leviticus
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"I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 7:41 am


I had a good time at Guantanamo, says inmate
By Rajeev Syal
(Filed: 08/02/2004)


An Afghan boy whose 14-month detention by US authorities as a terrorist suspect in Cuba prompted an outcry from human rights campaigners said yesterday that he enjoyed his time in the camp.

Mohammed Ismail Agha, 15, who until last week was held at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, said that he was treated very well and particularly enjoyed learning to speak English. His words will disappoint critics of the US policy of detaining "illegal combatants" in south-east Cuba indefinitely and without trial.

In a first interview with any of the three juveniles held by the US at Guantanamo Bay base, Mohammed said: "They gave me a good time in Cuba. They were very nice to me, giving me English lessons."

Mohammed, an unemployed Afghan farmer, found the surroundings in Cuba at first baffling. After he settled in, however, he was left to enjoy stimulating school work, good food and prayer.

"At first I was unhappy . . . For two or three days [after I arrived in Cuba] I was confused but later the Americans were so nice to me. They gave me good food with fruit and water for ablutions and prayer," he said yesterday in Naw Zad, a remote market town in southern Afghanistan close to his home village and 300 miles south-west of Kabul, the capital.

He said that the American soldiers taught him and his fellow child captives - aged 15 and 13 - to write and speak a little English. They supplied them with books in their native Pashto language. When the three boys left last week for Afghanistan, the soldiers looking after them gave them a send-off dinner and urged them to continue their studies.

"They even took photographs of us all together before we left," he said. Mohammed, however, said he would have to disappoint his captors by not returning to his studies. "I am too poor for that. I will have to look for work," he said.

Mohammed said his detention began in November 2002 when he and a friend, both unemployed, left their farming community for Lashkar Gah, a nearby town. He said that as they stood outside a shop they were detained by a group of armed men who accused them of being members of the Taliban, the fundamentalist Islamic movement formerly in power in Afghanistan.

They were then handed over to US soldiers, who took them to the southern city of Kandahar, he claimed. They were taken to Bagram air base, where Mohammed was held in solitary confinement.

"They were asking me if I was Taliban. I said, 'No, I am innocent'. I thought they were going to release me but instead they put me on a plane," he said. "They asked me to wear a hood for part of the journey. When I got off the plane I was in Cuba."

While Mohammed praised the American soldiers who watched over him, he criticised the US authorities for failing to contact his parents for 10 months to let them know that he was alive. "They stole 14 months of my life, and my family's life. I was entirely innocent: just a poor boy looking for work," he said.

Mohammed and his fellow juvenile detainees returned to Afghanistan last week, after the intervention of the International Committee of the Red Cross. His words of praise for the American soldiers in Guantanamo Bay echo those of Faiz Mohammed, an elderly Afghan farmer who was detained at the base for eight months before being released in October 2002.

"They treated us well. We had enough food. I didn't mind [being detained] because they took my old clothes and gave me new clothes," said the farmer, who was partially deaf.

Camp Delta, which superseded the temporary Camp X-Ray, and Camp Iguana, a lower-security detention facility for juveniles, were established as part of President George W Bush's "war on terror".

More than 600 suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects have been held without charge at the barbed-wire camps since December 2001. They include nine Britons and three British residents.

Human rights agencies such as Amnesty International have alleged that the detention of the boys contravened the Geneva Convention, saying the separation from their families amounted to a form of mental torture. One of the boys was just 11 when he was detained.

The US authorities insist that age plays no role in deciding who constitutes a threat. "Age is not a determining factor in detention. We detain enemy combatants who engaged in armed conflict against our forces or provided support to those fighting against us," said a Pentagon spokesman.

Another US government official contradicted Mohammed's claims that he was entirely innocent when detained. The official said last week that one of the three boys had told of being conscripted into an anti-American militia group; a second said that he was abducted by the Taliban and forced to train and fight; while the third was studying in an extremist mosque and captured while preparing to obtain weapons.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;$sessionid$JIFJI0XVBQW0DQFIQMFSFF4AVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2004/02/08/wguan08.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/02/08/ixworld.html




[Edited 2004-02-10 23:44:05]
 
777236ER
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 7:44 am

Maybe he did have a good time. That's far from the point.

