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Posts Tagged ‘gitmo’

Bergdahl swap fiasco playing out as predicted

Posted by Richard on March 25, 2015

Like many others released from Guantanamo, at least three of the five Taliban commanders swapped for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl seem intent on rejoining the jihad. They won’t have to wait long.

The five are currently living in luxury in Dohar, Qatar, under the alleged supervision of that alleged ally of ours in the misnamed War on Terror. But their confinement to Qatar ends in May, and they’ll then be able to go where they please. Such as back to Helmand province to rejoin their comrades in arms, or maybe to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Bergdahl, on the other hand, won’t be rejoining the war effort.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed by Afghan insurgents last May as part of an exchange for five Taliban prisoners, was charged Wednesday with having deserted his remote base before his capture in 2009.

The military charges, resulting from a long-awaited but tightly guarded investigation, include desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. A conviction could lead to a dishonorable discharge from the military and, in the extreme, life in prison for Sgt. Bergdahl.

The Bergdahl swap is playing out exactly as anyone with half a brain predicted.

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Another Guantanamo alumnus has moved up in the world

Posted by Richard on July 11, 2009

Here's a "dog bites man" story I almost missed. U.S. and Allied forces are facing a tough fight in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, and a former Gitmo inmate is commanding the Taliban forces against them:

Mullah Zakir, also known as Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, surrendered in Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan in 2001, and was transferred to Gitmo in 2006. He was released in late 2007 to Afghan custody.

Now as the United States is pushing ahead with the massive Operation Khanjar in the southern province of Afghanistan, Zakir is coordinating the Taliban fighters. Some 4,000 U.S. Marines and hundreds of Afghan forces have faced some resistance as they sweep across the province, reclaiming control of districts where Zakir and his comrades were running a shadow government.

Zakir was released from Afghan custody around 2008, according to the New York Post. He re-established connections with high-level Taliban leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan after his second release. 

Taliban chief Mullah Omar appointed Zakir in mid-2008 as senior military commander, according to the newspaper.

Zakir quickly became a charismatic leader, helping establish an "accountability commission" to track spending and monitor activities of Taliban leaders in the districts where they held power and were running a shadow government, according to the Post.

Explaining why Zakir was released from Gitmo, the defense official said, "We were under incredible pressure from the world to release detainees at Gitmo. You just don't know what people are going to do.

"He was no worse than anyone else being held at Gunatanamo Bay," the official added. "He was not going to be tried for war crimes so we decided to release him. Either he was not thought to have committed a crime or we didn't have enough evidence to prosecute him."

I bet it won't take me long to find an anti-war liberal (or libertarian) arguing that Zakir was just a simple goat-herder, a peaceful peasant, until those brutes at Gitmo radicalized him. … OK, here you go — this one will do: 

Well, if you were thrown into a foreign prison and tortured there for years on end, wouldn't you want revenge?
Real American | 07.07.09 – 8:32 pm | #


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Jailhouse converts to jihad

Posted by Richard on May 23, 2009

The homegrown terrorists arrested in New York on Wednesday, who tried to bomb two synagogues and planned to shoot down planes, became radical Islamists in prison. Michelle Malkin reminds us that this is far from unusual:

In 2005, Bush officials busted a terrorist plot to attack infidels at military and Jewish sites in Los Angeles on the fourth anniversary of 9/11 or the Jewish holy days. It was devised by militant Muslim converts of Jam'iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh (Arabic for "Assembly of Authentic Islam") who had sworn allegiance to violent jihad at California's New Folsom State Prison.

Convicted terror conspirator Jose Padilla converted to Islam during a stint at a Broward County, Fla., jail and reportedly fell in with terrorist recruiters after his release. Convicted "shoe bomber" Richard Reid converted to Islam with the help of an extremist imam in a British prison.

Aqil Collins, a self-confessed jihadist turned FBI informant, converted to Islam while doing time in a California juvenile detention center. At a terrorist camp in Afghanistan, he went on to train with one of the men accused of kidnapping and beheading Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

In East Texas, inmates were recruited with a half-hour videotape featuring the anti-Semitic rants of California-based Imam Muhammad Abdullah, who claims that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were actually carried out by the Israeli and U.S. governments.

Federal corrections officials told congressional investigators during the Bush years "that convicted terrorists from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing were put into their prisons' general population, where they radicalized inmates and told them that terrorism was part of Islam."

