Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Guantanamo 'better than Belgian jails'

From News.com.au:
Inmates at Guantanamo Bay prison are treated better than in Belgian jails, an expert for Europe's biggest security organisation said today after a visit to the controversial US detention centre in Cuba.

But Alain Grignard, deputy head of Brussels' federal police anti-terrorism unit, said holding people for many years without telling them what would happen to them is in itself "mental torture".

"At the level of the detention facilities, it is a model prison, where people are better treated than in Belgian prisons," said Mr Grignard.

He served as expert on a visit to Guantanamo Bay last week by a group of politicians from the assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Mr Grignard's comments came less than a month after a UN report said Guantanamo prison detainees faced treatment amounting to torture.

For the record, the UN never once actually visited Gitmo – TWA)

Many of the 500 inmates in the prison at the US naval base in Cuba have been held for four years without trial. The prisoners were mainly detained in Afghanistan and are held as pat of President George W. Bush's "war on terror".

I thought is was the USA's war on terror. Was it "Franklin D. Roosevelt's WWII," or "Abe Lincoln's War of Northern Aggression?"

Mr Grignard told a news conference prisoners' right to practice their religion, food, clothes and medical care were better than in Belgian prisons.

"I know no Belgian prison where each inmate receives its Muslim kit," Mr Grignard said.

At last, a touch of sanity. It seems to have become worldwide conventional wisdom that US troopers get their jollies by pulling fingernails off of helpless, innocent, “moderate muslim” victims, and no one ever questions just how preposterous the whole idea is. I think part of the issue is that the nattering classes just don’t know anyone in the military. Their sons and daughters wind up in the Graduate School of Bidness, while the kids of the middle class go off to defend their right to never suffer discomfort. Soldiers then easily become some nefarious “them” that it is easy to mentally reconstruct into snarling SS troopers.

With regard to “holding people for many years without telling them what would happen to them,” anyone who fell into enemy hands (on either side) back in 1939 had six years to wait before knowing what would happen to them. And Rudolf Hess had to wait 5 years until the successful conclusion of the war before his trial for war crimes. Had the war not ended in 1945, he would have been waiting longer. As long as prisoners are treated properly, I don’t see any compelling reason why they should not be held for the duration of hostilities. The offering of parole is usually restricted to regular soldiers from whom it is reasonable to expect honorable conduct, and those who believe the residents of Club Gitmo should be freed should remember that the accepted penalty for violation of parole by a war prisoner is trial and sentencing by the Detaining Power – including execution.