Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken
gozz@gozz.com

Sunday, May 22, 2005

No lemonade at Guantanamo 

A friend who often says, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade," sent some cookies that didn't travel too well, so I made lemonade by having milk on them instead of with them. There's not many tastes that go better together than coconut, chocolate and milk.

milk on bananas and coconut / chocolate chip cookies

A 2,000 page FOIA document dump obtained by the Associated Press reveals it's pretty hard to make lemonade in Gitmo,

"I've been here for three years and the past three years, whatever I say, nobody believes me. They listen but they don't believe me," says a chicken farmer accused of torturing jailed Afghans as a high-ranking member of the Taliban.

The farmer's name is blacked out in the documents released by the government, which also redacted most other identifying information such as the names of cities, villages and countries.

... Because the U.S. government considers some information against the men to be of interest to national security, detainees were not allowed to hear all of the evidence.

... Most of the detainees proclaim their innocence, including one older prisoner who tells the tribunal he's too crippled to have been an enemy combatant.

"How could I be an enemy combatant if I was not able to stand up," he says, describing how he hasn't been able to walk in more than 15 years. A witness testifies that the man had a stroke years ago and barely left his house except to visit the doctor.

... One nomad says he was looking for his lost goats when he and his brother were captured. U.S. officials say they were captured near an explosive device. Much of Afghanistan is heavily mined.

"How do you move from place to place?" asked the tribunal member. "What do you use for transport? Do you have a vehicle?"

"A camel," the prisoner says. "I am not against America."

One detainee whose name was found on a document recovered at a former Afghan residence of Osama bin Laden argues that's "literally meaningless" because in his Saudi tribe "there are literally millions that share" his name, including two other detainees.

... One 25-year-old prisoner testifies that not only wasn't he an enemy combatant, but he was a bodyguard for Afghanistan's U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai. He says his military training came by "order of American officers."

... One prisoner accused of being a member of the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Pakistani group with alleged links to al-Qaida, points to the disputed territory of Kashmir and says the struggle was backed by Pakistan, an ally of the United States. India and Pakistan claim Kashmir.

"If you consider this organization a terrorist organization, then you should consider the Pakistan government a terrorist country," he says.

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