So what should we do with the remaining Gitmo inmates? Hundreds of those considered less dangerous have already been released (and reportedly, at least one in seven of those returned to jihad). Those remaining are the most radical, violent, and dangerous, the ones implacably committed to waging jihad against all infidels. The Obama administration is committed to shutting down Gitmo, but admits that these men can't be released. So where should they go? 

<snark>Here's an idea: let's send them to various high-security prisons around the country, where they can rub elbows and share their ideas with a bunch of mean, nasty, violent, disaffected bad-asses. What could possibly go wrong?</snark>

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Rebutting the “torture narrative”

Posted by Richard on July 17, 2008

Former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith testified yesterday before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Power Line posted his opening statement in its entirety. If you think you know all about the Bush Administration's policy decisions regarding enemy combatants and the Geneva Conventions — especially if your information is based directly or indirectly on the allegations of Philippe Sands — you really should read this. Here's a bit from the beginning:

The history of war-on-terrorism detainee policy goes back nearly seven years. It involves many officials and both the law and the facts are enormously complex. Some critics of the administration have simplified and twisted that history into what has been called the “torture narrative,” which centers on the unproven allegation that top-level administration officials sanctioned or encouraged abuse and torture of detainees.

The “torture narrative” is grounded in the claim that the administration’s top leaders, including those at the Defense Department, were contemptuous of the Geneva Convention (which I refer to here as simply “Geneva.”) The claim is false, however. It is easy to grasp the political purposes of the “torture narrative” and to see why it is promoted. But these hearings are an opportunity to check the record – and the record refutes the “torture narrative”.

The book by Phillipe Sands is an important prop for that false narrative. Central to the book is its story about me and my work on the Geneva Convention. Though I’m not an authority on many points in Sands’s book, I do know that what he writes about me is fundamentally inaccurate – false not just in its detail, but in its essence. Sands builds that story, first, on the accusation that I was hostile to Geneva and, second, on the assertion that I devised the argument that detainees at GTMO should not receive any protections under Geneva – in particular, any protections under common Article 3. But the facts are (1) that I strongly championed a policy of respect for Geneva and (2) that I did not recommend that the President set aside common Article 3.

I will briefly review my role in this matter and then discuss Sands’s misreporting. As it becomes clear that the Sands book is not rigorous scholarship or reliable history, members of Congress and others may be persuaded to approach the entire “torture narrative” with more skepticism.

Read the whole thing. I think Feith's account hangs together well, seems to make sense, and is quite plausible — none of that proves it's true, of course, but I'm inclined to believe it.

Feith's discussion of the issue of POW status introduced me to something I wasn't aware of: During the Reagan Administration, the U.S. rejected a treaty to amend Geneva called "Protocol 1" because it would have granted POW status to terrorists. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post praised Reagan (uncharacteristically) for this decision. 

Like I said, read the whole thing. Then read something I posted three years ago, They aren't criminal suspects!  

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Another Gitmo alum collected his 72 virgins

Posted by Richard on June 28, 2008

According to Bill Roggio, a new al Qaeda jihad video features a former Gitmo detainee who killed 13 in a suicide truck bomb attack in Mosul. The Kuwaiti jihadist was presumably one of those released from Gitmo because he was judged low-risk or there was insufficient evidence against him. Now, there's more evidence and his risk level can be retroactively raised:

Al Qaeda in Iraq, through its puppet organization the Islamic State of Iraq, released its latest propaganda video on June 23. The video contains a montage of attacks throughout Iraq, and features two Kuwaiti al Qaeda operatives who conducted strikes in Mosul. One of the operatives was released from the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Islamic State of Iraq used footage taken at Combat Outpost Inman by this reporter in Mosul in March of this year.

The 38-minute-long video, titled "The Islamic State is Meant to Stay," was produced by Al Furqan, al Qaeda's media arm in Iraq. Al Furqan has released few videos over the past six weeks said Nibras Kazimi, a Visiting Scholar at the Hudson Institute, at his website, Talisman Gate.

Two Kuwaiti al Qaeda operatives who conducted suicide attacks were featured at the end of the video. Abu Omar al Kuwaiti, also known as Badr Mishel Gama’an al Harbi, and Abu Juheiman al Kuwaiti, also known as Abdullah Salih al Ajmi, are both shown on the video, along with their attacks in Mosul, said Kazimi.

