Teenage Detainees at Gitmo
June 13, 2005 9:55 AM   Subscribe

"One lawyer said that his client... has told him that he was beaten regularly in his early days at Guantánamo, hanged by his wrists for hours at a time and that an interrogator pressed a burning cigarette into his arm." The age of this "client" when he was detained? 14 years old. The reply of the camp's public affairs officer: "They don't come with birth certificates."
posted by digaman (36 comments total)
We are a sick, sick society when the vast majority of us are able to ignore this news and others of us are able to defend this action.
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:13 AM on June 13, 2005

I don't know about ignore, this is the first I've heard of it though its not overly surprising that its happened and is happening.

Our military has already been shown to have little regard for POW's. Why wouldn't they just extend that callousness to children as well? It doesn't justify it in any way but I can't say that I'm surprised.

Its wrong and sick, yes. But I'm not ignoring the news and I'm not defending those who committed the crimes against these children.
posted by fenriq at 10:19 AM on June 13, 2005

The reply of the camp's public affairs officer:

nonsense. even cabbage patch terrorists come with birth certificates.
posted by quonsar at 10:22 AM on June 13, 2005

fenriq : IIRC, when the original news "broke" about the abuse photos, it was reported by some that the Govt. had held some photos back because they included photos of women and children being abused...
posted by kaemaril at 10:38 AM on June 13, 2005

Okay, fenriq, you are not ignoring the news but plenty of people have been. Even the media ignores it to a great extent. Where's the (mainstream) outrage???
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:39 AM on June 13, 2005

Least we know that if you aren't willing to discipline your children, the United States of America will do it for you.

I'm also willing to bet this will be yet another non-story. Most people in America don't seems to give enough of a fuck to do much of anything when the latest 'outrage of the week' story breaks. I think America has shown it is more than willing to put up with the immoral behavior of it's leaders.
posted by chunking express at 10:45 AM on June 13, 2005

Who cares about this? Where's my Michael Jackson verdict? Where's my hot Aruba abductee porn? As an American, I demand news that entertains me.
posted by wakko at 10:48 AM on June 13, 2005

chunking, feel free to send a check on your winning bet directly to the GOP, marked "self-fulfilling prophecy." In other words, if you don't care about assembling evidence about the crimes of this administration, fine -- crank up the Fox News, baby, or whatever floats your boat. And if you're in favor of torturing 14-year-old "terrorists" at Gitmo, I can see why you'd be nervous about the New York Times covering the story.

But claiming to be concerned about these issues enough to denounce the administration's behavior as "immoral," while rushing to dismiss a link to the evidence as a "non-story," seems counterproductive, to say the least. If you don't care, go post about things you care about. I care, however, and so do others. I don't mind being in a very vocal minority -- it's the American way. As somebody who works in media myself, I know how important it is to share this information.
posted by digaman at 11:04 AM on June 13, 2005

I'd bet some nice color prints would get the American public's attention reeeeal fast.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:07 AM on June 13, 2005

From the article MLIS posted:

"I told them, 'I don't know these people, and I am too young to give anything to anyone without my father's authority'." After two weeks, Naqibullah said, he was asked whether he had any objection to being taken to "another place".

"I said, 'What can I do? You will take me wherever you want to'." That night, bound, blindfolded and fitted into orange overalls, he was loaded on to a cargo plane and flown non-stop to Cuba. Naqibullah's first 10 days in Guantanamo were the worst of his life, he said. He was put in a tiny cell with a single slit-window as his interrogation continued.


Good to hear that after 10 days of solitary confinement and interrogation, things got easier for that 13-year-old detainee, MLIS.
posted by digaman at 11:08 AM on June 13, 2005

The age of this "client" when he was detained?

I don't understand the quotes. Was the detainee not actually the lawyer's client?
posted by jonson at 11:12 AM on June 13, 2005

No, he was. The quotes were unnecessary.
posted by digaman at 11:31 AM on June 13, 2005

I think the American people would be alot more disturbed by this news if the 14 year old boy was a nearing 18 year old pretty white girl from Alabama.

There should be a huge outrage over this in the news and across the world. That there isn't says volumes about the media and society at large.
posted by fenriq at 12:03 PM on June 13, 2005

Well, let's be patient. I'm grateful it appeared in the Times.
posted by digaman at 12:14 PM on June 13, 2005

Torture has been discussed as a tool. For the life of me, I can't see how people could possibly still consider it okay.

Awhile back, some of us decided to do something about educating the pastors of churches by sending them a copy of The New York Time's article about the torture/death that occurred at Bagram Detention facility in Afghanistan. I don't know what kind of response the rest of you got, but I pretty much got bupkes.

I faxed and/or emailed a copy to most of the churches in my area. The only response I got was from a couple who told me not to contact them again because they weren't interested and one Methodist pastor who said that he would have to check with his higher-ups to see what their views were.