He was still held, without charge or trial, not found guilty and with precious little proof. Oh, and he was 15.

Whether he had a good time or not isn't the problem.
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L-188
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 7:47 am

Well this won't shut groups that support terrorism, such as Human Rights watch, The ACLU and Amnesty International up. Do I forsee those pinheads screaming Stockhom Syndrome B.S. ....absolutely!

"They were asking me if I was Taliban. I said, 'No, I am innocent'

ROTFLMAO!!!

Anybody remember that line that Sgt Bower tells Major Eisman in the Dirty Dozen?

"1st thing in prison, everybody is innocent!"
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STT757
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 7:52 am

""1st thing in prison, everybody is innocent!"

Got that right!

From the eldest Mafioso to the youngest Taliban they know the routine, "who me"?..

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srbmod
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 7:56 am

 
B747-437B
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:10 am

The core issue here is that an innocent 14-year old boy was kidnapped from his country and imprisoned for over a year halfway across the world from his family.

I'd love to see the reaction tomorrow if the Syrians/Iranians/Pakistanis went into Ohio tomorrow, kidnapped an American teenager in JROTC and held him in a 5-star resort as an "enemy combatant" for a year while they "investigated".

Double standards? You be the judge.
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Sonic
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:20 am

I would quite believe that he had a good time. I remember in some 1995 year when the economical situation here was really bad some Lithuanian man went to Sweden and threatened to destroy power plant. As it appeared later, he did so only to get into Swedish prison...

What's really bad for one person can be really good for other... But the point is not here, as some people noted. The point is that these war prisoners are held without trials there and they are not actually asked werether they wants it. Don't get me wrong, I really do not say that you should ask prisoners werether they wants to be in prison, I am just saying that a single person's opinion can't represent whole bunch of people. If you would somehow independently question them and they all would say (under no pressure) that they wants to be in Guantanamo, then and just then the point of this topic (that Afghans likes to be in Guantanamo, if I understood it correctly) would be clarified.

(some) people from some very poor countries would probably even agree to submit to slavery in advanced state (e.g. USA), but would this make slavery moral?
 
L-188
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:25 am

Sonic, a statistic came out a few months ago that each gitmo detainee has gained something like 20 kilo's since they arrived.
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pacificjourney
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:30 am

" ... each gitmo detainee has gained something like 20 kilo's ..."

Obviously prep for their citizenship exams ....
" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
 
petertenthije
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 9:10 am

L-188: Well this won't shut groups that support terrorism, such as Human Rights watch, The ACLU and Amnesty International up.

Now I don't know the HRW and the ACLU, but I do know Amnesty. I don't think they support terrorism, do you?
Attamottamotta!
 
L-188
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 9:13 am

Well they are screaming for all those terrorists and detainees to be released!
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777236ER
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 9:16 am

Well they are screaming for all those terrorists and detainees to be released!

They're screaming for them to have legal representation, charges and trials. Not too much to ask?
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L-188
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 9:19 am

Those that require that will have that, they have been working on the intricaies of the trials for a while now.

And a lot of those that are not deserving of charges have been released, these three kids being the latest example.

OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
Sonic
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 9:33 am

L-118, well, the number of kilos they've got can't be an indicator werether they likes to be there or not. Of course, probably they have a more balanced diet in Guantanamo than they did in Afghanistan. But food is not only thing a human being needs... There is also freedom, fatherland, honour, etc. Not saying that everybody needs those - some people are quite "animal-like" (sorry for the word) in this case. However, others are much more idealistic and has more values.
 
Goose
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 9:37 am

There's no real legal precedent for trials for the folks detained at Gitmo. That's part of the problem....