Harbi, who claimed to be a "veteran of the jihad in Afghanistan," conducted a suicide car bomb attack on a police station in Mosul on April 26, 2008.

Ajmi was released from Guantanamo Bay and was searching for "a way to reconnect with the jihad." He claimed he was tortured while at Guantanamo Bay.

Ajmi "is seemingly responsible for an earlier truck bombing at the Iraqi Army HQ in the Harmat neighborhood of Mosul on March 23, 2008," said Kazimi. The attack occurred at Combat Outpost Inman, an Iraqi Army base that served as the headquarters for the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Iraqi Army Division.

I'm sure the 42 wounded Iraqi soldiers and the surviving families of the 13 dead wish the U.S. had used stricter standards in determining who could safely be released from Gitmo. 

I guess we Americans should be grateful that Ajmi wasn't released on bond in New Jersey. 

(And don't you dare suggest that Ajmi was harmless before, but was "radicalized" by his treatment at Gitmo. I will smack you. And then point out that he wanted to "reconnect with the jihad.") 


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Welcome to Bizarro World

Posted by Richard on March 16, 2007

Welcome to Bizarro World, where one of today's most ruthless butchers confesses/brags about his atrocities, and moonbats and media outlets everywhere denounce his captors, accuse them of crimes, joke about his terror plots, doubt his guilt, sympathize with his plight, and defend his humanity

Khalid Sheik Mohammed seemed to be especially proud of one particular atrocity:

"I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan," Mohammed is quoted as saying in a transcript of a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, released by the Pentagon.

"For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head," he added.

There are indeed. In fact, the video is readily available. Should you watch it? Jeff Jacoby addressed that difficult question at the time:

June 13, 2002 — The video of Daniel Pearl's beheading is searing and nightmarish, but the key to its power is not that it shows him dead. It is that it shows him alive. You look into his eyes, you hear his voice, you all but smell his fear as he tells the camera what his captors are forcing him to say.

"My name is Daniel Pearl. I'm a Jewish American from… Encino, California, USA. I come from, on my father's side, a family of Zionists. My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I'm Jewish. My family follows Judaism. We've made numerous family visits to Israel…"

The three-minute video is a piece of Islamist pornography: A frightened Jew — even better, a frightened American Jew — confesses his Jewish roots and denounces US foreign policy. Then his head is cut off and brandished triumphantly as English words scroll up the screen: "And if our demands are not met, this scene shall be repeated again and again."

When CBS aired the first part of that video, Pearl's mother was outraged. Jacoby acknowledged the family's pain, but saw things differently:

Who cannot understand her fury and anguish? Whose heart doesn't go out to the devastated young widow, whose infant son will never know his father?

And yet this video, depraved and evil as it is, does something for Daniel Pearl that has been done for virtually none of Al Qaeda's other victims: It makes him real. It allows him to be seen as a flesh-and-blood human being, a guy with a face and a voice and a house in Encino. Countless Americans who never knew him in life will experience Pearl's death as a sickening kick in the gut. His murder is an atrocity they will take personally — because they will have seen it with their own eyes.

Islamist terrorists butchered more than 3,000 innocent men, women, and children last Sept. 11. And before them there had been more than a thousand other victims — in the Marine barracks in Beirut, on Pan Am 103, in the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, at the Khobar Towers barracks, in the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, on board the USS Cole. Yet who, their families and friends excepted, knows what any of them looked like? Who remembers any of their names?

The Pearl family's ire is understandable. But I wonder if it isn't the loved ones of all the other victims who have the better reason to be angry.

There are times when no good purpose is served by publicizing a terrible image. The repeated broadcast of race car driver Dale Earnhardt's fatal crash last year was gratuitous. Nothing was gained by replaying, over and over, the beating of Rodney King.

But the beheading of Daniel Pearl is different. It conveys with a force no words can match the undiluted malignancy, the sheer evil, of the enemy we are fighting. Yes, it is a horror. Yes, it is barbaric. But we are at war with barbarians, and what they did to Pearl, they would gladly do to any one of us. This is no time to be covering our eyes.

