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Time Report Fuels Guantanamo Criticism

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:11 pm

A new storm is building around Gitmo, and the winds this time around are blowing from a pressure system built on a report in Time of a detainee interrogation log.

The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay drew fresh criticism Sunday following a Time magazine report on a logbook tracing the treatment of a detainee who officials believe was intended to take part in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Time’s report on the treatment received by Mohammed al-Qahtani prompted a quick defense from the Pentagon along with outrage from several members of Congress.

Al-Qahtani was denied entry to the United States by an immigration officer in August 2001 and later captured in Afghanistan and sent to the detention camp at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The 84-page logbook obtained by Time and authenticated by Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita is the “kind of document that was never meant to leave Gitmo,” a senior Pentagon official told the magazine.

According to the logbook, which covers al-Qahtani’s interrogations from November 2002 to January 2003 [emphasis added], the Time article reports that daily interviews began at 4 a.m. and sometimes continued until midnight.

Remember those dates, folks.

The interrogation techniques included refusing al-Qahtani a bathroom break and forcing him to urinate in his pants.

“It’s not appropriate,” said Sen. Chuck Hagel on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “It’s not at all within the standards of who we are as a civilized people, what our laws are.

“If in fact we are treating prisoners this way, it’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous and very dumb and very shortsighted,” the Nebraska Republican said.

“This is not how you win the people of the world over to our side, especially the Muslim world.”

During the period covered by the logbook, Time reported, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved 16 additional interrogation techniques for use on certain detainees.

Afterward, interrogators began their sessions with al-Qahtani at midnight and awakened him with dripping water or Christina Aguilera music if he dozed off, the magazine article reported.

Okay, I’ll grant that Christina Aguilera music may be a tad much.

The magazine said the techniques approved by Rumsfeld included “standing for prolonged periods, isolation for as long as 30 days, removal of clothing, forced shaving of facial hair” and hanging “pictures of scantily clad women around his neck.”

Hagel said such treatment should offend the sensibilities of “any straight-thinking American, any straight-thinking citizen of the world.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said on the same program that the treatment outlined in the article presents “a kind of ludicrous view of the United States.”

“I don’t know what tree we’re barking up,” she said. “It is a terrible mistake.”

“I don’t know why we didn’t learn from Bagram,” she added, referring to a U.S. base in Afghanistan. “I don’t know why we didn’t learn from Abu Ghraib [prison in Iraq], but here we are in Guantanamo with many of the same things surfacing.”

I said pay attention to the dates. That is something seemingly beyond Feinstein’s capabilities. Apparently, by the senator’s reasoning, the discovery of the Abu Ghraib abuses in late 2003 and their resulting media frenzy in April 2004 should have caused these Gitmo interrogation tactics to cease in late 2001 and early 2002. That, my dear senator, is an impossibility without a functioning flux capacitor. Please be so kind as to check your facts, senator, before denouncing our efforts before the world.

Hagel raised questions about the quality of leadership that would allow such things to happen, drawing a comparison to his own experience fighting in Vietnam.

“We’ve been reassured for the last two years it’s not happening when in fact it is happening,” he said.

Again, check the dates.

Maybe, somewhere in this story, we can find a voice of reason.

Others, however, said they did not see the treatment as abuse.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, defended the Guantanamo facility and flatly rejected suggestions that prisoners are mistreated.

“I think that’s accepting a falsehood and giving to the American people that somehow we don’t treat prisoners right,” said Hunter, a Republican from California.

Hunter cited a menu of food served to prisoners Sunday — including oven-fried chicken, rice pilaf, fruit and pita bread — as a sign that they are treated well.

“These are the people who tried to kill us,” he said. “It includes the guy — the 20th hijacker, that was Mr. Qahtani who was caught coming in — who didn’t make it to the planes that drove into New York,” Hunter said following an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

Congressman Hunter, how about a money shot?

Earlier on the program, Hunter said the “legend” of Guantanamo Bay is “different than the fact” and repeatedly cited the menu.

“Here you have a guy who was on his way to kill 5,000 Americans,” he said. “And we have people complaining because he had a dog bark at him in Guantanamo.”

Keep in mind the story of the actual detainee in question.

Nineteen hijackers commandeered four commercial airliners on September 11, 2001, piloting two into the World Trade Towers and one into the Pentagon. Another, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed in a Pennsylvania field. The death toll from the attacks was just under 3,000.

All the planes were hijacked by five men except Flight 93, which was commandeered by four. Some officials have speculated that al-Qahtani might have been the missing hijacker on Flight 93.

According to the Time article, lead hijacker Mohammed Atta was waiting for al-Qahtani outside the airport in Orlando, Florida, when he was detained by an immigration officer a month before the attacks.

In the CNN piece’s “Related” links, there’s a brief collection of extracts from the interrogation log in question. Please allow me to extract from the extracts.

13 December 2002
: Interrogators began telling detainee how ungrateful and grumpy he was. In order to escalate the detainee’s emotions, a mask was made from an MRE box with a smily face on it and placed on the detainee’s head for a few moments. A latex glove was inflated and labeled the “sissy slap” glove. The glove was touched to the detainee’s face periodically after explaining the terminology to him. The mask was placed back on the detainee’s head. While wearing the mask, the team began dance instruction with the detainee. The detainee became agitated and began shouting.

20 December 2002
Detainee offered water—refused. Corpsman changed ankle bandages to prevent chafing. Interrogater began by reminding the detainee about the lessons in respect and how the detainee had disrespected the interrogators. Told detainee that a dog is held in higher esteem because dogs know right from wrong and know how to protect innocent people from bad people. Began teaching the detainee lessons such as stay, come, and bark to elevate his social status up to that of a dog. Detainee became very agitated.

That is as bad as the extracts get — a smily-face mask, a “sissy slap” glove, and dog training. Add to that repeated offers of food and water, as well as attention to bandages to prevent chafing.

I can only actually hope that there is far worse in the unextracted log. No, I don’t hope for abuses and violations. I do, however, hope that it takes far more than the treatment detailed in the story and linked extracts, treatment I would have laughed at as a fraternity pledge, to stir the need in the media to feed our enemy’s propaganda. I doubt anybody involved with the publishing of this story does not believe we are dealing with an actual terrorist here, and yet, this story and it’s “tortures” will echo.

Close Gitmo — a detainee’s face was touched with an inflated latex glove, condemning him as a sissy! Shut it down! Move the sissies!

This is beyond a lost sense of perspective. The utter recklessness and disregard for our security efforts shown by our media is simply disgusting.

One response to “Time Report Fuels Guantanamo Criticism”

  1. Hammertime says:

    Tracked back here. Too lazy to use the Wizbang trackbacker.

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