Summary: The War on Terror has brought forth many amazing things. Here we look at an example of the US government’s brazen lies, often debunked but still eagerly repeated by journalists. Our leaders rejoice, as a people so credulous are easily governed. Yet Gallup’s annual confidence in government — and similar surveys — show the foundation of the US political slowly eroding. This will not end well for us.
A general’s childlike justifications, clueless about law.
“We’re the good guys — they’re not. … We can quibble over what they were doing on the battlefield when we took them, but every one of them is a bad guy.” (From NPR.)
— John Kelly (General, USMC, retired). He ran Guantánamo Bay from 2012 to 2016.
We were told that the prisoners held indefinitely at Guantánamo Bay — with only kangaroo court justice — were taken “on the battlefield”. That’s the justification for treating them as “enemy combatants“, a term the Bush Jr. administration created, without even the minimal protections allowed “unlawful combatants” under the Geneva Conventions. It’s been debunked endlessly, to no effect. American’s prefer fun myths to dark truths about our actions past and present. We cannot admit our illegal imprisonment and torture, especially often on flimsy evidence.
As small numbers of prisoners are released from Guantánamo Bay, some of them (logically seeing us as foes) take action against us. The US government doubles down on its lies, describing them as “returning to the battlefield”. Many journalists eagerly repeat the lies, such as Fox News’ “More former Gitmo detainees suspected of returning to battlefield“.
The New York Post joins the chorus. The LA Times asks “who should hold militants taken on the battlefield“. (The NYT again shows its quality: the only story they run about “returning to the battlefield” is about Hajji Ghalib — unjustly imprisoned but returned to fight alongside America against the Taliban.)
There are many studies uncovering the truth of these events, easily done even using the US government’s own data. Here is one of the best.
The Meaning of ‘Battlefield’:
An Analysis of the Government’s Representations of ‘Battlefield’ Capture and ‘Recidivism’ of the Guantánamo Detainees
Mark Denbeaux (Prof of Law, Seton Hall U), Joshua W. Denbeaux and R. David Gratz (Denbeaux & Denbeaux).
December 2007. From the Seton Hall Center for Policy and Research.
See their other blockbuster reports and the Wikipedia entry.
Abstract. Red emphasis added.
The Department of Defense has continually relied upon the premise of battlefield capture to justify the indefinite detention of so-called enemy combatants at Guantánamo Bay. The battlefield capture proposition – although proven false in almost all cases – has been an important proposition for the Government, which has used it to frame detainee status as a military question as to which the Department of Defense should be granted considerable deference. Further, just as the Government has characterized detainee’s initial captures as on the battlefield, Government officials have repeatedly claimed that ex-detainees have returned to the battlefield, where they have been re-captured or killed.
Implicit in the Government’s claim that detainees have returned to the battlefield is the notion that those detainees had been on a battlefield prior to their detention in Guantánamo. Revealed by the Department of Defense data, however, is that…
- only twenty-one (4%) of 516 Combatant Status Review Tribunal unclassified summaries of the evidence alleged that a detainee had ever been on any battlefield;
- only twenty-four (5%) of unclassified summaries alleged that a detainee had been captured by United States forces; and
- exactly one of 516 unclassified summaries alleged that a detainee was captured by United States forces on a battlefield.
Just as the Government’s claims that the Guantánamo detainees were picked up on the battlefield, fighting American forces, trying to kill American forces, do not comport with the Department of Defense’s own data, neither do its claims that former detainees have returned to the fight. The Department of Defense has publicly insisted that just short of thirty former Guantánamo detainees have returned to the battlefield, where they have been re-captured or killed, but to date the Department has described at most fifteen possible recidivists, and has identified only seven of these individuals by name. According to the data provided by the Department of Defense…
- at least eight of the fifteen individuals alleged by the Government to have returned to the fight are accused of nothing more than speaking critically of the Government’s detention policies;
- ten of the individuals have neither been re-captured nor killed by anyone;
- and of the five individuals who are alleged to have been re-captured or killed, the names of two do not appear on the list of individuals who have at any time been detained at Guantánamo, and the remaining three include one individual who was killed in an apartment complex in Russia by local authorities and one who is not listed among former Guantánamo detainees but who, after his death, has been alleged to have been detained under a different name.
Thus, the data provided by the Department of Defense indicates that every public statement made by Department of Defense officials regarding the number of detainees who have been released and thereafter killed or re-captured on the battlefield was false.
———————————— See the full report. ————————————
For More Information
For more information see the Seton Hall Report “A Profile of 517 Detainees through Analysis of Department of Defense Data“.
Be skeptical of analysis about our wars: Rambo & James Bond taught us about Afghanistan’s mujahideen. Also see The first rule of American war is not to believe what we’re told. and The Big List of Lies by our Leaders. Post it everywhere to change America.
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