I won't tell you that you should watch the video. It's pretty awful. Maybe you don't need to in order to fully appreciate who and what Khalid Sheik Mohammed is. But if you're one of those who feels sympathy for the man or worries about him being robbed of his humanity — well, I hope you do watch. So you can see that he wasn't robbed of his humanity — he rejected it.

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Greetings to Gitmo troops

Posted by Richard on December 19, 2006

A number of organizations, including Soldiers’ Angels, Any Soldier, and Move America Forward, have organized efforts to get cards, letters, and gift packages to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope you’ve participated. But what about the troops in Guantanamo? They’re forced to treat with kid gloves some of the vilest and most dangerous men on the planet. They’re routinely bombarded with feces and urine and attacked with improvised weapons. And they’re pretty much forgotten by all the "support the troops" folks.

The prisoners at Gitmo, on the other hand, seem to be fondly remembered by some. According to a retired Army officer on the Bill Bennett show this morning, the 430 or so inmates have received 15,000 cards and packages from "well-wishers."

If you’d like to honor the troops at Gitmo — to send some sweets or just a card saying "Thanks and Happy Holidays" — remember that, due to security concerns, the USPS no longer accepts mail addressed to "Any Soldier" or the like. Address your card or package to:

Col. Wade Dennis (for any troop)

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Why we’re safer

Posted by Richard on September 7, 2006

Last week in Salt Lake City, President Bush delivered the first of a series of speeches about the war against Islamofascism. I dubbed the speech "Bush channels Sharansky" –it made the case for rejecting the policy of promoting Middle East "stability" (which the U.S. pursued for over a half-century) in favor of encouraging freedom and democracy.

On Tuesday at the Capital Hilton in Washington, Bush followed up with a speech to the Military Officers Association of America, which included a sobering picture of our enemies:

We know what the terrorists intend to do because they’ve told us — and we need to take their words seriously. So today I’m going to describe — in the terrorists’ own words, what they believe… what they hope to accomplish, and how they intend to accomplish it. I’ll discuss how the enemy has adapted in the wake of our sustained offensive against them, and the threat posed by different strains of violent Islamic radicalism. I’ll explain the strategy we’re pursuing to protect America, by defeating the terrorists on the battlefield, and defeating their hateful ideology in the battle of ideas.

The terrorists who attacked us on September the 11th, 2001, are men without conscience — but they’re not madmen. They kill in the name of a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs that are evil, but not insane. These al Qaeda terrorists and those who share their ideology are violent Sunni extremists. They’re driven by a radical and perverted vision of Islam that rejects tolerance, crushes all dissent, and justifies the murder of innocent men, women and children in the pursuit of political power. They hope to establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East, which they call a "Caliphate" — where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology. …

We know what this radical empire would look like in practice, because we saw how the radicals imposed their ideology on the people of Afghanistan. Under the rule of the Taliban and al Qaeda, Afghanistan was a totalitarian nightmare — a land where women were imprisoned in their homes, men were beaten for missing prayer meetings, girls could not go to school, and children were forbidden the smallest pleasures like flying kites. Religious police roamed the streets, beating and detaining civilians for perceived offenses. Women were publicly whipped. Summary executions were held in Kabul’s soccer stadium in front of cheering mobs. …

The goal of these Sunni extremists is to remake the entire Muslim world in their radical image. In pursuit of their imperial aims, these extremists say there can be no compromise or dialogue with those they call "infidels" — a category that includes America, the world’s free nations, Jews, and all Muslims who reject their extreme vision of Islam. They reject the possibility of peaceful coexistence with the free world. Again, hear the words of Osama bin Laden earlier this year: "Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us."

Read the whole thing — it’s excellent.

Today, Bush followed up with the third installment, and it was the big newsmaker because of Bush’s revelations about terrorists held by the CIA:

In addition to the terrorists held at Guantanamo, a small number of suspected terrorist leaders and operatives captured during the war have been held and questioned outside the United States, in a separate program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. This group includes individuals believed to be the key architects of the September the 11th attacks, and attacks on the USS Cole, an operative involved in the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and individuals involved in other attacks that have taken the lives of innocent civilians across the world. These are dangerous men with unparalleled knowledge about terrorist networks and their plans for new attacks. The security of our nation and the lives of our citizens depend on our ability to learn what these terrorists know.

