As Red Cross officials prepare to inspect the U.S. Navy base in Cuba where 50 al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners are being held, human rights organizations are escalating allegations that the detainees are being
housed under inhumane conditions and should be declared prisoners of war to guarantee them certain rights.
The detainees from the Afghanistan conflict, who have been transported to the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay over the past week, are being housed in temporary 6-by-8-foot pens exposed to the elements, with metal roofs and chain-link fencing as walls. The floors are concrete, but the prisoners are given mats and blankets on which to sleep and pray.
"We're concerned about the conditions, the open cages, the chain-link fence enclosures," said Jamie Fellner, director of U.S. programs for the nonprofit organization Human Rights Watch. "We believe this doesn't meet
U.S. military officials deny their treatment of the detainees is inhumane. The prisoners are being held at the isolated Camp X-Ray until permanent facilities can be constructed…
…Human rights groups have criticized the fact that at least some of the prisoners were hooded during the flight from Afghanistan, saying it violates U.N. rules against sensory deprivation…
…Yesterday, Amnesty International joined the International Committee of the Red Cross and other groups in asking the government to define the prisoners as POWs.
"It is not the prerogative of the Secretary of Defense or any other U.S. administration official to determine whether those held in Guantanamo are POWs," Amnesty International said in a statement. "An independent U.S. court, following due process, is the appropriate organ…"
…Officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross are scheduled to visit the prisoners at Camp X-Ray this week…
The only way for Israelis to have security is, quite simply, to end the 35-year-old Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. Israelis must abandon the myth that it is possible to have peace and occupation at the
same time, that peaceful coexistence is possible between slave and master. The lack of Israeli security is born of the lack of Palestinian freedom. Israel will have security only after the end of occupation, not before…
…Let us not forget, we Palestinians have recognized Israel on 78 percent of historic Palestine. It is Israel that refuses to acknowledge Palestine's right to exist on the remaining 22 percent of land occupied in 1967. And yet it is the Palestinians who are accused of not compromising and of missing opportunities. Frankly, we are tired of always taking the blame for Israeli intransigence when all we are seeking is the implementation of
And we have no faith in the United States, the provider of billions of dollars in annual aid to fund Israel's expansion of illegal colonies, the "fighter of terrorism" that supplies Israel with the F-16s and helicopter
gunships used against a defenseless civilian population, the "defender of freedom and the oppressed" that coddles Sharon even as he faces war crimes charges for his responsibility in the 1982 massacre of Palestinian
refugees. The role of the world's only superpower has been reduced to that of a mere spectator with nothing to offer other than a tired refrain of "Stop the violence" while doing nothing to address the root causes of that violence: denial of Palestinian freedom….
…So we will protect ourselves. If Israel reserves the right to bomb us with F-16s and helicopter gunships, it should not be surprised when Palestinians seek defensive weapons to bring those aircraft down. And while
I, and the Fatah movement to which I belong, strongly oppose attacks and the targeting of civilians inside Israel, our future neighbor, I reserve the right to protect myself, to resist the Israeli occupation of my country and to fight for my freedom. If Palestinians are expected to negotiate under occupation, then Israel must be expected to negotiate as we resist that occupation.
I am not a terrorist, but neither am I a pacifist. I am simply a regular guy from the Palestinian street advocating only what every other oppressed person has advocated -- the right to help myself in the absence of help from anywhere else.
This principle may well lead to my assassination. So let my position be clear in order that my death not be lightly dismissed by the world as just one more statistic in Israel's "war on terrorism..."
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: A November 12 piece, "Fevered Pitch," by Franklin Foer, and a December 24 Notebook item, "Flopaganda," both incorrectly attributed a statement to the Council on American-Islamic
Relations' executive director Nihad Awad. The statement, about the involvement of Mossad and Egyptian intelligence in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, appeared in an unsigned editorial in the March 31, 1994,
issue of the Muslim World Monitor, where Awad was the contributing editor. We regret the error.
[NOTE: We thank The New Republic for making this correction and hope other media outlets that have used similar misquotations will follow suit.
CAIR and many other American Muslim organizations have recently been the targets of a vicious smear campaign based on misquotations, distortions, fabrications, outdated and out of context information, and guilt by association.
This campaign relies on the amplification of prejudice and stereotyping that resulted from the justifiable rage expressed by the American people, including Muslims and Arab-Americans, following the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Every major American Muslim group and leader, without exception, has been the target of these unjustified and politically motivated smears.
We ask that journalists and policy-makers examine the agenda of those who are making these false allegations and to refrain from assisting anyone who would seek to silence the voice of an entire American religious minority or to undermine the President's assertions that we are engaged in a war on terrorism, not against Islam or Muslims.]