Thursday, February 09, 2006

Innocent, wrongly siezed and incarcerated in Gitmo

“They are among the most dangerous, best-trained vicious killers on the face of the earth. They are not POW’s.” These are the words of Donald Rumsfeld. And like so many of the his words, they contain little in the way of truth. As we are continually finding out, many of the "enemy combatants" were neither enemies nor in combat against anyone. This story from the National Journal looks at the issue:

... [I]f proximity implies culpability, how do you justify the detention of so many others in Cuba who were arrested far from any Afghanistan front? How about the aid worker sleeping at home in Karachi, Pakistan? How about the men arrested in Sarajevo and sent by the Americans to Guantanamo even though they were clutching their exoneration-from-terrorism papers issued by the judge who had reviewed their cases? How about miscellaneous Arabs -- some fighters, some not -- who together with other refugees passed through Afghanistan's borders as war arrived? How about two British Muslims arrested as they stepped off a plane in Gambia?... The law of war has come far in a century of genocides and massacres and nuclear bombs. But has it come so far that when Al Qaeda made the entire world a battlefield, all of the world's population fell under the law of war?

As the U.S. government started putting its cards on the table, explaining why the men described above, and others like them, were still behind bars, the habeas lawyers started to ponder more deeply what happens to justice -- even in a wartime setting -- when you strip away due process and the presumption of innocence.

The government told the lawyers that their clients were all well-trained liars. But as the lawyers read the files, they started to wonder whether they were facing an impossible paradox: After all, if a well-trained liar looks like an innocent man, what does an innocent man look like, if not a well-trained liar?

Detainee 032

Back before everything happened, before the world came unhinged, Detainee 032 was a boy of 16 living in Yemen with his mother, his father, his four sisters, and his five brothers. His name was Farouq Ali Ahmed, and he studied Islamic law in high school.

One day, the boy made a solemn vow before God: If it was God's will that Farouq commit the Koran to memory, more than 6,000 verses in all, he would spend a year, before he went off to college, teaching the holy texts, in Afghanistan. A man who did this thing, he'd been told, would be rewarded by God.

Such was Allah's will that in the spring of 2001, Farouq, then 17, set off for Afghanistan. He took a little room in a big house in Kabul and began teaching 7- and 8-year-olds, gathering four or five of them together and reciting Allah's words until the children had them memorized. It wasn't easy work. The Koran is always taught in Farouq's native language, Arabic, which the Afghan children didn't understand, and Farouq didn't speak their language. But he had made an oath to Allah. After a few months, he moved to the city of Khost, where he continued to teach out of a mosque until the Taliban fell and the cities were no longer safe for Arabs. One day, his host told him that if he stayed any longer, his life would be in danger. He had left his passport in Kabul for safekeeping, but he was told there was no time to get it back. He was taken to Pakistan, where Afghans have long sought haven from their never-ending wars.

Once across the border, Farouq encountered the Pakistani military. "One of the soldiers pointed a weapon toward me," Farouq told his Combatant Status Review Tribunal. The Defense Department established the tribunals after the Supreme Court ruled that the detainees could challenge their imprisonment. "The Pakistani officer took me and said, don't be mad at him, we are Muslim, we will take care of you. He asked me about my parents. He said, you are a kid, you are going to the Yemen Embassy, and you shouldn't have any problems getting back to Yemen. After that, they took me to a jail, and there were lots of people. They put handcuffs on our hands."

Farouq spent time in two Pakistani prisons before the government handed him over to American forces in Afghanistan. As a foreigner without a passport, he met the U.S. criteria for Guatanamo, and he was quickly whisked onto a plane headed for the sunny Caribbean jail that most military people refer to simply as "The Bay." In the chaos of post-9/11 Afghanistan, military leaders say, there wasn't time for much consideration of anomalies like Farouq. The United States was pulling Arabs, Afghans, Pakistanis, Chinese into detention centers, some tens of thousands in all. U.S. intelligence agents weren't able to debrief every prisoner; just keeping them secure was difficult, as Afghans gathered outside temporary holding facilities and clamored for blood. They had never much liked the foreigners, whose idea of Islamic law was sometimes harsher than even the Taliban's.

Regarding the single Guantanamo detanee who claimed Farouq was involved with al Qaeda:

By late November 2002, an FBI agent wrote, Detainee 063, Mohamed al-Kahtani, was "evidencing behavior consistent with extreme psychological trauma (talking to nonexistent people, reporting hearing voices, cowering in a corner of his cell covered with a sheet for hours on end.)"

Think about it. Whether you know something or not, whether you did something or not, you know what the interrogators want you to say. You know what another has said about you, because that is the information being presented to you. Was it the truth? Was it a lie? Did you simply have the bad luck to be the mug shot under a finger when another inmate wanted to end the endless questions?

You've been told that the truth will set you free, but while interrogators come and go, you don't know anyone from your home country who has been released. Say one thing, and you might have a cigarette and a night's sleep. Say nothing, and you might spend the night shackled to the floor with Metallica ringing in your ears. Stay neutral, and it's more endless days of monotony, washing on command, exercising on command, eating on command, losing your mattress and blanket if you argue with the men in command.

What would you do?


Blogger None333333 said...

I'm not all that worried about Guantanamo detainees. I'm worried about all the terrorists running amok blowing up innocent Iraqis, aid workers and soldiers.

Farouq will get through his dilemma; he will look back on the experience one day and realize it made him a stronger person. As a man of faith, he understands he must undergo trials and tribulations.

Do you have any idea how many Christians are tortured, detained and imprisoned just for standing up for their faith? Just check out

February 11, 2006 9:35 am  
Blogger _H_ said...

