Saturday, February 21, 2009

Alice In Wonderland, Redux

I am certain that I wouldn't trust any security assessment of the chicken coop performed by a fox, so I'm not buying the Pentagon report on Guantanamo Bay and its compliance with the Geneva Conventions referenced by the Los Angeles Times.

The Pentagon has concluded that the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay meets the standards for humane treatment of detainees established in the Geneva Convention accords.

In a report for President Obama on conditions at Guantanamo, the Pentagon recommended some changes -- mainly providing some of the most troublesome inmates with more group recreation and opportunities for prayer -- said an administration official who read the report and spoke on condition of anonymity, citing its confidential nature.

Oh, please. Keeping humans in a cell for 23 out of 24 hours, isolated from all other humans save their jailers, is hardly good evidence of humane treatment, as the rights groups who have been screaming about this hell hole have noted for years.

"We strongly disagree with the government's basic conclusion that the conditions at Guantanamo comport with international standards for humane treatment," said Pardiss Kebriaei, a staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents detainees. "That assessment is difficult to digest when our clients in Camps 5 and 6 are physically and psychologically breaking down because their conditions and isolation have become so unbearable."

For a more personal look at the effects of the captivity on these prisoners, check out Candace Gorman's report after her latest visit with two clients being held there.

Mr. Razak Ali is doing ok, he is the one in camp 4 and therefore his living arrangement is not too difficult. But it has been 7 years since he was taken captive by us and even the good natured Razak has grown weary. Mr. Al-Ghizzawi looks awful. He can no longer read and he had a difficult time understanding my words. Not because of the language problem, he does speak english, but because his brain is not quite working the way it should. Two plus years of solitary confinement has been too much for this man. I will provide more of an update when my notes are cleared.

But everything's hunky dory, according to the Pentagon report, which President Obama requested when he ordered plans be developed to close the Gitmo camp. Now, it seems to me that if I really wanted an honest assessment of conditions at Guantanamo Bay, I would select an outside auditor, one with a knowledge of the rules and laws governing prisoners of war and with a reputation for fairness and honesty. You know, a group such as the International Red Cross or a United Nations agency. I wouldn't have selected the one outfit who has been busy stuffing down any talk of torture or malfeasance by its own guards. This whole episode certainly doesn't bode well for those of us who really are expecting change from the new administration.

But wait! There's more. Back to the LAT article:

Meanwhile, the administration said Friday it was not ready to extend legal rights to the prisoners held at the U.S. air base in Bagram, Afghanistan. An administration lawyer told a judge reviewing the issue that the government, for now, "adheres to the previously articulated position" of the Bush administration.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the prisoners held at Guantanamo had the right to challenge the case against them in a federal court. The justices said these prisoners had been held for years in a prison that is, for all practical purposes, part of U.S. territory.

It was not clear, however, whether this ruling was limited to Guantanamo detainees or could be extended to other long-term prisoners in the war against terrorism.

As the Mad Hatter would say, "Clean cups! Clean cups!"

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home