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the innocent in camp x-ray(Guantanamo bay)

by brian Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2002 at 9:48 PM

a pakistani held by US in camp x-ray says he and many others are blameless

It had been a long time since anyone in Kotka Miralam Daud Shah, an oasis village near the Afghan border, had received a letter from America. So quite a crowd gathered when the Pakistani postman strolled into the dusty courtyard of Mohammed Azeem's house and delivered the letter. Azeem didn't know anyone in America. The envelope had a pretty stamp of Mt. McKinley and an unusual return address: Detainee, JBC, 160 Camp X-Ray. Even more mysterious, the missive bore the name of Azeem's son, Issa Khan, given up for dead months ago by his family.

Azeem tore open the envelope with the whole village looking on. He recognized Issa's writing, and his sad, ashen eyes lit up. "Kind father, mother and sisters," the letter read. "I'm in the United States. I've been arrested. I hope I'll be released soon, since I'm innocent." Azeem shouted for his wife, Sardara, who tottered into the courtyard, disrupting the chickens; racked by grief, she had suffered several seizures since their son went missing. "Issa's alive!" Azeem cried, adding with bewilderment: "But he's in America."

Close. He was actually in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as a guest of the U.S. military. How did Khan, a homeopathic doctor who (according to his family) had never picked up a gun, find himself 9,600 kilometers from home locked inside a razor-wired stockade? Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has described Guantánamo's prisoners as "hard-core, well-trained terrorists." But according to his family and friends, Khan was nothing more than a fool in love, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.



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In the summer of 2001, Khan, 28, was pining for his young Afghan bride, who had gone to Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan to show off the couple's new baby to relatives. So Khan set off after them, traveling for a week by hitching rides on buses and trucks that were headed over icy, 4,800-m mountain ranges. But soon after he arrived, the war swept him away. After the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance captured Mazar-i-Sharif from the Taliban, his parents stopped hearing from him. "We were sure he'd been killed," says Azeem. Khan was a Pashtun, and the Uzbek conquerors of the city hated Pashtuns.

But the Uzbeks didn't shoot Khan. They scored points with their American overlords by turning him over as a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist. "Issa isn't a Taliban or al-Qaeda," says his dad. "He's a doctor who maybe likes to smoke too much hashish and laze around." Like all prisoners, Khan was shorn of his beard, stripped, forced into a bright orange jumpsuit, clapped into earmuffs so he couldn't hear and black goggles that obscured his eyesight. In chains, he was led onto a plane for the longest, strangest trip of his life—to Guantánamo Bay.

"Don't worry about me," Khan later wrote, trying to cheer up his family. "I'm happy. I've even given up smoking." Like all Guantánamo inmates, he lives in a 2-m by 2.5-m cell with a copy of the Koran for company. For 30 minutes every week, he is allowed out of this cage to exercise with his feet shackled. He and all the other so-called "enemy combatants" were recently moved from Camp X-Ray to the larger Camp Delta several kilometers away, where the Army is busy building an extra 204 cells for future captives.

Most of Guantánamo's 598 detainees are indeed al-Qaeda terrorists. But, as U.S. authorities are finally conceding, the lovelorn Khan—and perhaps as many as 100 other captives—simply aren't. They were grabbed by mistake in the chaos of battle. And last week U.S. officials for the first time reluctantly admitted that this was the case. As Rumsfeld said last Tuesday: "If you don't want them for intelligence, and you don't want them for law enforcement ... then let's be rid of them."

Mixed in with genuine terrorists are a 16-year-old boy, two 90-year-old Afghans ("They look 110," remarked one of the camp's few visitors), a Sudanese TV cameraman from the al-Jazeera network, and scores of hapless Pakistani youths who heeded the cry of jihad and found themselves abandoned and robbed on the battlefield by their fleeing Taliban brethren. Others were packed off to Guantánamo because they failed to pay extortion money to a Kandahar city secret policeman—a supposed American ally—who then denounced them as Osama bin Laden's henchmen.

Guantánamo has, in fact, turned out to be a windfall for America's Afghan confederates. According to Pakistani detainees, the U.S. military paid the Northern Alliance ,000 for each captive who confessed to being a Taliban and ,000 for each purported al-Qaeda fighter. With that incentive, the prisoners claim, the allied commanders grabbed any Pakistani wandering dazed around the battlefield, then extracted confessions by force.

After visiting Guantánamo twice and interrogating the prisoners themselves, officials from Islamabad contend that only eight of the 58 Pakistani detainees had genuine links with al-Qaeda. Most, they say, were wannabe jihadis who were recruited from Pakistani mosques and crossed the frontier last October to join the Taliban after the war began. Their average age is between 20 and 22. "They broke down and cried when they saw us," says one Pakistani official. In Guantánamo, the Pakistani envoys say they asked the American jailors: "Why did you waste your time and money bringing them to Cuba when you could have interrogated them first in Pakistan? Most of them don't have any clue about al-Qaeda." And it is not only the Pakistani government that feels an injustice has been done: Kuwait is demanding the U.S. free 12 of its citizens, whom it claims were relief workers in Afghanistan.

