee and head off to work or to place a backpack filled with dynamite near a preschool.
Note to liberals: That doesn't happen.
What happens is this: There are thousands of Muslim extremists literally dying to slaughter Americans, and only three proven ways to stop them: (1) Kill them (the recommended method), (2) capture them and keep them locked up, or (3) convince them that their cause is lost. Guantanamo is useless for No. 1, but really pulls ahead on No. 2 and No. 3 (i.e., a "purpose").
Let's just hope aspiring jihadists are not reading past the headlines and discovering that what Amnesty International means by "the gulag of our time" is: No Twinkie rewards for detainees!
That's not a joke. As described in infuriating detail by Heather MacDonald in the Winter, 2005, City Journal, interrogators at Guantanamo are not allowed to:
* yell at the detainees, except in extreme circumstances and only after alerting Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld - and never in the ears;
* serve the detainees cold meals, except in extreme circumstances;
* poke the detainees in the chest or engage in "light pushing" without careful monitoring and approval from the commander of the U.S. Southern Central Command in Miami;
* reward detainees (for example, for not throwing feces at the guards that day) with a Twinkie or a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich in the absence of express approval from the secretary of defense. (I suppose it goes without saying, "supersizing" their order is strictly forbidden under any circumstances.)
Without careful monitoring, interrogators aren't even allowed to subject the detainees to temperature changes, unpleasant odors or sleep cycle disruptions. But on the bright side, they are allowed to play Christina Aguilera music and feed the savages the same food our soldiers eat rather than their usual orange-glazed chicken. That isn't sarcasm; these are the rules.
No cold meals, sleep deprivation or uncomfortable positions? Obviously, what we need to do is get the U.S. Army to serve drinks on commercial airlines and get the airlines to start supervising the detainees in Guantanamo.
American soldiers make do with C-rations. Dinner on an America West flight from New York to Las Vegas consists of one small bag of peanuts. Meanwhile, one recent menu for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo consisted of orange-glazed chicken, fresh fruit crepe, steamed peas and mushrooms, and rice pilaf. Sounds like the sort of thing you'd get at Windows on the World - if it still existed.
Gitmo by any other name is still necessary
June 15, 2005
There's a lot I don't understand about the current hysteria over our prison facility at Guantanamo Bay. At the top of the list is why no one has mentioned Louis Pepe or Mamdouh Mahmud Salim.
Salim, a reputed top lieutenant of Osama Bin Laden, was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a high security federal jail in lower Manhattan. Pepe was a guard there. On November 1, 2000, Salim plunged a sharpened comb into Pepe's left eye and three inches into his brain. Salim and a compatriot also beat Pepe savagely, in their effort to get the guard's keys and orchestrate an escape for himself and two fellow terrorists awaiting trial. Believing Pepe was dead, the attackers used his own blood to paint a Christian cross on his torso. Pepe was an experienced correctional officer, a member of the elite MCC Enforcers Disturbance Control, and he weighed in at 300 pounds. He survived the attack with brain damage, crippling disabilities and an unending stream of surgeries.
The reason Pepe and Salim are relevant should be obvious. There are good guys and bad guys in this story, and as much as it pains some to hear it, we are the good guys. We are not talking about confused teenagers caught up in events larger than themselves. We aren't talking about mistaken identities. We're talking about the cream of our enemy's crop in the war on terror.
Critics of the Bush Administration are fond of the argument that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the real war on terror. John Kerry, Howard Dean and countless others have argued that Iraq diluted our efforts in Afghanistan, the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, and the worldwide consensus on the need to destroy al-Qaida. That's an argument worth having - and we have had it many times over. But if it were all true and we had never invaded Iraq, we would still have Guantanamo and the problem of what to do with hardened, dedicated terrorists like Salim.
Of course, we could close Guantanamo, but if you actually support the war on terror you must recognize that we would still need someplace like it. A rose by any other name and all that. We can't summarily execute every al-Qaida member we capture. Not just because that would raise legitimate moral and legal problems, but because we can't win unless we interrogate these guys.
Senator Joe Biden said that while we should close Gitmo and release the occupants, we should also "keep those we have reason to keep." Huh? This is the logical equivalent of Solomon saying, "Hey, let's cut the baby in half after all." Imagine if, instead of Gitmo, the issue was the death penalty. "The death penalty should be abolished, but let's execute the folks there's a reason to execute."
If we kept the ones "we have reason to keep" - which would probably mean all 500 or so current detainees - but closed Gitmo, we could bring them to the United States. But this would be a legal quagmire, as it isn't clear what their rights would be on U.S. soil. And it would be a disaster to treat them like common criminals with all of the usual constitutional rights. Nobody read these murderers their rights when they were seized in Afghanistan, and it's not like the cast of "CSI: Kabul" or "Kandahar PD Blue" collected all the necessary forensic evidence to build a case against them. Does that mean we should just let them go? We certainly can't set them free on American soil. And if we send them back to Afghanistan or Pakistan, it would be like giving them a do-over.
Any new Gitmo would quickly gain the same reputation as the old one because a) al-Qaida is under strict orders to allege all manner of abuses for propaganda purposes, especially now that such tactics have proved so useful, and b) because the "international community" and other lovers of runny cheese desperately want such allegations to be true, regardless of the evidence. That the head of Amnesty International could call Gitmo, where we spend more money on the care and feeding of detainees than we do on our own troops, the "Gulag of our time" is all the evidence we need for that. Caving into such bullying would send the unmistakable message that American can be rolled.
Now, none of this is to say that the U.S. military should have carte blanche to torture or harass detainees. There must be rules, and it is perfectly fair to debate what those rules should be. But unlike the lawless calamity of Abu Ghraib, the evidence is sparse that Guantanamo is anything like the house of horrors depicted by its detractors. In other words, if there are abuses, remedy them. If allegations are propagandistic lies, rebut them as best you can.
But caving into a defamation campaign in order to please those who cannot be pleased and aiding those who must not be aided is no way to support the war on terror or prevent more victims like Louis Pepe.