Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Danger of Living and Working in the Wrong Place: Rough Justice?

On March 3, 2006, the Department of Defense released 5,000 pages of transcripts of proceedings before the Reprocessed Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) and the Administrative Review Board (ARB). See These documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request. The proceedings involve Guantanamo detainees. I have dipped into a very few of the redacted transcripts of "Testimony of Detainees Before the Combatant Status Review Tribunal." There are interesting and suggestive morsels there. Consider:

From the transcript of the testimony of Mohammed Hussein Abdallah before the Combatant Status Review Tribunal:

First of all, you classified me as a terrorist or associated with this organization; that has no founding or no truth to it at all. I am just a teacher. I teach orphans, seven or eight year old orphans. They came and picked me up at 2 AM from my house. I have no relations or no connections with anybody. All that I used to do was go to work and come back. I stayed with my children and my family. I did not have any relations with any organizations whatsoever. So if teaching orphan children who lost their father how to read and write it a terrorist act, therefore I am a terrorist. If teaching the Koran to children is a terrorist act, then I am a terrorist. Besides this, I have nothing else. I don't know how they classified me as a terrorist.


[charge in italics:]3.a.7. Militants associated with Osama bin Laden's Al Qaida organization were traveling through the Jolazai refugee camp in [sic] route to India.

Detainee: I don't know about that. This is the first time I hear this thing. ... I thought that Al Qaida was a secret organization. I just know about it through the media, radio and newspapers and things like that but as people or as a person, I don't know.

... If I may, I would like to read from my notes about some of the organizations that were qualified or categorized as terrorist organizations. ... I never worked before in any terrorist organization. I worked only in humanitarian organizations. [He names one Saudi government organization.] And I also have Al-Ighata (ph), which is another organization that belongs to the Saudi government also. The office of construction that is for Maktab Attaamir (ph), which means the Office of Rebuilding. The person that was in charge or head of this organization was King Fahd of Syria. So I have no relation to this thing, talk to King Fahd; he is still alive. And this organization I just mentioned is a recognized organization and the Pakistani government recognized it. It was funded; it was created in Saudi Arabia. So if this organization in the United States government's view is a terrorist organization, what is my crime? What do I have to do with it? So the people who should answer for this organization are the people who founded this organization or the people who are in charge of it. You didn't detain the founders ... So I am wondering, you could find my house and you couldn't find the Saudi government, the Pakistani government and the Kuwaiti government? ... They took me in the middle of the night. It's almost been two and a half years and I don't know anything about my children and wife. And I always wonder all the time, I keep asking them: What is my crime? What did I do? And no one answers me.

A bit further in the transcript:
Tribunal Members' questions

Q. Sir, how old are you?

A. I am about 60.


Q. This camp that is being referred to as the Jolazai refuge camp, do you have an estimate of how many people were there when you stayed there?

A. What do you mean? Do you mean the population?

Q. Right.

A. ... [I]t is a big number. It is around 50,000 or maybe more. ... The people that were in charge of this camp were government officials ....

Q. At this camp, were people allowed to come and go freely?

A. As I said it was like a city. People leave and come and travel and go. It was like any normal city.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Craven lobbyists are lobbyists. Good lobbyists are activists.

Greedy advertisers are advertisers. Noble advertisers are underwriters.