August 31, 2011
If you are told that everyone in Guantanamo Bay’s U.S. prison is the same as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, read this story:
It is a strange population, the 171 men still left at Guantánamo. There is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and another two dozen hardened militants, who will never be released. This class of prisoner represents a small minority of the population. Then there are the others — about a hundred men, mostly Yemeni, who have been cleared to leave but have no place to go, as no country will take them. And there are another thirty-five or so like Noor. They are nameless, low-level operatives, or hapless men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are the detritus of a decade-long war.
They can’t simply be released. That would be admitting that they aren’t as bad as the government once said they were. And most can’t be tried, either, because much of the evidence against them — if there is any — is too fraught, as it was gotten by torture, and would never have even been considered to be evidence in any American judicial proceeding before September 11, 2001. And no serious person would have ever argued for it as such.
June 22, 2011
While the number held at Guantánamo is currently estimated to be about 170, the total imprisoned at Bagram is about 1,700. The two prisons have been moving in opposite directions in terms of their detainee numbers, with Guantánamo shrinking from a high of more than 700 to its present count.
Bagram, though, has been growing in recent years. Its detainee total has tripled in size since 2008, with more than 1,300 suspects arrested and imprisoned in 2010 alone.
Another distinction between the two facilities is that detainees at the Afghanistan prison have fewer rights than their counterparts at Guantánamo.
Guantanamo, also know as “Gitmo”, grabbed the national spotlight when it came time to shine light on how we have treated detained terror suspects. It could be that Gitmo was much closer than Bagram (located in Afghanistan) so in essence Bagram was even more out of sight and mind.
August 14, 2010
Harpers tells of Osama Bin Laden’s cook who has “sentenced” to 15 years in prison at Guantanamo Bay:
The cases of al-Qosi and child warrior Omar Khadr, now underway, highlight America’s current prosecutorial dilemma. Any prosecutor worth his salt would want to start the process just as Justice Jackson did at the end of World War II: with high-profile targets against whom powerful evidence has been assembled. But nine years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri remain at large. Thus the world is shown not the mastermind of a heinous crime but a short-order cook and a 15-year-old child who offers credible evidence that he was tortured in U.S. custody. The spectacle is so pathetic that we can understand why those running it want to turn to carnival tricks to conceal the unseemly reality.
I appreciate what Scott Horton says, especially since I just watched Nuremberg and enjoyed all three hours of it. It should be noted that even though al-Qosi was merely bin Laden’s cook, he had to have some inside information and be somewhat valuable to bin Laden to be in his inner circle. Horton makes a good point as he refer’s to Justice Jackson: Jackson mulled over what to do with the city of Nuremberg and it’s ecumenical role in the Holocaust. He said that he preferred going after 22 men and putting together 22 solid cases based off of the evidence. I don’t think we can simply discredit this because of his role as a cook but it is disheartening that Osama is still out free. Remember, we still haven’t given up.