Every time terrorists have been tried - whether it be in Italy, Germany, or by Scottish judges in the case of the Lockerbie bombing - criminal laws have always applied, not the Geneva Convention.

It's hard to slice it. I don't think you'll make everyone happy, whichever way the US government decides to go when it comes to prosecuting those folks.
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LHMark
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:16 am

I didn't realize Camp X-Ray had a ball crawl.
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photopilot
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:29 am

Anybody remember that line that Sgt Bower tells Major Eisman in the Dirty Dozen?
"1st thing in prison, everybody is innocent!"


First thing, it's Major Reisman (Lee Marvin) in the film and the sergeants name is Sgt. Bowen.
Everybody in that prison was there because of being found guilty in a fair trial.
As to the kid released from Cuba.....
The kidnapped Afgan citizens in Gitmo have never been charged, never had a fair trial therefore they must be "presumed innocent" until proven guilty. For the Americans to practice a policy that can only be described as the "law of the jungle, American style" is hypocrisy, plain and simple.
 
DC10GUY
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:45 am

I think the TSA here at home should build some "camp x-rays" here. It looks like the Guantanamo camps are going to be a great Bush success story.
Next time try the old "dirty Sanchez" She'll love it !!!
 
L-188
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:28 am

Sorry, didn't remember the spellings, thanks for the correction Photopilot.

But you are incorrect about something.

Jefferson was conviicted for murder when it really was an act of self defense......remember

Or maybe I should have just let those cracker bastards go ahead and castrate me

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photopilot
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 12:47 pm

Jefferson was conviicted for murder when it really was an act of self defense......remember

Or maybe I should have just let those cracker bastards go ahead and castrate me


How right you are L188, so the trial for Jefferson (Jim Brown) was indeed "unfair", but there WAS a trial, something the Gitmo prisoners don't even get. Jefferson also had legal representation (lousy as it turned out) and did have formal charges against him. Again something the Gitmo prisoners don't have.

But hey, didn't you just love Telly Savalas as Archer Maggot? He sure came from the shallow end of the gene pool.
Other great roles in the film were John Cassavettes as Victor Franko, Donald Sutherlannd as Vernon Pinkley, and Charles Bronson as Joseph Wladislaw.

By the way, the novel by E.M. Nathanson sits on my bookshelf. Great book.
Steve
 
L-188
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 2:49 pm

See, I have never read the book. That is probably where I have screwed up the names, I don't recall them ever using Maggots name, just the his initials during the starting sceens, when Sgt Bowen is reading the roster for the first time.

But still, there still is no evidence for you to claim that those fella's are going to never get a trial. Those that need one will get one.

And something like 600 of those that haven't so far, have been released.
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Krushny
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"I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Wed Feb 11, 2004 9:31 pm

My uncle also had some good times when he was imprisoned for a couple of years after our Civil War, for some time he was even under a death sentence which fortunately was commuted later. His cellmate was an Irish Brigadist who taught him English, very useful for my uncle as he later made a living by teaching English. He got something from his prison time but still this does not make fair what the Franquist state did to him.
My father could say similar things about the year he spent in various concentration camps in Spain. Hey they even fed him when half of the countrys population was starving ! And he had the opportunity to visit Africa!
 
777236ER
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Thu Feb 12, 2004 3:06 am

And a lot of those that are not deserving of charges have been released, these three kids being the latest example.

And a lot haven't. Don't you find a problem with the US detaining kids, without charges, indefinatly? That's what happened to these kids.

Most haven't been charged with anything whatsoever.
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commander_rabb
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Thu Feb 12, 2004 3:26 am

Ah my favorite subject.

Yes, let the trials begin. And let the guilty verdicts roll in.

End of story.



Mohammed Ismail "Havin' a good time" Agha

Sorry to disappoint the critics of the US policy of detaining "illegal combatants.





 
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scbriml
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Thu Feb 12, 2004 3:46 am

Well they are screaming for all those terrorists and detainees to be released!

