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Phony Guantanamo Recidivism Numbers?
January 29, 2009 12:45 PM   Subscribe

"The Department of Defense claimed in a dramatic press briefing on January 13 that “61 in all former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight” of terrorism." ...troubling is the Defense Department’s listing of the released Uighurs, who were completely exonerated by an internal military hearing. They’ve done nothing wrong. However, one of them wrote an op-ed column for the New York Times proclaiming that “I was locked up and mistreated for being in the wrong place at the wrong time during America's war in Afghanistan.” He also said in the same editorial: “The United States [is] a country I deeply admire.” That’s “suspected of going back into the battlefield”? Only if you are delusional.

Some more here:
In his dissent in Boumedienne (pdf), Justice Scalia wrote:

"At least 30 of those prisoners hitherto released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to the battlefield."
...The Tipton Three were three British citizens who were captured in Afghanistan, and suspected of being members of al Qaeda, in part because they were thought, wrongly, to be in a videotape of a rally featuring bin Laden. After British intelligence cleared them of that charge (one of the three had in fact been working at a Curry's electronics store in Birmingham when the rally was taking place in Afghanistan), they were released. And after that, they participated in the movie The Road To Guantanamo. Apparently, this counts as "returning to the battlefield".
posted by 445supermag (33 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
A link to a .pdf of the actual Seton Hall report.
posted by 445supermag at 12:54 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is just a terminology dispute. By "returned to the fight" you mean "returned to actively fight against American troops," whereas the Defense Department means "returned to the fight against locking up all brown people everywhere." By definition, if these people weren't locked up, they were out there in the fight.
posted by rusty at 1:01 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Recidivism?

Half the time, they didn't even bother to prove cidivism.
posted by rokusan at 1:03 PM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


The great part is how so many people are simply taking the government's word that these people are dangerous and/or criminals. I had no idea the government was so trustworthy. It's amazing that we haven't dispensed with the judicial branch entirely, after all Guantanamo has revealed it to be totally vestigial.

Seriously, without a trial I don't have any reason to believe that these people were ever anything more than innocent civilians snatched off the street.
posted by mullingitover at 1:04 PM on January 29, 2009


Aww, the Pentagon's getting fussy 'cause we took away their extrajudicial detention camp. Someone give it a trillion dollars to play with - that'll keep it quiet while we eat dinner.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:15 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


We're about to find out a whole lot more about all of this. None of which will likely make Bush look good.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:15 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obligatory "Surely this..."
posted by rusty at 1:22 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


So after watching Frontline about the released Uighurs, that were dropped off in Albania, I was curious, why are they not given green cards and allowed to bring their families over to the States? If they are innocent (and according to everything they are,) would US citizenship not be the least that could be done for them?
posted by Keith Talent at 1:30 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Either the Bush Administration is now admitting in show incompetence locking them up or letting them go.

How does he sleep at night?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:53 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well if they were so sure these people were a threat then it should be proven in a court of law, not in some kangaroo court at Gitmo. If we can't prove they committed a crime we have to let them go, that's how it works. In particular I have seen Pat Buchanan (among others) assert that there are people at Gitmo who we just know are a threat, and we can't let them go.

To that I keep screaming at the top of lungs, DAMMIT! JUST PROVE IT!
posted by IvoShandor at 2:04 PM on January 29, 2009


would US citizenship not be the least that could be done for them?

I was thinking the same thing, Keith. I'm not sure where I read it, but a lot of the inmates at Guantanamo were picked up and sent off for political reasons by the governments who arrested them, and they'll likely face a lot of ugliness if they're forced to go back home. It wouldn't just be just compensation, it might be saving a life.
posted by saysthis at 2:05 PM on January 29, 2009


Assuming they aren't actually a threat. There seem to be non-fake courts handling them now though, so, y'know, that shouldn't be too hard to determine.

Just wanted to say that in case someone accuses me of disregarding Americans' safety or something.
posted by saysthis at 2:07 PM on January 29, 2009


Tried to take away their extrajudicial detention camp.
posted by acro at 2:11 PM on January 29, 2009


that were dropped off in Albania, I was curious, why are they not given green cards and allowed to bring their families over to the States?