At first, Guantánamo wardens kept the Arab and Pakistani prisoners in adjacent cages. But they were segregated when shouting matches broke out, with each group blaming the other for its misfortune. The Arabs harangued the Pakistanis for allowing the U.S. to launch its attack against Afghanistan; the Pakistani prisoners yelled back that if the Arabs hadn't used Afghanistan as a terrorist base, the Americans would have left everyone alone.

With hindsight, of course, the U.S. military should have screened its al-Qaeda suspects more rigorously and relied less on Afghan bounty hunters before doling out one-way tickets to Cuba. But the Bush Administration was desperate to avert another terrorist attack, and to catch bin Laden. This haste, say human rights activists, led the Administration to disregard Geneva Convention rules for the proper treatment of war prisoners. Meanwhile, a year on, the Guantánamo process has bogged down. Every suspect has been interviewed dozens of times by U.S. intelligence and antiterrorism agencies. Yet not a single prisoner has been brought before a U.S. military tribunal. The Pentagon insists this will happen soon, but mid-level officers say privately that the Bush Administration is moving slowly to avoid high-profile legal proceedings that would reveal a sorry fact: the U.S. mostly netted Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters of only low to middling importance, bagging few of the real bad guys.

Soon, however, a batch of mistakenly detained captives is likely to be sent home. Among the first to "come down the chute," as Rumsfeld put it, are three or four Pakistanis. Back in the village of Kotka Miralam Daud Shah, Issa Khan's family waits hopefully for his return. "We'll send a convoy of cars from the village to pick him up, with music and everything," promises his father Azeem. "Then we'll help him find his wife and baby in Afghanistan." Clutching a photo of his son, Azeem says, "No, I don't hold any grudge against the Americans." Then he adds with a grin: "But after all this trouble, the Americans should give him a job there. Please write this."

http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/article/0,13673,501021104-384884,00.html

