The Pentagon reports that, of the hundreds of innocent civilians who were kidnapped in Afghanistan and elsewhere, held without habeas corpus rights or arrest warrants, tortured and humiliated at Guantanamo Bay, and released without charges, they believe 61 have become involved with terrorism.

Keep in mind that these people were released because after enduring years of prison, abuse, torture, shackling to the floor, and other illegal efforts to extract confessions, no credible evidence of terrorism was found against any of them.  Apparently they were only there because Pakistani and Afghani "warlords" turned them over after the US announced cash bounties for terrorism suspects.  Evidence?  Optional.

So they weren't terrorists when they got to Guantanamo.  Some were released years ago - without so much as an apology.  And the rendition policy that put them there is still in force.

Now the Pentagon claims a fraction of them are fighting to do things like end the US occupation of Afghanistan.  Does it make them terrorists?  Does it prove they were terrorists before?

What would you do if you were kidnapped and released that way?  Take the poll.

Of course, you will see this in newspaper and TV reports as Pentagon: 61 ex-Guantanamo inmates return to terrorism. [Apparently the actual number is 2 -- see the Update below.]

The Pentagon knows it doesn't have to point to a single act of terrorism - prior to their incarceration at Gitmo, or today.  They're Arabs.  They're Muslims.  This is the same America that said - "Since Osama bin Laden is from Saudi Arabia and fought in Afghanistan, we should attack Iraq."  So the Pentagon knows how we'll think today: "Any Arab who wants the Americans out of Afghanistan has probably always been a secret terrorist" - so no one will blink.  Every outlet will obediently, unquestioningly print the "inmates return to terrorism" headline.  Even though the reason they were released is, they were obviously innocent.

Fact is, the bar for release from Guantanamo couldn't be any higher.  Those released inmates are likely even more innocent than the Uyghers - members of a persecuted Chinese religious minority who fled to Afghanistan.  The Pentagon admitted years ago that the Uyghurs are also innocent of terrorism - but nonetheless, they are still being held at Guantanamo Bay without charge.  We're imprisoning them to stay on the safe side - they're Muslims too, after all.

Take the poll and answer: What would you do if you were innocent of any crime, kidnapped by a foreign government, abused and tortured for years, and released without charges or apology - and the foreign government that kidnapped you was still asserting its right to hold people like you without charges?  What if that foreign force was still occupying your home country?  Take the poll.

UPDATE: While the clear purpose of the Pentagon's "ex-Guantanamo inmates return to terrorism" propaganda is to stoke fear of the innocent people still being held there - and to make closing it seem like a security (and thus a political) problem - this diary and poll took the claims at face value to underscore how Guantanamo can indeed create grievances, and terrorists.  

As several Comments here point out, these Pentagon claims about "terrorist recidivism" are also lies.  In the Pentagon's analysis, anyone who publicly disagrees with US policy has joined the "terrorists".

They have counted people as ‘returning to the fight’ for their having written an Op-ed piece in the New York Times and for their having appeared in a documentary exhibited at the Cannes Film Festival. The DOD has revised and retracted their internally conflicting definitions, criteria, and their numbers so often that they have ceased to have any meaning — except as an effort to sway public opinion by painting a false portrait of the supposed dangers of these men.

A less biased analysis reveals that perhaps two of the Guantanamo alumni have participated in any violence.

Originally posted to Freiheit on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 06:31 PM PDT.


What would you do if you were tortured and released?

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