Friday, October 13, 2006

Did Congressman Burgess Miss a Few Things at Guantanamo?

Recently Congressman Michael Burgess, the Republican from Texas' 26th district, paid a visit to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and gave a favorable assessment of the situation to the News Connection. Now a report has been filed alleging guards bragged about widespread abuse of detainees at the prison. Stephen Webster, at Gonzo Muckraker, has a "Compare and Contrast" post suggesting that Dr. Burgess' assessment of the treatment of the detainees may have missed a few things. Webster contrasts Burgess' report with stories of abuse overheard by Marine Sergeant Heather Cerveny.
Congressman Burgess says: "Even though we are dealing with some of the most vicious and dedicated terrorists, they are treated humanely, even down to the detail of having the direction of Mecca stenciled on an arrow on their bodies. This way, they know which direction to point in order to pray."[Muckraker - Is it just me, or does that make no sense whatsoever?]

Sergeant Cerveny says: One said, "I took the detainee by the head and smashed his head into the cell door," she tells ABC News. Another "was telling his buddy, 'Yeah, this one detainee, you know, really pissed me off, irritated me. So I just, you know,
punched him in the face.'"

Congressman Burgess says: "One of the things they're taught is, if they have an opportunity to speak with the Press, always claim torture. What do they have to lose? What are we going to do, take away their fingernail files? We already did.

"Sergeant Cerveny says: The guards also talked about taking away detainees' privileges "even when they're being good" and denying their requests for water. In her affidavit, she states she was told "they do this to anger the detainees so they can punish them when they object or complain."

Congressman Burgess says: "Well, you could argue that we're killing them with kindness because diabetes has become an issue in some cases. But, of course, they're not told they have to eat 4,200 calories a day. The food is specially prepared in accordance with religious tenets."

Sergeant Cerveny says: She says she was "shocked" to hear several guards from different parts of the camp speak openly of mistreating prisoners. "Everyone in the group laughed at all their stories of beating detainees," she recalled. "None of them looked like they cared. None of them looked shocked by it."
Read the rest of the post here.

In the meantime, 16 prisoners were recently released from Guantanamo Bay.
Most of the 16 released Afghans were innocent and had been turned in to the U.S. military by other Afghans because of personal disputes, said Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, head of Afghanistan's reconciliation commission. Many had been held for four years, he said.
Of the 440 detainees in Guantanamo Bay, only 10 have been charged with any crime.


Anonymous said...

When I was in the Marine Corps, we called this sort of thing a "Dog and Pony Show". Whenever political figures and other high-ranking civilians would come around, we'd be ordered to sort of "sweep our dirt under the rug" and put on airs. Our uniforms had to be extra spiffy and our behavior strictly by the book.

I don't think it will possible for a high ranking official such as a congressman to really understand what goes on in a military unit without having someone infiltrate it, or visit as a surprise.

I don't excuse the behavior of these Marines with the detainees, but I'm not so naive as to think it doesn't happen, because nobody was beaten while Doc Burgess was walking around.

I'd love to shake the hand of the Marine who told Burgess that they stenciled arrows on the prisoners' bodies in the direction of Mecca. He bought that bullshit hook, line, and sinker. What a maroon...

truggle45 said...

i'd like to tickle a pony without my tentacles leaving the slimetrail, but you dont see me getting all percy about it..........