The 60 Minutes piece Sunday on Murat Kurnaz, a Turk living in Germany, who at the age of 19 vanished into America's shadow prison system in the war on terror, has created a furor by RW commenters on CBS’s blog site. These commenters are trying to refute Kurnaz’s credibility ala Dan Rather’s report on president Bush’s Air Guard service. Some of the over 2,000 postings and counting are disgusting in their blood thirsty vitriol and dismiss any rights that captured detainees should have simply because our government or foreigners on behalf of our CIA believe them to be enemy combatants.
Kurnaz was snatched off a Pakistani bus three months after 9/11 and if his story of no involvement with either the Taliban or al-Qaeda is true as he tells it to Scott Pelley, then he truly lived an awful nightmare in the hands of our government. Even if he did at first seem to be a security risk as Germany's Federal Office of Criminal Investigations claimed and may have embellished the severity of his torture to discount his story as these RW bloggers are doing only shows the effectiveness of the Busheviks' fear mongering propaganda among believers.
Scott Pelley and CBS said “there seemed to be ample evidence that Kurnaz was an innocent man with no connection to terrorism. The FBI thought so, U.S. intelligence thought so, and German intelligence agreed. But once he was picked up, Kurnaz found himself in a prison system that required no evidence and answered to no one.” It’s hard to believe that CBS and its lawyers did not thoroughly vet Kurnaz’s story in light of the Dan Rather suit.
Kurnaz’s credibility is not the main lesson to be learned from his nightmare of living inhuman years in a legal, human rights limbo under the jurisdiction of our government and constitution. His story is not the only rare look inside as Pelley hauntingly said, “that clandestine system of justice, where the government's own secret files reveal that an innocent man lost his liberty, his dignity, his identity, and ultimately five years of his life.” A book by Andy Worthington, “The Guantánamo Files” tells the story of how on January 11, 2002, the first of 774 prisoners arrived at Gitmo and until the book came out in the fall of 2007 the story of these men was largely unknown.
They were held without charge, without trial, without access to their families, and, initially, without access to lawyers, and Worthington says “they are part of a peculiarly lawless experiment conducted by the US administration, which has chosen to disregard both the Geneva Conventions and the established rules of war, holding the men not as criminals or as Prisoners of War, but as “illegal enemy combatants,” a category of prisoner which is itself illegal.”
A Huffington Post story by Worthington in September of 2007 provides details of the release of 16 Saudis. Since then,we have heard from lawyers representing Gitmo prisoners of one horror story after another. Candice Gorman who represents two “detainees,” said in her comments on the book, “Perhaps most disturbing, from a personal point of view, is the author’s unraveling of the US government’s manipulation of classified information, not to protect national security, but in a vain attempt to hide the truth about Guantánamo. The fact that the prison’s real story has been ignored by our corporate media, by politicians on both sides of the aisle and, most distressingly, by the judiciary, makes this book an important historical contribution to this dark period. If the US happens to survive this episode of cruelty and lawlessness, The Guantánamo Files will be an important tool for coming to grips with how we as a nation allowed indefinite detention without charge, extraordinary rendition and torture to become national policies.”
Col. Morris Davis, the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantánamo, told why in a New York Times op-ed piece that he had to resign from his commission. He has charged his Gitmo and DoD superiors with illegal polticial influence. The latest story charges that the DoD wants to have show trials take place this fall during the height of Johnny McSame’s campaign for president. Colonel Davis was placed under a gag rule and ordered not to testify at a Senate hearing. He said, “While some high-level military and civilian officials have rightly expressed indignation on the issue, the current state can be described generally as indifference and inaction.”
Once again the M$M has virtually ignored the 60 Minutes report by Pelley even though the RW blog world hasn’t. There seems to be so much trashing of the rule of law and our constitution by the Busheviks that it just seems to the M$M as old news not worthy of much attention. That is an extremely disturbing and sad reflection on the state of our fourth estate and balance of powers. American and foreign political leaders have insisted that Gitmo be closed and our president simply ignores them. Like FISA, it is just another attempt to cover up illegal activities until he leaves office. Unless he does a signing statement that clears him of all legal liabilities, we need to go after him and his collaborators until they end up in prison themselves. And we should deny them the same rights they have denied thousands in prisons under our control in Afghanistan, Iraq and who knows where else.