Many specifics of this program, including where these detainees have been held and the details of their confinement, cannot be divulged. Doing so would provide our enemies with information they could use to take retribution against our allies and harm our country. I can say that questioning the detainees in this program has given us information that has saved innocent lives by helping us stop new attacks — here in the United States and across the world. Today, I’m going to share with you some of the examples provided by our intelligence community of how this program has saved lives; why it remains vital to the security of the United States, and our friends and allies; and why it deserves the support of the United States Congress and the American people.

Please don’t just rely on the 90-second news stories about this speech. Read the whole thing — or better yet, watch the video (about 30 minutes, available at the same link; requires Real Player). Bush is compelling and persuasive, and his recounting of the events set in motion by the capture of Abu Zubaydah –including the thwarting of several planned attacks on the U.S. — is the stuff of great spy thrillers. In particular, I found the revelation of a foiled anthrax weapons program chilling.

Bush presented, in my opinion, a powerful defense of the CIA detention program and the interrogation techniques used:

These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used — I think you understand why — if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.

This program has been, and remains, one of the most vital tools in our war against the terrorists. It is invaluable to America and to our allies. Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland. By giving us information about terrorist plans we could not get anywhere else, this program has saved innocent lives.

This program has been subject to multiple legal reviews by the Department of Justice and CIA lawyers; they’ve determined it complied with our laws. This program has received strict oversight by the CIA’s Inspector General. A small number of key leaders from both political parties on Capitol Hill were briefed about this program. All those involved in the questioning of the terrorists are carefully chosen and they’re screened from a pool of experienced CIA officers. Those selected to conduct the most sensitive questioning had to complete more than 250 additional hours of specialized training before they are allowed to have contact with a captured terrorist.

I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture. It’s against our laws, and it’s against our values. I have not authorized it — and I will not authorize it. Last year, my administration worked with Senator John McCain, and I signed into law the Detainee Treatment Act, which established the legal standard for treatment of detainees wherever they are held. I support this act. And as we implement this law, our government will continue to use every lawful method to obtain intelligence that can protect innocent people, and stop another attack like the one we experienced on September the 11th, 2001.

Personally, I wouldn’t have been as diplomatic and restrained in discussing McCain — or the Hamdan decision. I’d have said that this crap about humiliation, intimidation, and degrading treatment being torture is ridiculous and insults the victims of real torture (in fact, I have). But I’m not a politician, and I suppose Bush is right not to complain about things he can’t change now.

I’m glad Bush is going to Congress. It’s about time they quit just carping and viewing with alarm, and actually fulfilled their role. Bush is correct that, in the wake of Hamdan, we need specific legislation spelling out what is and isn’t legal. And Congress should certainly authorize military tribunals to deal with the men at Gitmo — they can’t and shouldn’t be handled as a law enforcement problem.

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Reading Hamdan: now, that’s torture

Posted by Richard on July 1, 2006

I intended to write quite a bit about the Hamdan decision — really, I did. But getting ready for my visit to Knoxville took much longer than I planned. Plus there’s a lot to go through. The entire document (PDF here) is 185 pages, and about half of that’s the opinion of the Court — what Thomas refers to as the "plurality opinion" of Justice Stevens (only three other justices concurred with all of it; Kennedy joined in part). I’ll just make four quick points.

First, after going through a good portion of the 185 pages, I agree with Ann Coulter — making somebody read the whole thing would violate the Geneva Conventions.

Second, Stevens concluded that Congress would have to authorize a trial before a military tribunal, but strongly suggested that Hamdan could be held without trial "for the duration of active hostilities." Which led me wonder why the administration is going through all this tribunal and war crimes trials business anyway.

My guess is that they came up with this scheme to try to assuage the war critics embracing the law-enforcement paradigm and demanding that we "charge them or release them." Typical: Republicans always want to prove to their opponents that they’re not really such bad guys, fail miserably (and predictably), and shoot themselves in the foot in the process. They should have said, "Buzz off. No civilian courts, no military courts, no tribunals — we’re not charging these guys with any crimes, we’re holding them as enemy combatants until the War Against Islamofascism is over."

