Saturday, March 04, 2006

Guantanamo Detainees' Names Released--Sort-Of

Court hearing records for some terrorism detainees at Guantanamo have been released to Associated Press after the AP filed a "freedom of information" suit against the DOD.

We will be hearing many excerpts from these documents in the next several weeks and most of them will be used to cast more negative light on the Bush administration's handling of the situation.

This will all be somewhat deceptive and inconclusive for the following reasons:

1. The names of those still being held at Guantanamo are not necessarily the same as those in the documents. The documents involve only a partial list of those who have been detained over the past four years and does include some who have been released. Note we do not necessarily know the names of those released, either, making it near impossible to tell who, among those whose names have been released, are still being held or have been released.

2. Many of the statements made by detainees during their hearings contain very embarassing charges against the US military and government. What is not clear, of course, is whether those charges have any merit or have simply been made up out of thin air.

3. Apparently, the Washington Post has been keeping a list of Guantanamo detainees whose names have been recovered from news releases, attorneys, etc. The WaPo list currently contains 450 names. About 490 detainees are held at Guantanamo Bay. About 270 have been transferred or released. This would mean that there will probably be few new names discovered among the 5000 pages of documents released today.

Apparently the government polled the detainees at one point asking if they would mind having their names publically released or not. Most did not return the survey. Many did not answer the question. Most who answered said they would like their names released and 16 said they would not like their names released.

I should think that the records that have been released relate to those whose hearings have been completed. Otherwise the information contained in these hearing records could compromise their status in future hearings.

In the end I do not think that the information released today will make too much difference for those being held. It will just supply more data for the MSM to twist and misinterpret and increase their insatiable appetite to get even more information to enable them to make sense of it all.

In a strange footnote to the story, the AP reports that the court-ordered data was placed on a CD by the DOD and hand carried to AP. Before delivery, however, the CD was recalled because it contained copies of correspondance that was not supposed to have been included.

A correctly-formatted CD was eventually delivered, a little behind the court-ordered deadline but not late enough to make a stink.

How in the world could the DOD make such a mistake! The incompetence in mind-boggling! These are the people who are leading our military in the war against terror. These are the people entrusted with our military intelligence. These are the people entrusted with keeping classified material classified.

And they cannot even manage to hand deliver the right CD to AP.

Personally, I am not much comforted by this adolescent blunder.