Questionable detainees |

Questionable detainees

According to the Bush Administration, prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are “hardened terrorists.” However, according to detainee attorney Mark Denbeaux, the government’s own records show that most detainees are neither terrorists, nor even combatants: Only 8 percent are characterized as al-Qaida; 68 percent have no “definitive” affiliation with either al-Qaida or Taliban; 90 percent are detained for mere “association” with groups the U.S. “claims” are (unidentified) terrorist organizations; and only 5 percent were captured by U.S forces; 86 percent were turned over through bounties paid by the U.S.

When detainees appear before military tribunals, the government’s evidence remains classified, unavailable to the defendant. These detainees – who’ve been tortured according to the U.N. Human Rights Commission – are presumed guilty.

U.S. courts have convicted foreign officials for torturing dissidents in other countries. Yet when the U.S. arrested, without warrant, Maher Arar (Canadian businessman, sent by the U.S. to Syria where tortured, then released for lack of evidence), the U.S. court dismissed Arar’s complaint, claiming that to hold U.S. officials accountable would “interfere with policy making … which might embarrass the U.S. government.”

Still trust the Bush Administration? Still proud to be an American?

Robert Lobell

Nevada City

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