February 17, 2006
The panel's report, released Thursday in Geneva, said the United States must close the detention facility "without further delay" because it is effectively a torture camp where prisoners have no access to justice.As expected, the United States told the UN to go pound sand. The fact is that these "findings" are based on nothing but heresay and what the lawyers of the detainees tell them. The five UN "experts" have never even been to Gitmo!
Annan told reporters he didn't necessarily agree with everything in the report, but "the basic premise, that we need to be careful to have a balance between effective action against terrorism and individual liberties and civil rights, I think is valid."
In a response included in an appendix to the 54-page report, the United States noted that the investigators had turned down an invitation to visit GuantÃƒÂ¡namo Bay. It rejected the findings and accused the investigators of selecting information to support their conclusions. The investigators declined to go to the camp after being told that they would be denied the opportunity to interview the prisoners.Give me a break. They don't need interviews with the detainees when the charges of abuse and unfit conditions have already been made by their attorneys. An inspection of the facility is more than sufficient to support or refute these allegations. But why refuse to even go there because of that one condition? They could certainly cite a refusal for detainee interviews as a qualification to their findings.
No, the UN doesn't want to go to Gitmo because they already know that they'll find conditions better than most prisons throughout the world. This is not some gulag. The military personnel who run the Gitmo facility bends over backwards to ensure that the treatment of detainees is as humane as you can get in a prison. Conditions that are far more humane, certainly, than they deserve. When a Congressional delegation - with members of BOTH parties - visited the facility earlier this year, they confirmed the situation there. "The Guantanamo we saw today is not the Guantanamo we heard about a few years ago," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif. On top of that, representatives from about 400 news organizations have also toured the prison, including Con Coughlin from the British newspaper The Telegraph. Of his recent visit, he writes:
Each cell has its own primitive lavatory and wash basin. The inmates are issued with tan-coloured prison clothing, are provided with a range of toiletries, games such as backgammon and chess - which they play by shouting moves to inmates in neighbouring cells - and a copy of the Koran. Each cell has an arrow pointing in the direction of Mecca to enable them to conduct their daily religious devotions.Oh, the humanity!
They are allowed two hours' exercise a day and to choose their three daily meals from a prison menu that includes ice cream, cookies and peanut butter. A fully staffed and equipped military hospital is available to treat any illness or medical condition, and the detainees have been treated for anything from wounds sustained fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan to cancerous tumours.
So the United States is supposed to close Gitmo based on a report of five UN "experts" who've never even been there? On who's authority? The United Nations? An organization where half the member nations are ruled by dictators, thugs and criminals? We're talking about enemy combatants united in their desire to kill Americans - military AND civilian. If the decision ever comes to close down this prison, it will be made by the military of the United States, not some bureaucrats at the UN.
I've got a better suggestion. How about we close down the UN?
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