…this started out in my head as a Great Debate, but after a few minutes of typing, I realized there wasn’t much to debate. I first posted about Guantanemo Bay back in 2004. I followed that up a few weeks ago with this great debate thread that argued the way the US was conducting its War on Terror was hurting, not helping the global fight against terrorism. Central to my arguement was the amount of “intelligence noise” that would be generated by innocent or low-priority detainees. I have always argued that the methods used to arrest, assess then send the prisoners sent to Guantanemo were flawed at practically every stage.
Professor Mark Denbeaux, of Seton Hall University School of Law (and Counsel to two Guantanamo detainees) along with several colleagues have realeased a report that has analysed the publicly available data, including all of the unclassified Combatant Status Review Tribunals for all of the remaining 517 detainees. Before cry’s of bias ring out, the raw data is out there on the net, and if you would like to dispute the findings, feel free to do your own analysis.
Some of the conclusions from the report:
I remember the many debates, like in this thread, where the old arguements over whether or not the Geneva Conventions applied or not. I remember President Bush calling those locked up as “the baddest of the bad.” The documents show that some detainees are there on evidence as flimsy as the type of watch they wear. People that were forced into service for the Taliban are treated the same way as the worst Al-Quaeda suspects…
Here is the complete record for a Taliban conscript:
…a cook’s assistant who was forced into the Taliban Army and fled from a Taliban Camp is deemed to be an illegal combatant who took up arms against US troops. The mind boggles.
The reports authors conclude that the majority of Taliban at Guantanemo were forced conscripts. “There was a Health Minister, Governor of the State Bank, an Attorney General, an Education Minister, and an Anti-Drug Control Force. Each city had a mayor, chief of police, and senior administrators. None of these individuals are at Guantanamo Bay.”
…other gems from the report:
…I’ve read many of the individual cases, and the lack of evidence is disturbing, but not surprising. Guantanemo Bay was a stupid idea concieved by stupid people, that has done absolutely nothing but hurt the global war on terrorism. There is no doubt there are some bad people locked up there, and the report concludes that for those people (About 11%) the evidence is pretty overwhelming.
For the rest? Well, over 80% of them weren’t captured on the battlefields fighting US troops. That’s over 30% more than I had estimated in previous threads. They were handed over by Pakistani or Northern Alliance Troops for a myriad of reasons, including large bounty payments. The evidence against them is weak. And while the Bush Administration is in place, don’t expect much change to happen at Guantanemo Bay.
I’m not a big ranter, so my BBQ rant does need a little bit of help from fellow dopers…I’m loathe to throw in the obligatory “@# Bush!” that it seems this thread requires, so I hope someone throws in the nessecery invectives.
The real scarey thing for me is that Guantanemo Bay is the prison run by the US for TWAT detainees that we know the most about. We have little information about Bagram. Next to nothing on Abu Gharib or Baghadad Airport. Tens of thousands of people detained in Iraq using the same methodoloy as Guantanemo and worse. And somehow, this “shotgun” approach is supposed to make the world a safer place. I think that it makes many Americans “feel” safer, as evidenced by some of the postings on this very board. But the long term effect? Less co-operation, more bounty hunting, more anger, poor intelligence, and a less safe world. And I’ve been typing a rant about Guantanemo Bay for the last couple of hours and I haven’t even mentioned the alleged abuses going on there, but thats another thread…