Cheney took his one-man all fear, all the time show on the road to CBS studios, appearing yesterday on Face the Nation where he assured Bob Schieffer we'll all be murdered in our sleep if President Obama is allowed to shut down Guantanamo.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about Guantanamo. President Obama said it's going to be closed within a year. It's proved to be a little more complicated than perhaps some in the administration thought it was going to be. Now you've got Congress in a real uproar about if these people are brought to prisons in this country. We've had resolutions introduced up there on the Hill that unless the state legislature gives the go-ahead, you can't put them into a prison any place in that particular state. But can we ask other countries to take these people back, Mr. Vice President? If we're not willing to take them back in this country?
CHENEY: Well, we have asked other countries to take them back, and they've refused. I can remember a situation before we left office where we were trying to find a home for some Uighurs, who were generally believed not to be all that big a threat. They ended up in Albania, because Albania was the only country in the world that would take them.
What's left --we released hundreds already of the less threatening types. About 12 percent of them, nonetheless, went back into the fight as terrorists. The group that's left, the 245 or so, these are the worst of the worst. This is the hard core. You'd have a recidivism rate out of this group of maybe 50 or 60 percent. They want to get out because they want to kill more Americans. And you're just going to find it very difficult to send them any place. Now, as I say, there has been some talk on the part of the administration about putting them in the United States. I think that's going to be a tough sell. I don't know a single congressional district in this country that is going to say, gee, great, they're sending us 20 Al Qaida terrorists. It's a graphic demonstration of why Guantanamo is important. We had to have a place, a facility, where we could capture these people and hold them until they were no longer a danger to the United States.
If you bring them to the United States, they acquire all kinds of legal rights. And as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed said when we captured him, he said I'll talk to you guys after I get to New York and see my lawyer. That's the kind of problem you're going to have with these terrorists.
Bob Schieffer's response to the out and out lies? "Let's talk quickly about your party, the Republican Party."
Coincidentally, (via Jeralyn) the Chicago Tribune yesterday published an excellent story about a Guantanamo attorney, Candace Gorman, the "legal rights" these detainees get, and a little bit about the "worst of the worst." The entire article is worth a read, but here's a snapshot:
[Gorman] met Al-Ghizzawi, her Libyan client, in a cramped, airless room -- actually a converted storage container -- at Camp Echo, Guantanamo's isolation facility, where even the lawyers are not allowed to visit the toilet without an escort. Al-Ghizzawi turned out to be a frail, jaundiced man in his mid-40s, dressed in a khaki jumpsuit and flip-flops. He was in leg irons, which were chained to an eye boltin the floor.
"How do I know you are a lawyer?" he asked. Gorman, who had been briefed beforehand to wear a scarf over her hair and to avoid eye contact with Muslim males, nervously showed him several of the pocket-size legal licenses issued to all Illinois attorneys.
Eye contact didn't seem to bother Al-Ghizzawi. He had bigger problems on his mind. Over the next three days, he poured out his story to his new lawyer. After serving in the Libyan army, he'd fled the country to avoid an involuntary extension of his conscription. He ended up in Afghanistan, married a local woman and opened a shop in Jalalabad that sold bread and honey. When American bombs started falling, he moved his family, which now included an infant daughter, to his wife's village in the countryside. But opportunistic locals, enticed by the $5,000 bounty that the U.S. had put on the heads of "Arab fighters," kidnapped him and sold him to the Northern Alliance, an Afghan militia supported by the U.S., which, in turn, collected the lucrative reward from the Americans. Al-Ghizzawi, who speaks English, actually thought he would be safe with the Americans. Instead, he was taken to Bagram Air Base near Kabul and then to Kandahar, where he says he was beaten with chains, forced to pose naked in front of female soldiers, threatened with rape, terrorized by dogs, made to kneel, crouch or stand for extended periods and deprived of sleep for days on end. He was among the first wave of prisoners shipped to Guantanamo.
Her other Guantanamo client is Razak Ali, "an auto mechanic and handyman who had traveled to Pakistan to look for a bride. He had the bad luck of staying at a guesthouse in Faisalabad that Abu Zubaydah, a man the Bush administration believed to be a senior Al Qaeda operative, may have visited."
These, the "worst of the worst," are the majority of those left at Guantanamo:
Despite repeated claims by the Bush administration and its supporters in Congress that the vast majority of the detainees were "vicious killers" who had been "captured on the battlefield," it turns out that only about 5 percent of the detainees were captured by U.S. forces. Most of the rest -- 86 percent, according to a detailed study by Seton Hall University School of Law -- were rounded up by the Northern Alliance or Pakistani security forces in exchange for the reward money, or because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But what is most disturbing to Gorman and the other Guantanamo lawyers is that the CIA knew this almost from the beginning. A classified -- but widely leaked -- agency report from August 2002 concluded that the majority of the detainees had "no meaningful connection to Al Qaeda or the Taliban." Or, as Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, commander of Guantanamo's Delta Camp, told The Wall Street Journal, "Sometimes, we just didn't get the right folks."
Aside from the 14 "high value" detainees who were brought to Guantanamo in September 2006, virtually all of the remaining 241 prisoners are being held because, as Hood put it, "nobody wants to be the one to sign the release papers."
Dick Cheney knows he's lying, not that that's ever stopped him before. But why in the hell is he still getting a national platform to spew his bullshit, unquestioned, unchallenged?
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