Fake outrages are not just a right wing phenomenon. Adam Serwer deftly debunks a fake outrage of the leftist kind: The Defense Bill Passed. So What Does It Do? | Mother Jones:
So what exactly does the bill do? It says that the president has to hold a foreign Al Qaeda suspect captured on US soil in military detention—except it leaves enough procedural loopholes that someone like convicted underwear bomber and Nigerian citizen Umar Abdulmutallab could actually go from capture to trial without ever being held by the military. It does not, contrary to what many media outlets have reported, authorize the president to indefinitely detain without trial an American citizen suspected of terrorism who is captured in the US. A last minute compromise amendment adopted in the Senate, whose language was retained in the final bill, leaves it up to the courts to decide if the president has that power, should a future president try to exercise it. But if a future president does try to assert the authority to detain an American citizen without charge or trial, it won’t be based on the authority in this bill.
So it’s simply not true, as the Guardian wrote yesterday, that the the bill “allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay.” When the New York Times editorial page writes that the bill would “strip the F.B.I., federal prosecutors and federal courts of all or most of their power to arrest and prosecute terrorists and hand it off to the military,” or that the “legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial,” they’re simply wrong.
Just in time for the weekly news cycle, a new batch of classified documents from Guantanamo Bay has been released by Wikileaks, with details on the whereabouts of al-Qaeda leaders on 9/11.
The right wing blogosphere and media are gibbering in unison again, over the outcome in the trial of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed Ghailani. Some quotes: “a major fail,” “the shame of the terror-appeasing left,” “the latest blow to Team Obama,” “a full blown fiasco,” etc.
All this raging is because Ghailani, who was on trial for his role in the 1998 terrorist bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, was acquitted of more than 280 counts, but convicted of only one count of conspiracy.
I’m puzzled why they think this is such a fiasco, though, since that one charge alone carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison, and there’s a very good chance he’ll get life. I don’t see how that translates to a “major fail” for the government, and I seriously doubt Ghailani considers a 20-year minimum sentence a “major win.”
And we should note that there’s a reason why Ghailani was acquitted of the other charges: because the evidence was obtained during the Bush administration, while Ghailani was at Guantanamo Bay.
By torturing him.
So it was excluded.
Speaking of “fiascos” and “major fails.”
The Justice Department has released a statement about this article by Scott Horton at Harper’s Magazine, saying that an investigation has uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing — but Horton’s piece contains some very disturbing details that strongly suggest the full story has yet to come out: The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Mars) suggests that President Obama or Attorney General Holder advised Al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to plead not guilty so he could have a show trial in Manhattan. Sometimes it seems as if right wing politicians are in a contest to see who can uncork the wackiest accusation.
(Hat tip: KT.)
The Washington Post has an interesting article supporting the contention that harsh interrogation techniques such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding resulted in valuable intelligence from 9/11 attack planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: How a Detainee Became An Asset.
These scenes provide previously unpublicized details about the transformation of the man known to U.S. officials as KSM from an avowed and truculent enemy of the United States into what the CIA called its “preeminent source” on al-Qaeda. This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques.
“KSM, an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate or incomplete,” according to newly unclassified portions of a 2004 report by the CIA’s then-inspector general released Monday by the Justice Department.
I hope you’re sitting down, because one in 7 who leave Guantanamo are involved in terrorism.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Seventy-four, or one out of every seven, terrorism suspects formerly held at the U.S. detention site at Guantanamo Bay are confirmed or suspected of having returned to terrorism, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
Of more than 530 detainees transferred from the U.S. base in Cuba, 27 are confirmed and 47 suspected of “reengaging in terrorist activity,” according to a written Pentagon summary.
The total of 74 has more than doubled since May 2007, when the Pentagon said about 30 had gone back to terrorist activity, and increased slightly since January, when the figure stood at 61.
An excellent piece at Commentary by Arthur Herman on the history and purpose of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and the unceasing distortions and falsehoods promoted by far-left groups: The Gitmo Myth and the Torture Canard.
The standard argument is that the public shift in attitude toward Gitmo was gradual, and reflected a growing disillusionment with the war on terror as the sordid details of how George W. Bush and his assistants chose to wage it came out, including the supposed secret use of torture. Once the detention center had become a cesspool of human-rights abuse, the evil spawned there then seeped into other facilities where prisoners in the Bush war on terror were being held, most notoriously the Iraqi prison at Abu Ghraib. In 2004, former Vice President Al Gore announced that Abu Ghraib “was not the result of random acts by a ‘few bad apples’: it was the natural consequence of the Bush administration policy” of retaining and interrogating inmates at Gitmo.
What this account and others like it fail to take into consideration are the aggressive and unending efforts of a cadre of lawyers, activists, left-leaning Democrats in Congress, and civil libertarians against the facility, its purpose, its goal, and its existence. These efforts began even before it was opened, in November 2001, and continue to this day. The anti-Gitmo forces worked tirelessly to shape the public perception that Gitmo was the red-hot center of an aggressive policy approach that led the leftist financier George Soros to declare: “The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush.”
The enemies of Bush and Gitmo have succeeded brilliantly. But in so doing, they have done grave violence to the truth about the Guantánamo Bay facility, have aided in the release of prisoners who have since committed acts of terrorism outside the United States, and may yet succeed in having Barack Obama’s government release young men with terrifying ambitions for murder and mass destruction onto the soil of the United States.