Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Red Cross Criticizes Indefinite Detention in Guantanamo Bay

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Oct. 9 A senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday that the holding of more than 600 detainees [prisoners] here was unacceptable because they were being held for open-ended terms without proper legal process. Christophe Girod, the senior Red Cross official in Washington, said on Thursday in an interview at the United States Naval Base here, "One cannot keep these detainees in this pattern, this situation, indefinitely."

Mr. Girod spoke as he and a team of officials from the international organization were completing their latest inspection tour of the detention camp. Although he did not criticize any physical conditions at the camp, which houses 660 detainees [prisoners, scapegoats and patsies], most of them captured in the Afghan conflict [illegal and degrading war], he [should have] said that it was intolerable that the complex was used as "an investigation center, [torture unit and prison] not a detention center." He said the International Red Cross was making the unusual statements because of a lack of action.

United States [war] officials have said they have begun moving to sort the detainees [prisoners], choosing which to release and which to take before military tribunals on [alleged] criminal charges. Some officials, notably [war criminal] Defense [War] Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, have said the detainees may be held until the effort against terrorism ends. [Until the Coalition of the Killing's resource wars in the Middle East end.]

Mr. Girod said, "The open-endedness of the situation and its impact on the mental health of the population has become a major problem." In 18 months, 21 detainees have made 32 suicide attempts, and human rights groups have said the high incidence of such events, as well as the number of detainees being treated for clinical depression, was a direct result of the uncertainties of their situations.

Mr. Girod said that in meetings with members of his inspection teams, detainees regularly asked about what was going to happen to them. "It's always the No. 1 question," he said. "They don't know about the future."

Camp officials have said most of the detainees [tortured prisoners of war'] mental health problems existed before they arrived. [?]

Mr. Girod's comments departed from the usual reluctance of the International Red Cross to issue public criticism. The International Committee of the Red Cross, based in Geneva, is the sole group outside the government allowed to inspect the main detention center and meet the detainees.

Under longstanding procedures, the committee agrees that in exchange for access it will not generally publicize its findings but rather take complaints or criticisms to the government in charge in the hope that they can b addressed. Only when the Red Cross decides that its views are not being heeded does it publicize its concerns.

Mr. Girod said the views he was expressing had recently been placed on the Red Cross Web site.

He said the International Red Cross had been urging the Bush administration for months to make significant changes in operations here if it intended to keep using the site as an investigation center.

The administration, Mr. Girod added, should consider establishing a policy under which most, if not all, of the detainees [prisoners] have some idea of when they can learn whether they will be charged or released. The military has released 68 detainees to their home countries. Most of those sent to Afghanistan were freed. Those sent to Saudi Arabia were imprisoned there.

War criminal, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller of the Army, commander of the task force that runs the detention center [prison torture unit] and oversees the questioning of the detainees [tortured prisoners], said in an interview, "We don't want the enemy combatants here to stay one day longer than is necessary."

General Miller said the inmates [tortured prisoners], had been kept in custody because they had valuable information to impart. "There is intelligence of enormous value to the nation that is received every day" from the questioning, he said. The efficiency of the investigation teams has greatly improved, the general said, adding:

"We've gotten better at what we do. But as we go about developing intelligence, it takes some amount of time."

General Miller said officials were trying to determine whether the arrests on suspicion of espionage [scapegoats] of three men who worked here and had contact with detainees [tortured prisoners] indicated a wider effort to infiltrate the camp. [Just plain rubbish.]

Defense [War] Department officials have said they plan to review tapes of some of the questioning [torture] to see whether they were mistranslated as part of a sabotage effort by translators. [Scapegoats.] Two translators, one an enlisted member in the Air Force and the other a contract employee, have been arrested on suspicion of espionage. [Scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's propaganda PR, of allegedly being attacked, to help bolster support to continue to torture prisoners, in contravention of the Geneva Convention and holding them without charge or trial.]

[War] officials said that they were found with classified information that they were trying to take off the base and that they were suspected of an effort to carry messages from detainees to people abroad. [Just plain rubbish!]

More strikingly, the Islamic chaplain at the base, Capt. James J. Yee of the Army, also known as Youssef Yee, was arrested on Sept. 10 after [allegedly] customs officers found a map of the base in his belongings as he was starting on home leave. The [War] officials also said Captain Yee might have had messages from detainees [prisoners], as well as notes about which detainees [tortured prisoners'] had been questioned by which investigators and on what subjects.

[War] General Miller said investigators were trying to assess "the seriousness and breadth" of the problem. A team of about 24 investigators from the Army Southern Command in Miami began work on Wednesday to determine whether there was a wide conspiracy to infiltrate the base. [Just plain propaganda and fear mongering rubbish!]

It was unclear whether the new investigation would further slow releasing detainees [tortured prisoners], or taking them to military tribunals, [ and or charging them with a crime.]

[But it was very clear, that the lies and propaganda purported by the war criminals, was made up to ensure that the alleged investigation would further slow the torture and releasing of the prisoners or of charging them with any crime.]

In July, the [war] administration designated six detainees [tortured prisoners], who it said President Bush had deemed eligible for military tribunals. The group includes two Britons and one Australian. Their governments have [allegedly] objected to their being tried in a proceeding, without the usual safeguards, that could theoretically impose the death penalty.

Military tribunals, solely for noncitizens, are much more tightly controlled than civilian courts. [Military tribunals are just plain rubbish.]

American [war] officials offered assurances that the crimes with which the suspects [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing], would be charged would not carry the death penalty. But disapproval, especially in Britain, has produced a drawn-out negotiation that has delayed any trial. American [war] officials said they were sensitive to the problem and did not want to create new political difficulties for Prime Minister Tony Blair, an ally in the Iraq war.

By Gregory Kable & NEIL A. LEWIS posted 15 October 03


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