Does the phrase "Innocent until proven guilty" ring any bells?
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Greg
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Thu Feb 12, 2004 3:50 am

Not when it applies to known terrorists or suspected enemies of the State.
 
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scbriml
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Thu Feb 12, 2004 3:59 am

Not when it applies to known terrorists or suspected enemies of the State.

And you know this because:
1 - GWB or the CIA or the TSA says they are
2 - They're Muslims, so they must be terrorists
3 - They just look like terrorists

Even war criminals get a trial. Even mass murderers get a trial. Even Timothy McVeigh (sp?) got a trial.

With attitudes like that, you wonder why so much of the civilised world hates America  Insane

And just to put the record straight, I'm ashamed that the leader of my country followed GWB like a lap-dog into this totally unjustified war. If there was any kind of credible political opposition in the UK, TB would soon be out of a job.

[edited for additional comment]

[Edited 2004-02-11 20:06:58]
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Banco
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:03 am

Greg, if the concept of justice doesn't apply to everybody then it is meaningless. How can detention without trial equate to justice?

The US constitution embodies the rights of the individual. Are these rights not universal? How can you not see the contradiction?

To be honest, I expect better of the US. I'm disappointed.
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leviticus
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:07 am


Banco, as far as I know the US constitution only applies to residents or citizens of the US of A, or am I wrong ?
 
777236ER
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:07 am

Not when it applies to known terrorists or suspected enemies of the State.

Suspected enemies?! So now anyone suspected of being an enemy of the State should be locked up indefinatly, without charges, trial or lawyers?!
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Banco
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:13 am

Leviticus, of course the US constitution only applies to the US, but the values are meant to be universal.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
photopilot
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:22 am

Not when it applies to known terrorists or suspected enemies of the State.

Holy smokes Greg... how can you write nonsense like that.

"know terrorists"...... "suspected enemies".....and how do you know that? Were they charged with something? Was EVIDENCE presented at trial? Did they have legal representation? Was the media, Red Cross, Amnesty International or United Nations observers present to see that recognized international legal standards were maintained? Were the detainees read their Miranda rights, or were those conveniently beaten or tortured out of them?

And when some of the other posters state that they will eventually get a trial, well I ask you WHEN this will occur? In the year 2025??

Unfortunately, the U.S. Government is attempting to suck and blow at the same time. Justifying the "war" as upholding democracy, human rights and freedom, while at the same time perverting those same values by denying those same rights by keeping the captives at Gitmo.

Allow me to quote from the U.S. Constitution -- 6th Amendment. Don't argue with me or accuse me of being a US basher. Argue instead with your own Constitution and justify THAT to me.

As the 6th Amendment states......

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

In the Annotations to the 6th Amendment, it goes on to state.....

The right to a speedy trial may be derived from a provision of Magna Carta and it was a right so interpreted by Coke. Much the same language was incorporated into the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 and from there into the Sixth Amendment. Unlike other provisions of the Amendment, this guarantee can be attributable to reasons which have to do with the rights of and infliction of harms to both defendants and society. The provision is ''an important safeguard to prevent undue and oppressive incarceration prior to trial, to minimize anxiety and concern accompanying public accusation and to limit the possibility that long delay will impair the ability of an accused to defend himself.'' The passage of time alone may lead to the loss of witnesses through death or other reasons and the blurring of memories of available witnesses. But on the other hand, ''there is a societal interest in providing a speedy trial which exists separate from and at times in opposition to the interests of the accused.

Don't get me wrong. Hold a FAIR trial under recognized international standards as I have outlined and if they are found guilty, I'll be the first one to publically state.... "pull the switch" on the chair. But until that day, Americans and their government do not have my respect.

Steve
 
IndianGuy
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:14 pm

PRETTY LAME! Even by GWB's standards!
F
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leviticus
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RE: "I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo"

Sat Feb 14, 2004 7:38 am


Here is a BBC report of the story, interesting interview with the guy.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/video/39858000/rm/_39858411_guant18_north_vi.ram

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