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Thread: I Had A Good Time At Guantanamo, Says Inmate

  1. #1
    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://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtm.../08/wguan08.xml

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    mogadishu's Avatar {}"_++()_><.,{}}[":+
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    Maybe he was treated well in Guantanamo, but he was 14... he shouldn&#39;t have been there in the first place. As he said - they stole 14 months of his life, and his family had no idea where he was. But the bottom line is that 3 teenagers were released. There are still hundreds of prisoners being held illegaly. Now the military wants us to think they are good people because they released an innocent 15 year old who they flew across the atlantic in a hood, kept in solitary confinement, and then imprisoned for over a year. Now why isn&#39;t this story being picked up by the US Media. If an American kid went missing every media outlet would be having a shitfit.. lining up interviews, getting analysis... What happened to this kid is 10x worse than what happened to jessica lynch, but do you see him getting a million dollar contract from Viacom? I think not. Instead, he returns to live in poverty and the violence that was supposed to be gone in afghanistan. We are so distracted by iraq that no one notices all the bloodshed in afghanistan; how the taliban and al quada are making a comeback. Ugh... the fact that we are reporting the kid was happy and not about the illegality of his detention makes me want to puke.
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  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    mogadishu's Avatar {}"_++()_><.,{}}[":+
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    Originally posted by <TROUBLE^MAKER>@10 February 2004 - 16:23
    One of the boys was just 11 when he was detained.

















    Think about that -- why isnt that causing a media uproar? ELEVEN FUCKING YEARS OLD&#33;
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  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
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    A strange news report. The first 80% is spent confirming that these juveniles were treated correctly and that this is in some way negates any argument that detention without charge or trial is questionable.

    It is only in the last portion that any real feel of both the anger the individual feels regarding losing 14 months of his life and the worry his family have had comes through. In addition there is the captors argument that they were guilty of being pro Taliban Pashtuns - in which case they may as well lease the whole of Cuba as they are going to need the space.

    The question really needs to be asked why it took so long to determine that the might of the US combined forces were threatened by an 11 year old so much it required his detention away from his family and country for 14 months. These Afghans must be pretty scary people.
    Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum


  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
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    And what possible excuse for not informing his family where he was for 10 months?

    Any compensation for him for being "detained" for so long before being released without charge? Appears not.

    The camp he was held in (Camp Iguana) has never been subject to complaints other than they shouldnt be held there as far as im aware of. Camp X Ray was the one with the complaints of other Human Rights abuses and Camp Delta to a much lesser extent.


    However, i think everyone knows what everyone thinks re: Cuba

    Yet another we cant agree on

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    I sent GW a letter asking him to grant that kid US citizenship .

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    Originally posted by mogadishu@10 February 2004 - 23:27
    Maybe he was treated well in Guantanamo, but he was 14... he shouldn&#39;t have been there in the first place. As he said - they stole 14 months of his life, and his family had no idea where he was. But the bottom line is that 3 teenagers were released. There are still hundreds of prisoners being held illegaly. Now the military wants us to think they are good people because they released an innocent 15 year old who they flew across the atlantic in a hood, kept in solitary confinement, and then imprisoned for over a year. Now why isn&#39;t this story being picked up by the US Media. If an American kid went missing every media outlet would be having a shitfit.. lining up interviews, getting analysis... What happened to this kid is 10x worse than what happened to jessica lynch, but do you see him getting a million dollar contract from Viacom? I think not. Instead, he returns to live in poverty and the violence that was supposed to be gone in afghanistan. We are so distracted by iraq that no one notices all the bloodshed in afghanistan; how the taliban and al quada are making a comeback. Ugh... the fact that we are reporting the kid was happy and not about the illegality of his detention makes me want to puke.
    Not a very flattering post, but one that must be thought about. What is going in Cuba, who is controlling it, what is the method behind the madness?

    Who is accountable, do we let the innocent and guilty sit and rot forever arbitrarily?
    Aren't we in the trust tree, thingey?

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    Originally posted by hobbes+10 February 2004 - 23:21--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (hobbes @ 10 February 2004 - 23:21)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-mogadishu@10 February 2004 - 23:27
    Maybe he was treated well in Guantanamo, but he was 14... he shouldn&#39;t have been there in the first place. As he said - they stole 14 months of his life, and his family had no idea where he was. But the bottom line is that 3 teenagers were released. There are still hundreds of prisoners being held illegaly. Now the military wants us to think they are good people because they released an innocent 15 year old who they flew across the atlantic in a hood, kept in solitary confinement, and then imprisoned for over a year. Now why isn&#39;t this story being picked up by the US Media. If an American kid went missing every media outlet would be having a shitfit.. lining up interviews, getting analysis... What happened to this kid is 10x worse than what happened to jessica lynch, but do you see him getting a million dollar contract from Viacom? I think not. Instead, he returns to live in poverty and the violence that was supposed to be gone in afghanistan. We are so distracted by iraq that no one notices all the bloodshed in afghanistan; how the taliban and al quada are making a comeback. Ugh... the fact that we are reporting the kid was happy and not about the illegality of his detention makes me want to puke.
    Not a very flattering post, but one that must be thought about. What is going in Cuba, who is controlling it, what is the method behind the madness?

    Who is accountable, do we let the innocent and guilty sit and rot forever arbitrarily? [/b][/quote]
    Are you suggesting we use the "Take no prisoners" policy like the Taliban ?

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    Answer the question, don&#39;t dodge it. I made no such suggestion.

    Why can we not ascertain who is a threat, who is not, and make some decisions.

    Why are we, as Americans, not informed of the progress?

    Should these people be detained forever, with no charges ever having been made?
    Aren't we in the trust tree, thingey?

  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
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    l have an Afghan friend who has recently returned from Afghanistan. He is a Pashtoun, and was heavily involved with the mujahadin during the Russian occupation. lt was him that l went in with. He tells me that talk of the Taliban regaining control is bullshit. He is related to the local warlord from his home city of Kandaha. The US has done a deal with the warlords to secure their areas, with the promise of funding as long as there is no dissent. It is they that are repressing the people now, not the Taliban, and, according to him, are far worse than the Taliban ever were. The US knows this, obviously, but find it easier to blame someone else for the consequenses of their actions. People should never forget that the CIA set up the schools in Pakistan that trained the Taliban, and then financed their push accross Afghanistan. All this was for the gas pipeline. The deal with the warlords is for the same reason.



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