Am I demoralized? Hell, yeah!
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:22 PM on June 13, 2005

Oh, just keep at it, Bob. I'm not sure what sort of radical response you expected from Methodist pastors -- "Out of the pulpits and into the streets!!!" [grin] -- but failure to respond to you directly about a faxed Times article doesn't mean that you didn't get anyone to think.
posted by digaman at 12:27 PM on June 13, 2005

I'm not sure what sort of radical response you expected from Methodist pastors -- "Out of the pulpits and into the streets!!!"

posted by leftcoastbob at 12:37 PM on June 13, 2005

Let's stop the whimpering

There are calls for the United States, with all this worldwide publicity, to simply shut [Guantanamo] down.
A terrible idea. One does not run and hide simply because allegations have been made. If the charges are unverified allegations, as they overwhelmingly are in this case, then they need to be challenged. The United States ought to say what it has done and what it has not done, and not simply surrender to rumor.
If the prisoners had to have reading material, I would have given them the book "Portraits 9/11/01" — vignettes of the lives of those massacred Sept. 11.

the (unfortunately named) mr. Krauthammer, of course, is not a nut shunned by civilized society who speaks only at John Birch Society dinners, nor he simply rants on LGF from a damp basement with a DSL connection. he is a syndicated columnist (appearing, among many other papers, in that famous bastion of the "liberal" "media", the Washington Post) whose business, post- 9/11, is thriving. his opinions do indeed belong to the American mainstream.

in its crudeness and savagery, Krauthammer's theory holds a lot of water. most Americans don't care about American torture rooms and American rape rooms in American gulags prisons -- either far from home or in that odd Caribbean legal no-man's-land. after all, didn't the the infidels bring down the WTC? hence, revenge is being delivered.

November 2004 should have made that clear -- not even the Abu Ghraib images have made a dent in America's indifference to the issue of tortured foreigner dark-skinned men and women. on the other hand, 9/11 seems to resonate quite a bit. even if, of course, it was a Saudi-funded and Pakistani-organized operation, not an Iraqi one.

it's cool to point these outrages out on MeFi, of course. but for all practical purposes it's useless -- like complaining that too few people go to the Opera or read Callimachus. Opera -- like, say, ancient Greek poetry -- is a niche market. outrage for American torturers is a niche phenomenon, too. and Republicans are laughing all the way to complete ownership of the US government.
posted by matteo at 12:37 PM on June 13, 2005

Those who most urgently advocate that we shut down Guantanamo probably don't agree with our policy anyway," the vice president said after presenting the Gerald R. Ford Foundation journalism awards at the National Press Club.

Given all the facts, he said, "Our policy is the correct one."

And remember folks, Mullah Dobson approves of corporal punishment!
posted by nofundy at 1:09 PM on June 13, 2005

it's cool to point these outrages out on MeFi, of course. but for all practical purposes it's useless

matteo, I'm a journalist. I don't mind if I'm primarily talking to other journalists with a post like this -- I often find story ideas or crucial information on the Web, so for a journalist, keeping up the shared pool of knowledge is very useful indeed. You posted recently at length about the civil rights movement. That started out as a "niche phenomenon" too.
posted by digaman at 1:27 PM on June 13, 2005

Wait, wait... the Michael Jackson verdict is about to be announced.
posted by VulcanMike at 1:30 PM on June 13, 2005

here you go wakko
posted by Smedleyman at 1:53 PM on June 13, 2005

I'm with you digaman, but it's more than just ignoring it. It's selective reality. Check out LGF.
Search results for torture (239 matches)
Search results for Downing Street Memo (0 matches)

But the "you just don't lead them so much" crowd aside I'm appalled that the bulk of the bell curvers who facilitate this are having anything to do with it. In every group you have the paper shufflers and the guys flying the cargo, etc, etc. - either they don't know or don't want to know really badly.
It has to become more profitable (in the general sense) to know and to tell, and considering the feces hurled at Deep Throat recently it doesn't look like truth and honor are very valuable right now.

But I'd futher back digaman's comments by saying we can make it profitable by supporting people who do value these things.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:04 PM on June 13, 2005

"here you go wakko
Never mind - deleted. (It's going to be not guilty anyway. I mean, c'mon.)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:19 PM on June 13, 2005

Everybody join hands with you neighbor and let's all sing -

I'm proud to be an American....!!!!
posted by damnitkage at 3:57 PM on June 13, 2005

Good to hear that after 10 days of solitary confinement and interrogation, things got easier for that 13-year-old detainee, MLIS.

digaman: Yes, it is good to hear. The children never should have been sent to Gitmo & never should have been in solitary. Still, the article tells me that the military personnel working with those children treated them with respect and dignity and tried to make the best of a horrible situation for them.

The quote you selected tells only part of the story. The author of the article does note:

An American jail on foreign soil, Guantanamo was designed, according to Amnesty International, to deny prisoners "many of their most basic rights", which in America would include special provision for the "speedy trial" of juveniles.

He also writes:

During his 14-month stay, he went to the beach only a couple of times - a shame, as he loved to snorkel.

"[the boys] spent a typical day watching movies, going to class and playing football. He was fascinated to learn about the solar system, and now enjoys reciting the names of the planets, starting with Earth."