I watched this Frontline story with special interest, being Albanian myself, and wondered along the same lines. If it has been determined that these people are innocent, why are the US and other countries reluctant to take them in? If they are concerned with China's reaction, they should not make the Uighur's identities or the arrangements public.

they'll likely face a lot of ugliness if they're forced to go back home.

That's exactly it in the case of these Uighurs. Chinese foreign officials were publicly upset when Albania agreed to take the 5 Uighurs.
posted by preparat at 2:15 PM on January 29, 2009


saysthis: shouldn't be too hard to determine

If there were adequate files, it wouldn't be too hard to determine, but (from Obsidian Wings) there's a problem:

at the time I inherited the Jawad case, Mr. Jawad had been in U.S. custody for approximately five years. It seemed reasonable to expect at the very least that after such a lengthy period of time, all available evidence would have been collected, catalogued, systemized, and evaluated thoroughly -- particularly since the suspect had been imprisoned throughout the entire time the case should have been undergoing preparation.

8. Instead, to the shock of my professional sensibilities, I discovered that the evidence, such as it was, remained scattered throughout an incomprehensible labyrinth of databases primarily under the control of CITF, or strewn throughout the prosecution offices in desk drawers, bookcases packed with vaguely‐labeled plastic containers, or even simply piled on the tops of desks vacated by prosecutors who had departed the Commissions for other assignments. I further discovered that most physical evidence that had been collected had either disappeared or had been stored in locations that no one with any tenure at, or institutional knowledge of, the Commissions could identify with any degree of specificity or certainty. The state of disarray was so extensive that I later learned, as described below, that crucial physical evidence and other documents relevant to both the prosecution and the defense had been tossed into a locker located at Guantanamo and promptly forgotten. . . .

posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:22 PM on January 29, 2009



I suspect that if I were wrongly imprisoned in Gitmo for years and then released I would quite likely become the terroist I was initially falsely accused of being.
posted by notreally at 2:32 PM on January 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


This is a window into how the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies view terrorism. If you define terrorism as protesting against the policies of the United States, or American interests, then of course they were returning to the fight of terrorism.

Journalists writing critical articles about the administration? We can spy on them, they're terrorists, or supporters of terrorists.

We're going to see more and more of this I'm afraid. Anyone attempting to influence the policy of the government is fair game.
posted by formless at 2:34 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


crucial physical evidence and other documents relevant to both the prosecution and the defense had been tossed into a locker located at Guantanamo and promptly forgotten. . . .

That's so...

God. I'd be willing to bet that at least one person at Gitmo is (or was) an actual dangerous person who had committed acts of terrorism. But whatever evidence that might have existed to convict him has effectively been disappeared; even if it couldn't be used to convict him, it could have been used to contextualize other information we may not even have yet.

Or maybe we do have it - who knows? No wonder we can't find bin Laden, since we can't even keep track of case files of Guantanamo detainees.
posted by rtha at 2:35 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suspect that if I were wrongly imprisoned in Gitmo for years and then released I would quite likely become the terroist I was initially falsely accused of being.
posted by notreally at 2:32 PM on January 29 [+] [!]


Wow, you've got built-in cover-your-ass there. Well done.
posted by davejay at 2:57 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


If it has been determined that these people are innocent, why are the US and other countries reluctant to take them in?

It would be like a friends episode where Joey and Chandler tell everyone that some girl is total sex freak and claim they have slept with her. She finds out and then moves into the apartment across the hall because even though Joey and Chandler are jerks she really likes Rachel, Phoebe and Monica and has a not so secret crush on Ross. The show could no longer be called friends after that.

Inviting people you have so badly mistreated into your country would mean that every time you saw them you would remember your country isn't #1 but instead is more like #2 and not in the ordinal ranking sense.
posted by srboisvert at 3:17 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is there anyone with a Ford F150 and truck nuts in the house to provide an opposing viewpoint?
posted by crapmatic at 3:21 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Anyone attempting to influence the policy of the government is fair game."

