In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Boumediene ruling on Habeas Corpus rights for GITMO detainees:
John McCain … calls the ruling “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”
Yes, it’s right up there with Dred Scott, with Lochner, with Plessy v. Ferguson (known to McCain’s legal advisers as approving the doctrine of "Separate but AWESOME".
And what is so damned terrible, it provides access to American courts for those held in American prisons when swept up in other countries. And at the same time McCain and others are railing and going bats**t crazy [so default setting] this was appearing from the only news service that seems to practice journalism:
Akhtiar was among the more than 770 terrorism suspects imprisoned at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They are the men the Bush administration described as "the worst of the worst."
But Akhtiar was no terrorist. American troops had dragged him out of his Afghanistan home in 2003 and held him in Guantanamo for three years in the belief that he was an insurgent involved in rocket attacks on U.S. forces. The Islamic radicals in Guantanamo’s Camp Four who hissed "infidel" and spat at Akhtiar, however, knew something his captors didn’t: The U.S. government had the wrong guy.
"He was not an enemy of the government, he was a friend of the government," a senior Afghan intelligence officer told McClatchy. Akhtiar was imprisoned at Guantanamo on the basis of false information that local anti-government insurgents fed to U.S. troops, he said.
An eight-month McClatchy investigation in 11 countries on three continents has found that Akhtiar was one of dozens of men — and, according to several officials, perhaps hundreds — whom the U.S. has wrongfully imprisoned in Afghanistan, Cuba and elsewhere on the basis of flimsy or fabricated evidence, old personal scores or bounty payments.
McClatchy interviewed 66 released detainees, more than a dozen local officials — primarily in Afghanistan — and U.S. officials with intimate knowledge of the detention program. The investigation also reviewed thousands of pages of U.S. military tribunal documents and other records.
This unprecedented compilation shows that most of the 66 were low-level Taliban grunts, innocent Afghan villagers or ordinary criminals. At least seven had been working for the U.S.-backed Afghan government and had no ties to militants, according to Afghan local officials. In effect, many of the detainees posed no danger to the United States or its allies.
The investigation also found that despite the uncertainty about whom they were holding, U.S. soldiers beat and abused many prisoners.
Prisoner mistreatment became a regular feature in cellblocks and interrogation rooms at Bagram and Kandahar air bases, the two main way stations in Afghanistan en route to Guantanamo.
While he was held at Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base, Akhtiar said, "When I had a dispute with the interrogator, when I asked, ‘What is my crime?’ the soldiers who took me back to my cell would throw me down the stairs."
The McClatchy reporting also documented how U.S. detention policies fueled support for extremist Islamist groups. For some detainees who went home far more militant than when they arrived, Guantanamo became a school for jihad, or Islamic holy war.
But for GITMO prisioners like Akhtiar, the only hope of their release is the beneficence of John McCain. How many more of those like him are held (and abused) in GITMO [and other places], deprived of review by a judge of release? And John McCain would love to keep it that way.
…because the Bush administration set up Guantanamo under special rules that allowed indefinite detention without charges or federal court challenge, it’s impossible to know how many of the 770 men who’ve been held there were terrorists.
Thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling we may now actually have the ability to figure out what our government is doing in our name. Not that this matters to those who have perpetrated the detentions.
The mantra of today’s GOP — never do the right thing…when you can do the RIGHT thing.
(picture via SLoomis08)