Third, Stevens’ arguments for disregarding the Detainee Treatment Act (which explicitly and unambiguously stripped the courts of jurisdiction over the Guantanamo detainees) are so at odds with a plain reading of the act, the Congressional record, and historical precedent that it’s breathtaking. Scalia destroyed every point of Stevens’ argument six ways from sundown. After a detailed examination of the case record involving jurisdiction stripping, Scalia pointed out how completely at odds this opinion is with all precedents:

Though the Court resists the Bruner rule, it cannot cite a single case in the history of Anglo-American law (before today) in which a jurisdiction-stripping provision was denied immediate effect in pending cases, absent an explicit statutory reservation. By contrast, the cases granting such immediate effect are legion,

Scalia went on to cite over a dozen cases to prove his point.

Finally, Justice Thomas’ dissent provided a crash course on the "common law of war" and a series of stinging rebukes that included this gem:

Those Justices who today disregard the commander-in-chief’s wartime decisions, only 10 days ago deferred to the judgment of the Corps of Engineers with regard to a matter much more within the competence of lawyers, upholding that agency’s wildly implausible conclusion that a storm drain is a tributary of the waters of the United States. See Rapanos v. United States, 547 U. S. ___(2006). It goes without saying that there is much more at stake here than storm drains.

Bravo. Excellent point.

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The difference between us and them, part 3

Posted by Richard on June 28, 2005

In this episode, we revisit our Islamofascist enemy. Courtesy of LGF, we’re treated to Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu’s account of what he learned on a recent visit to Guantanamo:

Our group went to GITMO to check out tales that the military was being too tough on these terrorist detainees. We left convinced that America is being extraordinarily lenient – far too lenient.

After speaking with soldiers, sailors, and civilians who collectively staff Gitmo, I left convinced that abuse definitely exists at the detention facilities, and it typically fails to receive the press attention it deserves: it’s the relentless, merciless attacks on American servicemen and women by these terrorist thugs. Many of the orange jumpsuit-clad detainees fight their captors at every opportunity, openly bragging of their desire to kill Americans. One has promised that, if released, he would find MPs in their homes through the internet, break into their houses at night, and “cut the throats of them and their families like sheep.” Others claim authority and vindication to kill women, children, and other innocents who oppose their jihadist mission authorized by the Koran (the same one that hangs in every cell from a specially-designed holder intended to protect it from a touching the cell floor – all provided at U.S. taxpayer expense). One detainee was heard to tell another: “One day I will enjoy sucking American blood, although their blood is bitter, undrinkable….” These recalcitrant detainees are known euphemistically as being “non-compliant.” They attack guards whenever the soldiers enter their cells, trying to reach up under protective facemasks to gouge eyes and tear mouths. They make weapons and try to stab the guards or grab and break limbs as the guards pass them food.

Lt. Col. Cucullu reminds us that the Gitmo detainees are a select group:

Of the estimated 70,000 battlefield captures that were made in Afghanistan, only a tiny percentage, something on the order of 800-plus, were eventually evacuated to GITMO. These were the worst of the worst. More than 200 have been released back to their home country – if the U.S. is assured that the detainees would not be tortured by local authorities upon return. These men were freed because they were deemed by ongoing official military review processes to no longer pose a threat, or to possess no useful intelligence. And this process has proven too generous at times: more than 10 released GITMO detainees have been killed or recaptured fighting Americans or have been identified as resuming terrorist activities.

The top commanders at Gitmo seem to be fans of gentle treatment and "establishing rapport" with the prisoners:

Some questioned whether it were wise to give these radical Islamic fundamentalists the religious supplies that ended up landing them in Gitmo in the first place. “Giving them the Koran is simply something that we think we ought to do as a humane gesture,” said second-in-command Brigadier General Gong. “We’re Americans. That’s how we operate.”

… JTF-GITMO commanding officer Brigadier General Jay Hood radiated confidence and determination when fielding challenges from our group about his overly lenient treatment. “It works,” he says simply. … As proof that “establishing rapport” with the detainees is far more effective than coercive techniques, General Hood refers skeptics to the massive amount of usable intelligence information JTF-GITMO continues to produce even three years into the program.

Lt. Col. Cucullu concludes that concern over Gitmo is warranted, but not the kind that Sen. Durbin expressed:

You are right to worry about inhumane treatment taking place at GITMO. But your concern should be for the dedicated, well-trained, highly professional American men and women who are subjected to a daily barrage of feces, urine, semen, and spit hurled at them along with vile invective as they implement a humane, enlightened system of confinement on men who want nothing more than to kill Americans. These quiet professional Americans, who live under the motto “Honor Bound for Defense of Freedom,” deserve our utmost respect and concern. Shame on anyone who slanders or disrespects them for short-term and short-sighted political advantage.

