Campaign for Guantánamo Detainee, Torture Survivor, Reaches Directly to Obama

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17 Responses to “Campaign for Guantánamo Detainee, Torture Survivor, Reaches Directly to Obama”

  1. noen says:

    “We doubt that President Bush, who was notorious for being parsimonious with follow-ups, would have gotten away with prescreening his interlocutors.”

    I guess they must mean the pres Bush who dressed up a male prostitute as a journalist, one who visited the White House 200 times and serviced god only knows who, and then called on him as if he were part of the official press corps.

    That president Bush?

  2. JonS says:

    @ #15 T0AD: “only people punished were low level military that were following orders”

    Well, following illegal orders is still illegal so they should have been punished.

    However limiting the investigation/punishment at that level *was* a travesty.

    Regards
    JonS

  3. Trent Hawkins says:

    #12: I’m quite serious in saying this: The moral compass of the traditional Dungeons and Dragons games are a greatly unappreciated tool in human development. If you can’t figure out what’s good and evil in a fantasy setting, then you’re not ready for real life.

  4. Kieran O'Neill says:

    @Talldave:

    ‘If Binyam Mohamed is not “the worst of the worst” as she originally feared, she says Guantanamo is easily the worst prison she has ever seen – and she has visited many.

    “I’ve done criminal work for 20 years. I’ve been on death row. I’ve been in local prisons, state prisons, federal prisons… I’ve never come across the conditions, the attitude, the way they handle anything at Guantanamo Bay.” ‘

    from the BBC
    (“she” being Lt Col Yvonne Bradley, Binyam Mohamed’s lawyer.)

  5. Anonymous says:

    my son was stationed there and followed orders. he cannot even speak about what went on there, has constant nightmares and is under a doctor’s care. but, to state again, he was following orders given him. the rank and file are not responsible and they need to know that.

  6. Stef says:

    One of Binyam’s lawyers is the truly remarkable, wonderful gentleman who is Clive Stafford Smith:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_Stafford_Smith

    Somewhat strangely, he’s not named directly in the article, even though he signs the letter they so heavily reference. (He founded and is the Director of Reprieve.) The closing paragraphs of this letter, which serve to highlight how heavily censored the information provided to the President of the United States on this case is, are brilliant:

    “[President Obama]…you should be aware of the bizarre reality of the process under which we operate: That you, as Commander-in-Chief, are being denied access to material that would help prove that crimes have been committed by US personnel. This decision is being made by the very people who you command. This is a state of affairs that you may wish to redress.”

    Direct links to the letter:
    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/world/2009/2009-02-10-CSS-ltr-obama.pdf
    (alt)
    http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2009/02/11/CSSlettertoObama.pdf

  7. Takuan says:

    ever pull a plant out of the ground? You grab the main trunk tight and twist and wrench and haul. Sometimes it slips out of your hand, sometimes the top breaks off. Frequently you get cut and scratched as it fights you and if your are really unlucky, you end up on your ass in the dirt with that godsbedamned shrub smirking at you. If it’s been a long time between weedings, the roots have had a chance to burrow deep and wide and grow fat. More than half the time some break off underground and lurk there, ready to sprout when your back is turned. You have to be patient and thorough and methodical. You can try to skip the hard work by use of fire and poison – but that tends to damage other, beneficial plants. The best policy is to dig wide and deep and get every scrap of root. Shift the dirt as required and backfill with clean. This things do take time.

  8. Robbo says:

    It’s going to be interesting to see what happens as the Obama administration continues to run into conflict with those who feel (and act) as if they were ruling the country.

    Something’s gotta give.

    Get the popcorn.

  9. IWood says:

    What’s facinating to me about this is the level of detail concerning the machinations of government that the average citizen is now exposed to. The same thing happened during the primaries–I don’t think I’ve ever had the kind of conversations about minutiae of process that I had then, with people I wouldn’t characterize as political junkies.

    A letter to the President, which gets redacted, that we all get to read immediately? Wonderful! Regardless of your political affiliation or your attitude towards the current President, it should be heartening to see so many people paying such close attention to the details where devils lie.

    My forlorn hope is that this administration will recognize and respond to this informed attention in a way that the prior adminstration refused to, and that this attitude will work its way into the warrens of Capitol Hill as well.

    On the other hand…I remain deeply cynical about politics and politicians in general. Except for saying “I screwed up,” President Obama hasn’t surprised me yet. There’s still that pesky gap between lofty campaign rhetoric and post-election action. He could do a lot to narrow it simply by acknowledging its existence and perhaps letting us in on a rationale or two…

  10. noen says:

    Yeah, that’s going to be one big problem I have with Obama if he doesn’t do the right thing re: torture.

  11. pecoto says:

    Hmmm it does seem that President Obama’s tune has changed a lot from the promises of the campaign trail…I also hope that this is one he makes good on. We don’t need incompetent intelligence officials…and if they are competent they would know how ineffective torture is in most cases.

    Some bad news in that direction…..Obama is pre-selecting reporters to ask questions at news conferences…

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123431418276770899.html

    So much for being a more open administration….if this sets the tone we are in for a disastrous and disappointing presidency.

  12. VICTOR JIMENEZ says:

    This reminds me of an old Ad&d game dilema:
    The Paladin captures a bad guy and wants to interrogate him, as he doesnt say anithing usefull he give him to the party and tell them to interrogate him. The others guys said “Oh, we will use torture”, then i yelled at him that a Lawful Legal character could not do that, then the Paladin told me “I dont know if they will torture him or not, but I will be in another room so i dont know what are they doing to him”.
    Such a twisted logic amazed and disgusted me deeply.

    When I see the same in real life…
    …I die a little bit more.

    PD: in none of my games a tortured character gives useful information.

  13. T0AD says:

    Obama will do one of to things.

    Either he will do nothing in order to preserve the status quot. Or he will punish some low level straw-man as was done in the case of Abu-Graib where the only people punished were low level military that were following orders

  14. grimc says:

    @pecoto

    WSJ opinion page = laughably delusional right wing propaganda.

    I could list any number of WSJ OpEds that openly twist and ignore facts to advance the Republican meme-of-the-day, but a line from the piece you linked bears out the asshattery:

    We doubt that President Bush, who was notorious for being parsimonious with follow-ups, would have gotten away with prescreening his interlocutors.

    Is the WSJ OpEd board stupid, counting on its readers to be stupid, or both?

    And a list of reporters for a President to call on in press conferences is hardly anything new, although you and the WSJ OpEd page obviously would like it to be.

  15. acx99 says:

    After WWII, The U.S executed Japanese soldiers who had waterboarded captive U.S troops.

  16. TallDave says:

    Of course, Obama has said renditions will continue, and so will coercive interrogations of high-value targets in situations where it’s deemed necesary.

    But let’s not pretend anyone really cares about this issue as more than a political football. There are all kinds of daily atrocities being overlooked in civilian prisons both here and abroad, and late night comics just make jokes about them; no one cares.

    Oddly, though, when someone who is accused of being an Al Qaeda terrorist makes these claims instead of, say, an accused rapist or armed robber, suddenly half the country feels there’s a grave injustice here that must be addressed. And they’re treated as credible despite the fact Al Qaeda training manuals specifically instruct them to fabricate such incidents.

  17. IWood says:

    #7 posted by TallDave:

    Now that’s cynicism.

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