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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Oh, well T-Mex Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002 at 5:07 AM
OUR FRIENDLY SOLDIERS IN GUANTANAMO buckhead Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002 at 12:51 PM
Gee T-Mex Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002 at 4:31 PM
tex and shrub admirer brian Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002 at 5:51 PM
,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002 at 7:47 PM
Some questions Sheepdog Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002 at 10:23 PM
Simple Simple Simon Thursday, Oct. 31, 2002 at 8:53 AM
Yeah; you are probably correct Sheepdog Thursday, Oct. 31, 2002 at 9:06 AM
well done bec and mel Wednesday, Dec. 04, 2002 at 7:22 AM
thanks Sheepdog.... lynx-11 Wednesday, Dec. 04, 2002 at 3:30 PM
Historical Amnesia for Bush buddies 000 Thursday, Dec. 05, 2002 at 12:56 AM
Fascist Justice Sheepdog Thursday, Dec. 05, 2002 at 5:31 AM
Sheepdog re the DP Dudley Sharp Thursday, Dec. 05, 2002 at 9:20 AM
I'm not God; I'm just a dog. Sheepdog Thursday, Dec. 05, 2002 at 10:41 AM
thanks '000' and 'Sheepdog'.... lynx-11 Thursday, Dec. 05, 2002 at 11:25 AM
Back to the subject Sheepdog Thursday, Dec. 05, 2002 at 11:31 AM
thanks 'Sheepdog'..... lynx-11 Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2002 at 1:45 PM
. lynx-11 Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2002 at 11:29 PM
Simple Simple Simon Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2002 at 8:22 AM
. lynx-11 Friday, Dec. 13, 2002 at 11:39 PM
. lynx-11 Saturday, Dec. 14, 2002 at 4:08 PM
. lynx-11 Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2002 at 4:21 PM
innocent or guilty, not animals bush hater Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 6:33 AM
bush hater needs to get a new name... sounds gay Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 7:20 AM
Where as... Sheepdog Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 8:29 AM
Simple Simple Simon Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 9:00 AM
don't matter where the money goes, it just goes Sheepdog Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 9:28 AM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 9:57 AM
Simple Simple Simon Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 10:49 AM
don't think so. Sheepdog Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 12:24 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 12:41 PM
Simple Simple Simon Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 12:58 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 3:58 PM
Quibbling again? Sheepdog Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 5:32 PM
. lynx-11 Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 5:46 PM
To Simple Simon Sheepdog Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 6:47 PM
Simple Simple Simon Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 7:41 PM
Ha :) Sheepdog Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 at 7:58 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 12:59 AM
. lynx-11 Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 2:16 AM
Simple Simple Simon Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 9:23 AM
............. ............. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 2:24 PM
Simple Simple Simon Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 2:41 PM
Whew Sheepdog Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 2:48 PM
................ ............... Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 3:03 PM
But, but... Sheepdog Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 3:10 PM
Inventing the Rules As You Go .......... Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 3:44 PM
Simple Simple Simon Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 3:51 PM
Still peddling the finer points of law? Sheepdog Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 4:20 PM
. lynx-11 Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 4:53 PM
Simple Simple Simon Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 4:55 PM
Simple Simple Simon Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 4:59 PM
.............. .............. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 6:47 PM
Simple Simple Simon Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 6:50 PM
hey simpleton ............ Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 7:01 PM
Very Simple Sheepdog Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 8:40 PM
Simple Simple Simon Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 9:08 PM
.............. ............. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 9:31 PM
pop quiz .. Friday, Dec. 20, 2002 at 11:17 AM
Simple Simple Simon Friday, Dec. 20, 2002 at 12:28 PM
. lynx-11 Friday, Dec. 20, 2002 at 1:33 PM
. lynx-11 Friday, Dec. 20, 2002 at 2:18 PM
Simple Simple Simon Friday, Dec. 20, 2002 at 3:40 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Friday, Dec. 20, 2002 at 5:42 PM
Simple Simple Simon Friday, Dec. 20, 2002 at 7:34 PM
. lynx-11 Sunday, Dec. 22, 2002 at 4:08 PM
This is predictable Sheepdog Sunday, Dec. 22, 2002 at 8:41 PM
........... ............ Monday, Dec. 23, 2002 at 4:29 PM
Campers at X ray Sheepdog Monday, Dec. 23, 2002 at 5:24 PM
to humans Sheepdog Monday, Dec. 23, 2002 at 8:49 PM
. lynx-11 Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2002 at 12:01 AM
. lynx-11 Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2002 at 4:47 PM
. lynx-11 Saturday, Dec. 28, 2002 at 4:45 PM
. lynx-11 Sunday, Dec. 29, 2002 at 3:47 PM
. lynx-11 Monday, Dec. 30, 2002 at 8:57 PM
Simple Simple Simon Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2002 at 10:04 AM
. lynx-11 Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2002 at 2:54 PM
Simple Simple Simon Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2002 at 3:18 PM
. lynx-11 Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2002 at 4:39 PM
. lynx-11 Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2002 at 4:54 PM
your as bad as them bec Monday, Jan. 06, 2003 at 12:50 AM
B.A. Marc Tuesday, Jan. 07, 2003 at 3:57 PM
Simple Simple Simon Tuesday, Jan. 07, 2003 at 4:58 PM
I understand your point, S.S. Marc Tuesday, Jan. 07, 2003 at 5:13 PM
Well if you mean... Marc Wednesday, Jan. 08, 2003 at 11:10 AM
Simple Simple Simon Wednesday, Jan. 08, 2003 at 1:24 PM
Thanks, marc Sheepdog Wednesday, Jan. 08, 2003 at 1:58 PM
I'm not disputing that. Marc Wednesday, Jan. 08, 2003 at 2:10 PM
Simple Simple Simon Wednesday, Jan. 08, 2003 at 4:13 PM
Actually, no, S.S. Marc Wednesday, Jan. 08, 2003 at 4:43 PM
Marc BA Wednesday, Jan. 08, 2003 at 8:22 PM
That's fair Marc Thursday, Jan. 09, 2003 at 10:23 AM
thanks 'bec'.... lynx-11 Friday, Jan. 10, 2003 at 3:18 PM
Simple Simple Simon Saturday, Jan. 11, 2003 at 9:00 AM
. lynx-11 Saturday, Jan. 11, 2003 at 4:42 PM
Simple Simple Simon Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2003 at 1:07 PM
. lynx-11 Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2003 at 1:56 PM
Simple Simple Simon Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2003 at 3:40 PM
. lynx-11 Sunday, Jan. 19, 2003 at 4:53 PM
. lynx-11 Monday, Jan. 27, 2003 at 4:28 PM
MA muuuu Sunday, Jun. 15, 2003 at 7:28 PM
Reply to Muuuu Bush Admirer Monday, Jun. 16, 2003 at 3:44 AM
Logical Fallacy debate coach Wednesday, Jun. 18, 2003 at 3:02 AM
The World's Smallest Violin Ffutal Wednesday, Jun. 18, 2003 at 11:50 AM
llllllllll lynx-13 Thursday, Jul. 24, 2003 at 10:37 PM
Whatever Cry me a fucking river Friday, Jul. 25, 2003 at 5:18 AM
pee-pee boy Ha Friday, Jul. 25, 2003 at 5:32 AM
llllllllll lynx-13 Friday, Jul. 25, 2003 at 9:58 PM
Guantanamo..... lynx-13 Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2003 at 8:12 AM
Oh, the Humanity! Ffutal Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2003 at 9:43 AM
maybe we'll release three children, aged 13 to 15..... lynx-13 Friday, Sep. 12, 2003 at 8:13 PM

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