And double shame on those who believe without evidence every accusation made by murderous jihadists, but are immediately suspicious of statements by members of this administration and American men and women in uniform.

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I heart Gitmo

Posted by Richard on June 23, 2005

Thanks to M. Simon at Power and Control for pointing out the newest campaign by Move America Forward:

(SACRAMENTO) – The non-profit group that supports our troops and the war against terrorism, Move America Forward (website: has launched a campaign to rally public support for the Detention Center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The “I LOVE GITMO” campaign will take to the airwaves in the form of paid commercials urging Americans to support the men and women operating the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

They have bumper stickers and T-shirts available.

But Rush Limbaugh’s EIB Store has the really cool slogans in its line of "Club Gitmo" T-shirts (although I find the apostrophe annoying):

My Mullah went to Club G’itmo and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

I Got My Free Koran and Prayer Rug at G’itmo

Your Tropical Retreat from the Stress of Jihad

What Happens in G’itmo Stays in G’itmo

Caps, polos, and coffee mugs, too.

Considering the poll numbers on Gitmo, there’s quite a market for this stuff.

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Gitmo poll suggests Dem leaders are nuts

Posted by Richard on June 23, 2005

After weeks of accusations of torture and inhumane treatment, increasingly shrill statements from Democrats and left-wing organizations, and a tepid, bumbling, incoherent defense by Republicans, how do the American people feel about the way Gitmo prisoners are treated? Well, it’s not good news for administration critics:

June 22, 2005–A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 20% of Americans believe prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been treated unfairly. Seven-out-of-ten adults believe the prisoners are being treated "better than they deserve" (36%) or "about right" (34%).

Partisan differences concerning prisoner treatment are huge. Only 7% of Republicans believe Guantanamo prisoners are treated unfairly. Thirty percent (30%) of Democrats hold that view along with 22% of those not affiliated with either major party.

Forty-five percent (45%) of Republicans say the prisoners are treated better than they deserve. That view is shared by 28% of Democrats.

Wow. Even among Democrats, "treated better than they deserve" (28%) is as popular (within 3% margin of error) as "treated unfairly" (30%). Even among Democrats, "treated unfairly" is a two-to-one loser.  

The Dems are just lucky that the Republicans are so — I don’t know — timid, stupid, uncertain, incoherent, disorganized, confused, generally uncommitted to their professed ideals and agenda?

If the Republicans were even half-way competent, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Dick Durbin would have just about destroyed the Democratic Party as a viable political force by now.

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My God, that Lileks can write!

Posted by Richard on June 18, 2005

You have to go read James Lilek’s ScreedBlog. Regularly. Even if you don’t give a rat’s ass about the topic or disagree with him violently, just go and marvel at his way with words. Today, some observations about Gitmo and the left:

From Day One the very existence of the place has been a popcorn hull in the tender gums of the hard left. There was just something ineffably sinister about a detention camp. Never mind that the people sent there were “Unlawful combatants,” a phrase that would seem to bestow, well, a lack of adherence to the very notions of international law the Gitmo-detainee advocates hold dear. Never mind that they get their Korans, their arrows on the cell floor pointing to Mecca – and does anyone doubt that the arrows actually point the right way? Never mind that the food must be prepared by cooks who have to incorporate the prisoners’ convictions that the infidel is unclean, and must don gloves to prevent kafir infestation. Never mind any of that. Hoods. Shackles. Poor dears.

A popcorn hull in the tender gums of the hard left — damn, I wish I could write like that!

To some on the hard left, the American soldier comes in two flavors: Grandpa, who died so France could someday take the month of August off to hit the beach, and the Lt. Calley variety who lights a thatch roof with his Zippo, lights his Marlboro with the same, and shoots the fleeing villagers with his Napalm Super Soaker. Vietnam is the template, as ever. Gitmo is a slo-mo My Lai.

Go, James, go!

… In any case, I don’t expect what I say here will change minds; if chaining terrorists to the floor and messing with the thermostat is the Gulag, the new Auschwitz, then your head is protected by a thick cap of beliefs that can only be penetrated by, oh, a nail expelled by a suicide bomber’s dynamite belt.


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