Former Guantanamo Detainee Speaks

Mourad Benchellaili, writing in the NY Times: Detainees in despair:

I believe that a small number of the detainees at Guantanamo are guilty of criminal acts, but as analysis of the military’s documents on the prisoners has shown, there is no evidence that most of the 465 or so men there have committed hostile acts against the United States or its allies. Even so, what I heard so many times resounding from cage to cage, what I said myself so many times in my moments of complete despondency, was not, “Free us, we are innocent!” but “Judge us for whatever we’ve done!” There is unlimited cruelty in a system that seems to be unable to free the innocent and unable to punish the guilty.

11 Responses to “Former Guantanamo Detainee Speaks”

  1. ethan-p Says:

    Wow, that’s incredibly surprising! I never expected to hear anything like this from a semi-secret federal prison with little or no oversight where “detainees” (not inmates) can be held indefinitely without being charged.

    Oh wait — I misspoke, that is what I expected from semi-secret federal prison with little or no oversight where detainees can be held indefinitely without being charged. That’s why we have the protections that we do under the constitution — because we know that this is exactly what happens. Governments (or to be more specific, certain elements within) are not trustworthy, and we absolutely need protection from that. That’s why people like me aren’t willing to permamantly give up any civil liberties (even when they say that they only want them temporarily).

    What’s surprising is that this guy still has all of his toenails left after his captivity.

  2. treehugger Says:

    Remember when the United States used to lead by example? I miss them days.

  3. leftbehind Says:

    Some interesting background on Mourad Benchellali at Wikipedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mourad_Benchellali

  4. leftbehind Says:

    This is interesting as well:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/06/14/france.attack.ap/

  5. treehugger Says:

    I am very interested in this upcoming documentary about this horrible prison.

    The Road to Guantanamo
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_to_Guant%C3%A1namo

    Could you imagine being held for years without charge, in a secret prison with no rights at all? And then can you imagine that the country that is doing this to you is the US, supposedly the most just societly on the planet?

    Scary stuff.

    Talk about creating enemies. The tactics deployed by this administration’s “War on Terra” will haunt America for a very long time.

  6. ethan-p Says:

    I guess that the Supreme Court seems to think that it’s a bad idea to detain these guys as war criminals…although they didn’t really say much about detention: http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/06/29/scotus.tribunals/index.html

  7. treehugger Says:

    Except for these three…Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

    Big shocker there.

  8. leftbehind Says:

    “The Road to Guantanamo” isn’t a documentary. It’s a “docudrama,” which the Guardian has already criticized for “an insane lack of cool perspective,” even while giving it three stars.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docudrama

  9. treehugger Says:

    I’m sure the right will be quick to discredit all the created footage, while completely ignoring the real footage. Same thing happend with Fahrenheit 9/11. But real footage doesn’t lie and the point got across to millions.

    Oh, the Guardian also gave a “The Matrix” a shitty review as well. So I think I’ll judge this documentary for myself.

  10. leftbehind Says:

    The Matrix was a great documentary, and deserved better from the Guardian. As for “Guantanimo, ” three stars out of five is a pretty good review, but l think I’ll hold my judgement on its authenticity ( the trailer I’ve seen suggests more something more on the drama end of the docudrama spectrum, and there is nothing in the Wikipedia article, or anything else I’ve read personally to suggest there’s a wealth of “real footage” in the film) or its relative worth until I actually see the movie.

    We should plan a documentary film festival some night, you and I. I’ll bring my VHS copies of “The Longest Day,” “The Last Temptation of Christ,” and “Donnie Darko.” You wouldn’t have a copy of “Loose Change,” “The Road Warrior” or “Watership Down,” would you?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_film

  11. treehugger Says:

    Ah, huh?

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