Except K-Street lobbyists, retired generals working for Raytheon, and all of AIPAC.
posted by orthogonality at 3:22 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is there anyone with a Ford F150 and truck nuts in the house to provide an opposing viewpoint?
posted by crapmatic at 3:21 PM on January 29 [+] [!]

Considering that the first link is to an article in "The New American", a bi-weekly put out by the John Birch Society, I'd say not. Or to paraphase a palmolive comercial: "Right-wing jerks? You're soaking in them!"
posted by 445supermag at 3:30 PM on January 29, 2009


Obligatory "Surely this..."

It's not obligatory, you know. In fact it's better left unsaid, being hackneyed beyond any possibility of worth.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:53 PM on January 29, 2009


"I suspect that if I were wrongly imprisoned in Gitmo for years and then released I would quite likely become the terroist I was initially falsely accused of being."

Exactly why you can't release them, amirite!?
Yeah, I have arguments with folks on the other side of this. No conception of reality. They're dangerous terrorists, ok, charge them and prove it. Oh, we can't do that?
Ok. Kill them. (Plenty of hurf durfing ensues).

I don't get the disconnect. Someone out of the loop long enough to be missed is going to have obsolete information. So why hold them? Just kill them.

The problem of course is that people want to believe there are dangerous men rather than dangerous operations. 'Bad guys' as an actual descriptor rather than just shorthand speak.

In this way, they can then believe there are 'good guys' who are secret men who know the terrible secrets (of space, say - go stand by the stairs and they'll protect you) that you can't know for your own safety.
It's all a load of ass really. There are no secret men, just secret operations or plans, etc. Some guy tells you he was a Seal (intentionally lower case there) guarding area 51 or some such or he's with the TSA and he was part of some secret crew, blah de blah. He's full of b.s.
Or he's buying into the b.s. the folks shoveling this are trying to spread.

They're back on the battlefield, eh? You know that how? Why didn't you kill them there then?
Uh huh. Pull the other one, it plays Jingle Bells.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:01 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


(Note: I advocate arbitrarily killing a wrongfully imprisoned man in the Swiftian sense, if that's not clear)
posted by Smedleyman at 4:02 PM on January 29, 2009


Guantánamo: Replacing legal process with politics, incompetence and torturous injustice.

Mark Denbeaux (and his co-authors) do a lot of good work.


" ... publicly available Government documents demonstrate the following:

More than 24,000 interrogations have been conducted at Guantánamo since 2002.

Every interrogation conducted at Guantánamo was videotaped.
"
posted by phoque at 8:21 PM on January 29, 2009


I suspect that if I were wrongly imprisoned in Gitmo for years and then released I would quite likely become the terroist I was initially falsely accused of being.
posted by notreally at 2:32 PM on January 29 [+] [!]
I suspect that if I were wrongly imprisoned in Gitmo for years I would then become Oldboy.
posted by jtron at 9:06 PM on January 29, 2009


Yeah, I have arguments with folks on the other side of this. No conception of reality. They're dangerous terrorists, ok, charge them and prove it. Oh, we can't do that?
Ok. Kill them. (Plenty of hurf durfing ensues).


Oh man, I'm definitely adding that last line next time.
posted by odinsdream at 9:42 PM on January 29, 2009


Every interrogation conducted at Guantánamo was videotaped."

How many of those videos were "lost"?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:50 AM on January 30, 2009


You know what is the hilarious thing about the "the detainees are too dangerous to let go" argument? It's like a city being swept away by a flood is having a long serious discussion about whether or not they can afford to dump a single bucket of water into the river, or whether that might do them in.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:27 AM on January 30, 2009


And another thing that America seems to have forgotten - "being dangerous" is not a crime. That is the stuff of Orwell's fevered imagination. I am dangerous. Everyone who thinks for themselves is 'dangerous'. If we are now imprisoning people because they are dangerous, then our liberty is hanging by a thread.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:36 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cheney warns of new attacks

Cheney Sets Obama Up
posted by homunculus at 11:23 AM on February 4, 2009


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