Apostolic Bunny Lover

I'm not all that worried about Guantanamo detainees.

Ah another pseudo christian. We often get visits from good friendly folk like you. You decided not to join the real Christians on the march to show sympathy with the many innocents being held at Guantanamo then ? There is clearly Nothing to hide or anything unchristian going on is there. It is not like those we consider most worthy in the pursuit of the Protection of human rights and dignity are concerned about anything going on in such a concentration camp.

I'm worried about all the terrorists running amok blowing up innocent Iraqis, aid workers and soldiers.

Did you fail to notice that there was no 'terrorists' in Iraq until George Bush said we are murdering these people so they we don't have to get any Americans killed . Ooops sorry he said 'we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them at home.' Still it is the same thing I suppose.

Farouq will get through his dilemma; he will look back on the experience one day and realize it made him a stronger person. As a man of faith, he understands he must undergo trials and tribulations.

How pathetic. How about Jill Carroll will get through her dilemma , she will look back on the experience one day and realise it made her a stronger person , as a woman of faith she understands she must undergo trials and tribulations.

Your clearly an Islamophobic trying to disguise yourself as a Christian. A common trait amongst American extreme right wing 'Christians' who ironically seem to lack all of the qualities that would define someone as a person of the Christian faith anywhere else on the planet in particular my own country (The United Kingdom.)

The rules for this site clearly state that ANY hate speech is not allowed . You value one human life as being less worthy or less entitled to justice than another human life. Once upon time those people being judged less worthy of human dignity were Women and Black people.

Now people have realised that such thoughts are barbaric and neanderthal. So they express their perceived superiority through xenophobia and a hatred of 1 billion Muslims of which 99 percent are peaceful , kind and respectful, such as those protesting in London Today.

If you decide to return then I expect you were just having one of those unchristian days and you really are true to your faith and respect all human life as being equally worthy. That like us you deplore all acts of terrorism whether they are the sickening attack on the United states on Sept 11th 2001 or the shocking attack on the Innocent woman and children of Pakistan by the CIA last month and that you deeply disapprove of the harboring of wanted terrorists by your own country.

Religious extremism is extremely dangerous in all its forms and your multitude of comments across this site today clearly puts you in the category or such an extremist. If you wish to return please ensure you place equal value on the rights of all human beings that you are blessed to share this planet with.

February 11, 2006 9:03 pm  
Blogger DJEB said...

Bunny, nothing you have ever written on this site would make me think for an instant that you are worried about the illegal and immoral incarceration of innocent men and boys. As for your (false) concern for innocent Iraqis, the outcome was predicted before the war, so that should logically make you anti-war. But with your penchant for informal fallacies, I find your stance explainable, if reprehensible.

"Farouq will get through his dilemma; he will look back on the experience one day and realize it made him a stronger person. As a man of faith, he understands he must undergo trials and tribulations."

Then, naturally, you desire to be illegally incarcerated, held without charge and mistreated so that one day you can become "a stronger person." After all, as a (false) woman of faith, you understand that you "must undergo trials and tribulations." Honestly, this is the most insidious of apologetics I could possibly imagine for his illegal internment. We both know you would never accept this. In other words, your position is totally hypocritical.

"Do you have any idea how many Christians are tortured, detained and imprisoned just for standing up for their faith?"

No. First it is irrelevant as it is a tu quoque ad hominem. Wrongdoing by others does not excuse wrongdoing by you.

Second, your link claims there are hundreds of people being detained for being Christian but not only can it not be bothered to name one single person, it cannot be bothered to name one single country doing this. In other words, it reeks of total bullshit. It mentions a case in which some Christians broke the law, but that is not being "imprisoned just for standing up for their faith". Being Christian in Indonesia is not illegal as this site will quickly show if you click "Indonesian," "All Denominations" then "Begin Search."

But that second point is moot, as I said. The point is irrelevant (tu quoque ad hominem).

Might I suggest less time in church and more time studying elementary logic?

February 12, 2006 2:43 am  
Blogger None333333 said...

I've heard it all before. The Latin flourishes and condescending tone don't phase me a bit. Good luck w/your cause. I just don't share your perspective.

February 12, 2006 6:19 am  
Blogger DJEB said...

You've heard before that you make elementary errors in logic but still haven't done anything to correct it? You don't have a perspective, you have a train wreak of thought.

And if you don't like my tone, don't claim on the one hand that prison is good for Muslims but is bad for Christians.

February 12, 2006 11:11 am  
Blogger None333333 said...

Snore (I've heard it all before...typical tactics...not very original :)

What strikes me the most about this blog is that your selection of issues to 'care about' seems to revolve around an overwhelming hatred of George Bush, America and the War. You are using the victimization of the people whose stories you report to fuel this hatred. There is nothing original, creative or caring about this mentality. The bluntness of my posts is directed more toward this mentality than the victimized parties in question.

Thanks for giving me the space to share my opinions.

February 13, 2006 4:17 pm  
Blogger DJEB said...

Opinion, yes. That is all we've managed to get. I'm not surprised that you've heard that before.

And your opinion of this site does not surprise me either. Caring about people hurt by an unnecessary war of aggression is "using... vicitimization"? The problem with what we do here is that we dare to offer a dissenting position. That is what is unacceptable. And we offer enough unique information that you now know who Islam Karimov is (and wait on baited breath for you to petition your government to stop supporting the monster). But hatred of GW? We would have to believe in some kind of fairy tale world that Bush ruined by becoming president for that to be true. We would also believe that the man, contrary to reports, actually takes a deep interest in his work. Hatred? My life is too short and my health too precious to waste it on hatred of anything other than brussel sprouts.

February 13, 2006 11:42 pm  

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