How long before you'd crack? That's the question that may arise from two stories in this morning's New York Times. (Both appear on page A12.)
The first is Raymond Bonner's "Terror Suspect's Ordeal in U.S. Custody" tells the story of Muhammed Saad Iqbal who has been a detainee in one form or another for "nearly four years now." One form or another?
He wasn't take to Guantamo Bay right away. He was in Jarkata when extraordinary rendition (by our government) landed him in Egypt (the article notes 92 days in Egypt). From there it was on to Bgram in Afghanistan (the article notes a year spent there) and then finally Guantanamo. The man American "intelligence officials" expected to be "booted out of jail" quickly, the man that they concluded was "a blowhard" who "wanted us to believe he was more important than he was" appears to have cracked. One former prisoner, Mamdough Habib, notes that Iqbal "was fully crazy. He doesn't know where he is anymore." Another person, a friend of Muhammed Saad Iqbal, maintains that the Red Cross passed on that "He's gone crazy."
What was the point of detainees? Supposedly they had or might have information, valid information, that would prevent an attack. Does anyone really think, because certain American intelligence officials don't, that Iqbal can provide any reliable information?
What was the point of this? Let's note what Amy Goodman was told on Democracy Now!:
JANIS KARPINSKI: The only person that I spoke to individually after General Miller's visit – briefing, his in-brief, that initial briefing, I went to find the JAG officer, the legal officer, lawyer, who was with General Miller, and she was -- I believe she was a major and she had been working down at Guantanamo Bay. So, I asked her, I said, "What are you doing about releasing the prisoners down at Guantanamo Bay?" And she said, "Ma'am, we're not releasing prisoners. Most of those prisoners are going to spend every last day of their lives at Guantanamo Bay. They're terrorists. We're not releasing them." And I said, "Well, what are you going to do? Fly their family members over to visit them?" She said "No, these are terrorists, ma'am. They don't get visits from home." And that was -- that was absolutely shocking, thinking about the fate of these, what we believed was, several hundred prisoners down there, 680 prisoners spending every last day of their lives at Guantanamo Bay, and particularly important because that meant that military police would be guarding them for the foreseeable future.
Every last day of their lives at Guantanamo Bay? Bonner notes:
After questioning Mr. Iqbal, the intelligence officers were still not convinced he posed a threat. They thought he would be held for a few days, "then booted out of jail," said an American offical. The official said they did not even think it would be necessary to deport him.
Bonner's report also brings up the issue of hunger strikes and suicided attempts. (Which the military says are "largely theatrical events staged" by prisoners "to draw attention to their complaints.")
So how long would it take for you to crack? Not to hand over information, just to lose it completely? In May of 2006, Jose Padilla will have been held for four years. His case is the focus of Linda Greenhouse's "Justices Are Urged to Dismiss Padilla's Case." The administration, which has not charged him with the "dirty bomb" claim asserted publicly when his status was made public via a press conference by J-Ass, wants the Supreme Court to refuse to hear his "challenge to his miltary detention as an enemy combatant."
As Padilla's defense points out, the administraion still classifies Padilla as an enemy combatant and will not take a military tribunal off the table despite the fact that they now wish to prosecute Padilla in a civilian court.
At what point do you crack? At what point do you lose it?
Let's note Karpinski one more time:
JANIS KARPINSKI: When concepts such as a speedy trial fly out the window, when you can be detained indefinately, what do you hold on to?
And that was -- that was absolutely shocking, thinking about the fate of these, what we believed was, several hundred prisoners down there, 680 prisoners spending every last day of their lives at Guantanamo Bay, and particularly important because that meant that military police would be guarding them for the foreseeable future.
Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Patriots and the Patriot Act" (This Just In, The Progressive):
The Patriot Act reauthorization would have extended the most loathsome aspects of the act another four years, including giving the FBI and local law enforcement the power to obtain your library records and your bookstore purchases and allowing the Justice Department to issue National Security Letters that are like their own subpoenas and then gag you from discussing them. (For a good summary of the defects of the bill, go to the ACLU's website.)
The conference bill also contained new language that would criminalize "disruptive or potentially dangerous conduct" at Secret Service events, even when the President, Vice President, or other protectees are not in attendance. (See Section. 602 of the conference bill)
So, for instance, during the first few days of a national convention, if you’re holding a peace sign and being "disruptive," you could be arrested and face a year in prison.
Other new, punitive language in the conference bill says that if you violate the gag order on National Security Letters, you could face "five years imprisonment." (See Section 117.)
I'll note that The Third Estate Sunday Review is up and of special interest will probably be
"Hot Trend for 2005: Arresting consituents who want to express an opinion." This addresses the arrests noted in the last entry yesterday which, judging by e-mails is a topic that has outraged many members. So check that out. (And there are other features as well.)
The e-mail address for this site is email@example.com. And Mark Crispin Miller and Eleanor Clift should be guests on today's The Laura Flanders Show. A number of members from Texas pointed out that it's Kay Bailey Hutchison and not "Hutchinson." I'll try to correct that this evening. (Error in entry immediately below this one.)
the new york times
muhammad saad iqbal
the laura flanders show
mark crispin miller
the third estate sunday review