[The Independent, U.K.]

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Die Zeit, Germany

Guantanamo: Obama Must 'Put an End to the Secrecy'


"Because President Obama hasn't made a radical break with the disastrous policies of his predecessor on Guantanamo - contrary to his promise - his protestations can hardly be believed. At this point, the only option is to escape into the open, i.e.: complete public disclosure."


By Martin Klingst



Translated By Stephanie Martin


April 26, 2011


Germany - Die Zeit - Original Article (German)

Detainess at the Guantanamo Bay prison await processing, Jan, 11, 2002. The latest data-bomb from WikiLeaks consists of previously classified documents with details on all 'detainees' ever to inhabit the now-infamous jail, located in the legal limbo of U.S.-occupied Cuba.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Guantanamo files reveal how political correctness fostered extremism in Britain, Apr. 27, 00:06:02RealVideo

No, there really is nothing new in the secret files of detainees at Guantanamo. Most of what was just released by the Internet whistleblowers at Wikileaks and published in newspapers which were fed this information was in one way or another already known. At least in outline.


But seen as a whole, these files nonetheless are a unique testament to the incredible mess that is Guantanamo, which was created by Republican President George W. Bush and perpetuated by his Democratic successor, Barack Obama.


No one can serious doubt that there have been hardened criminals among the total of 779 terror suspects who have been locked away these past nine years at the U.S. military base in Cuba. And no one can deny that the worst of them are still incarcerated there. For instance, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the mass murder and crime against humanity on September 11, 2001, as well as several accomplices.


One hundred seventy two men continue to be held at Guantanamo, as they are to be tried by a military commission or because they are perceived as dangerous and therefore, are to be held indefinitely without trial. Or because they can no longer be returned to their native countries or third countries. Many of them have been labeled “high security risks” because of negative experiences in the past.


Some former detainees joined Islamist terrorist groups and committed terrorist attacks as soon as they were released - either because they were already convinced from the outset of the war against America, or because during their inhumane solitary confinement in the cages of Guantanamo they developed a hatred of the U.S. After news about the Guantanamo files broke, a heated political debate immediately broke out on U.S. Sunday talk shows about whether too many people had been detained - or whether too many had been released too soon.   




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Certainly, many of the inmates are hardened criminals - not innocent lambs. These documents corroborate this. Some detainees threatened their guards with revenge and death. They glorified the holy war against the U.S. But these documents, compiled between February 2002 and January 2009, provide information on more than 700 prisoners and document the legal and moral dilemma of the United States. They bear witness to what was frequently blind persecution in a moment of extreme national shock. They describe the chaos, the hate-filled zeal, the lack of professionalism the sometimes the fatal lawlessness of the anti-terror campaign. 


The documents report on the tensions between the guards and the guarded. They document methods of confessions exacted under torture. They document false accusations made by fellow detainees and often flimsy evidence. Terrible fates are revealed. For instance, the interrogators felt that after six years of torture and brutal interrogation, one prisoner still hadn't revealed all, and there were still, “possible areas of intelligence that could be further exploited.”


Some men fell into the hands of Middle East terrorist hunters just because they had a ticket to Kabul in their jacket pockets or identified themselves with forged travel documents - and were sent on to Guantanamo. Others found their way there because no one understood the languages they spoke, had the wrong friends or could neither read nor write. Often, the error only revealed itself after years of captivity - and often only after the legal system had taken action. And even then, some had to wait an eternity to be released.


According to Barack Obama, his government made a new assessment of the detainees and their dangerousness just after his election two years ago. Grievances and misunderstandings were resolved and the evidence subjected to the most rigorous examination. After these tests, officials in some cases came to different conclusions than those of the Bush Administration. But these new assessments remain confidential.


Because President Obama hasn't made a radical break with the disastrous policies of his predecessor on Guantanamo - contrary to his promise - his protestations can hardly be believed. At this point, the only option is to escape into the open, i.e.: complete public disclosure. Obama must lay everything completely out, without exceptions, and explain why 172 Guantanamo detainees remain locked up. The secrecy must come to an end.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 28, 11:19pm]



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