"The boys played football every day, and sometimes basketball and volleyball with their guards. Asadullah said his particular friends were called Special Sergeant M and Private O - their real names were kept from him. Officially, he was called Prisoner 912. 'But my friends called me Asadullah, which made me happy.' "

"Taking this first letter, written on Red Cross notepaper, from his pocket, he now reads it aloud. 'My greetings to beloved family, to my beloved father, to my beloved uncles, to my beloved cousins, to my beloved brothers. I am in good health and happy. I am in Cuba, in a special room, but it is not like a jail. Don't worry about me. I am learning English, Pashto and Arabic.' "

Anyway, the article is a solid piece of reporting and deserves to be mentioned in a discussion about children at Gitmo.
posted by mlis at 4:07 PM on June 13, 2005

Becoming Evil
posted by troutfishing at 8:20 PM on June 13, 2005

MLIS quotes the official account "The boys played football every day, and sometimes basketball and volleyball with their guards. Asadullah said his particular friends were called Special Sergeant M and Private O - their real names were kept from him. Officially, he was called Prisoner 912. 'But my friends called me Asadullah, which made me happy.' "
   For Kiev and for all of Ukraine, 1942 was the year of deportation into bondage.
[. . . .]
   On posters, in newspapers and in official orders Germany was never termed anything but "beautiful." Photos were published showing the lives of Ukrainians in beautiful Germany. There they were, distinguished in their suits and hats, flourishing canes, going to restaurants, cabarets and the movies after work; here was a young fellow buying flowers in a German flower shop for his sweetheart; and there was his master's wife, affectionately and solicitously mending his shirt.

   Here is an except from the article entitled, "Reflections on the Reichmarschall's [Goering's] Speech":
   With the exceptions of a few ridiculous letters from spoiled mama's boys, the Ukraine is receiving an enormous number of letters in which our workers express contentment. These are our own Ukrainians, who realize that the war has affected Germany's food supplies. These are our own Ukrainians, who do not look only into their own dinner pails. . . .

   At home in the Ukraine we may often hear complaints that Adolf Hitler is taking people away to work in Germany. But to secure final victory, Germany is not demanding any greater sacrifice from the Ukrainian people than the Germans themselves are making on a far, far greater scale.

   And so, brothers, I should like to talk to you quote honestly and frankly. I'm ashamed of all those who rail at Germany. when I read the Reichmarschall's speech I was more ashamed than I had ever been in my whole life.
Here are some passages from girls' letters which were cut out by censors and later discovered in German files:
   . . . If anyone lagged, paused or moved to one side, the police opened fire. The father of two children jumped off the moving train on the way from Kiev. The Polizei stopped the train, overtook the fleeing man, shot him in the back and killed him. we were taken to the toilet under armed guard, and anyone who tried to escape was shot.

   We were kept in the bath house until three in the afternoon. I stood there shivering, and toward the end almost fainted. The men and women bathed together in the bath house. I was burning with embarrassment. Germans walked up to the naked girls, felt their breasts and hit them in sensitive parts. anyone who cared could come in and humiliate us. we are slaves, and they can do what they like with us. There is no food. Nor is there any hope of ever coming home.

From Babi Yar, a memoir of the German occupation of Kiev during the Second World war, by Anatoly Kuznetsov, translated by Jacob Guralsky (copyright 1966, 1967, The Dial Press), pages 197-199
posted by orthogonality at 9:58 PM on June 13, 2005

Support our torturers
posted by acrobat at 3:10 AM on June 14, 2005

ortho: Thank you for the bad faith spin on my post. You should know better than that. I have read your posts concerning Japanese atrocities during WW II so I know you know the real thing.

It is not the official account I quote from. It is an article from the UK Guardian in which the reporter tracked down the two children in Afghanistan and interviewed them.

It is a gross distortion of history that trivializes the Holocaust to link to a study of Mauthausen as another poster does. Gitmo = Mauthausen? Godwin.
posted by mlis at 5:38 AM on June 14, 2005

...discussion about children at Gitmo

MLIS, how does that line alone not make you feel rage about the whole situation? Because when you strip every down (including the Guardian article and assorted negative or positive stories) you still come down to this: Children being held at a Concentration Camp

note: I am NOT making a reference to Nazi Death camps here
posted by smcniven at 6:27 AM on June 14, 2005

The fact that this debate is hinging on whether or not the statement that America is actually running a Nazi-style torture camp, or if that is a Godwinian overstatement, should give even Bushites pause. But it won't.

posted by digaman at 9:20 AM on June 14, 2005

sorry, delete the words "the statement that"
posted by digaman at 9:22 AM on June 14, 2005

If someone took my kids away I'd be raising as much hell as I could. The blatently obvious (yet somehow rationalizable) moral argument aside - as a purely practical issue, I can't see how holding young kids at Gitmo doesn't cause more problems than it's worth.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:52 AM on June 14, 2005

MLIS writes "ortho: Thank you for the bad faith spin on my post. You should know better than that."

I'm ashamed of all those who rail at Germany America. When I read the Reichmarschall's Preisdent's speech I was more ashamed than I had ever been in my whole life."
posted by orthogonality at 4:05 PM on June 14, 2005

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