Monday, March 13, 2006

Killers armed with Styrofoam

NPR's "This American Life" did interviews with a couple of former Guantanamo detainees who turned out to be average Joes just picked up at random or turned in by bounty hunters. One Gunatanamo "worst of the worst" had been to Ft. Lauderdale for Spring Break in 2000 ("Biker Week") and spoke of prisoners challenging Guantanamo prison guards to see who could turn a styrofoam cup inside out without breaking it.

The audio for "Habeas Schmaebeas" is posted online. The show cited this Seton Hall Univ report. It analyzes the docs recently released by the DOD on prisoners:

Eleven have sworn allegiance to al Qaida. Many are being held based on vaporware evidence. Others were sold for a bounty the US offered; the only evidence against them is they were turned over by a bounty hunter who took the cash and promptly disappeared. The one question not asked in the show was whether the detainees met anyone there that *they* thought was a terrorist. That would have immunized the reporter from the sure-everyone-in-prison-is-innocent dimissal.

One segment looked into an obscure British lord (a Puritan) who had come up with the offshore prison technique back in the 1600's to skirt habeas corpus. He was impeached. In this segment, the reporter goes with some expert to see Lord Clarendon’s grave in Westminster Cathedral. The expert had once shown an American tour group around the cathedral and one had spat on Darwin's grave and wanted to know why he was buried there.

God help us all.

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