Thursday, December 13, 2007

Waterboarding, Is That Like Snowboarding?

crossposted at firedoglake 11 december 2007

graphic by twolf

A parade of witnesses appeared this morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee Gitmo hearing, broadcast on C-span, to explain how it ever got this far.

Seton Hall Law Professor Mark Denbeaux got things rolling by shooting down the myth of all those dangerous guys in Guantanamo captured on the battlefield by American soldiers: all one of him. Of the 759 Gitmo prisoners, nearly all were brought in by other governments or were unlucky enough to be sold into slavery captured by bounty hunters.

Denbeaux explained the size of the bounty was large enough to provide for the financial security of an entire village. Troublesome neighbor? Problem solved. And hey, when Jane Harman's new House Unamerican Activities Committee gets going, you too can help round up your very own neighborhood terrorists.

But the prisoners at Gitmo, surely we believe Bush that these are dangerous people who will go right back into battle against American troops if we release them, right? Well, of the 30 that the administration keeps talking about, Denbeaux explained that 5 went to London to make a video about Gitmo; another 5 are the hapless Chinese Uighurs; and---my personal favorite---two of them were never in Guantanamo to begin with. Only 3 of them actually returned to battle.

In the next panel retired Rear Admiral John Hutson, now President of the Franklin Pierce Law Center, said he initially favored military commissions but now he's changed his mind. And for people who say we can't close Gitmo, he declares: "We can close it, let's not pretend we can't. We need to make a change. The time is long since past. We ought to demonstrate to the world what the United States stands for.”

Last Wednesday in oral arguments for Boumediene v. Bush several Supreme Court justices expressed dismay that all the wonderful Bush administration programs and procedures to protect the rights of Gitmo prisoners had one unfortunate outcome: "It's been six years."

Remind me again why we are giving up our civil liberties and that whole Beacon of Freedom thing?

snowboarding analogy--h/t LS


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