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Monday, October 04, 2004

Can't Gitmo Information

From the Guardian:
Prisoner interrogations at Guantánamo Bay, the controversial US military detention centre where guards have been accused of brutality and torture, have not prevented a single terrorist attack, according to a senior Pentagon intelligence officer who worked at the heart of the US war on terror.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Christino, who retired last June after 20 years in military intelligence, says that President George W Bush and US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have 'wildly exaggerated' their intelligence value.

Christino's revelations, to be published this week in Guantánamo: America's War on Human Rights, by British journalist David Rose, are supported by three further intelligence officials. Christino also disclosed that the 'screening' process in Afghanistan which determined whether detainees were sent to Guantánamo was 'hopelessly flawed from the get-go'.

It was performed by new recruits who had almost no training, and were forced to rely on incompetent interpreters. They were 'far too poorly trained to identify real terrorists from the ordinary Taliban militia'.

According to Christino, most of the approximately 600 detainees at Guantánamo - including four Britons - at worst had supported the Taliban in the civil war it had been fighting against the Northern Alliance before the 11 September attacks, but had had no contact with Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda.
The plus side, if you're a Bushie, is that this random grabbing of people and holding and torturing them for 2 1/2 years for no reason has earned the U.S. the undying hatred of thousands if not millions more people in the Islamic world. This increases the chances of another 9/11, making your continued crackdown on civil liberties and economic justice that much easier. Of course, if you're a human being and not a Bushie, this isn't so good.

Kudos to Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Christino for blowing the whistle on this ongoing crime.

[Update] Gitmo hostage and British citizen Moazzam Begg states his case in the LA Times (via Common Dreams). Excerpt:
I state here, unequivocally and for the record, that any documents presented to me by U.S. law enforcement agents were signed and initialed under duress, thus rendered legally contested in validity. During several interviews, particularly — though unexclusively — in Afghanistan, I was subjected to pernicious threats of torture and death threats — amongst other coercively employed interrogation techniques. Neither was the presence of legal counsel ever produced or made available.

The said interviews were conducted in an environment of generated fear, resonant with terrifying screams of fellow detainees facing similar methods. In this atmosphere of severe antipathy toward detainees was the compounded use of racially and religiously prejudiced taunts. This culminated, in my opinion, with the deaths of two fellow detainees, at the hands of U.S. military personnel, to which I myself was partially witness.

In spite of all the aforementioned cruel and unusual treatment meted out, I have maintained a compliant and amicable manner with my captors and a cooperative attitude. My behavioral record is impeccable, yet contrasts immensely to what I have experienced, as stated.

I am a law-abiding citizen of the U.K. and attest vehemently to my innocence, before God and the law, of any crime — though none has even been alleged. I have neither ever met Usama bin Laden, nor been a member of Al Qaidah — or any synonymous paramilitary organization, party or group. Neither have I engaged in hostile acts against the U.S.A., nor assisted such groups in the same — though the opportunity has availed itself many a time, and motive.