Back to Index

The prisoners in Gitmo

Paul Simon is angered by complaints about the conditions in which prisoners are being held in Gitmo and he accuses journalists of spreading them. "I couldn't help but noticing that the US is allowing a permanent International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office at Gitmo to watch the treatment the prisoners get. I could hardly imagine any other nation taking such an extraordinary step! I hope the ICRC members brought their Gortex Parkas for those "quite cold" Cuban nights. I also noticed that at the height of the "Brutal Afghan Winter" today that neither the British commander in Kabul nor his BBC interlocutor needed gloves, headgear, or a fastened jacket. Back in September and October, the media were taking delight in reporting that the "brutal Afghan winter" was just weeks away. Climatic and meteorological data are on the internet for one and all to access in just seconds. Given this, I'm just agog at journalists too torpid or biased to check such elementary facts before going off into alarmist reportage".

I agree, but the aim is to get the public to believe that the correspondents are working under intolerable conditions. They are required to stand in the snow or rain rather than report from under cover. Another question is military versus civilian courts for the prisoners. Miles Seeley says: "I never did see the point in military tribunals, since I doubt any highly classified information would be compromised by a civilian trial. Congressional committees leak a lot more than a closed civilian courtroom. Prisoners and trials are one thing- and it is debatable whether these are POWs or whatever- but action in the field is something else. Be too punctilious with these types, and you're dead, since they have no scruples at all". Can Hank Greely tell us if a judge can simply close a court to the public? How does the Freedom of Information Act affect this? I'm sure Paul's beloved newsmen would howl. Would you?

Ronald Hilton - 1/20/02