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Saturday, March 26, 2005

"Calling Franz Kafka, white courtesy phone" 

This is incredible but, unfortunately, not unbelievable.MSNBC - Panel ignored evidence on Gitmo detainee
A military tribunal determined last fall that Murat Kurnaz, a German national seized in Pakistan in 2001, was a member of al Qaeda and an enemy combatant whom the government could detain indefinitely at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The three military officers on the panel, whose identities are kept secret, said in papers filed in federal court that they reached their conclusion based largely on classified evidence that was too sensitive to release to the public. In fact, that evidence, recently declassified and obtained by The Washington Post, shows that U.S. military intelligence and German law enforcement authorities had largely concluded there was no information that linked Kurnaz to al Qaeda, any other terrorist organization or terrorist activities. [emphasis mine]
In recently declassified portions of a January ruling, a federal judge criticized the military panel for ignoring the exculpatory information that dominates Kurnaz's file and for relying instead on a brief, unsupported memo filed shortly before Kurnaz's hearing by an unidentified government official. Kurnaz has been detained at Guantanamo Bay since at least January 2002. "The U.S. government has known for almost two years that he's innocent of these charges," said Baher Azmy, Kurnaz's attorney. "That begs a lot of questions about what the purpose of Guantanamo really is. He can't be useful to them. He has no intelligence for them. Why in the world is he still there?" . . . Justice Department lawyers told Azmy last week that the information may have been improperly declassified and should be treated in the foreseeable future as classified.

There will come a time when America will have to apologize to the world for Guantanamo and for what it is doing there, as well as at its other secret prisons. 'I was just following orders' was not an acceptable excuse in 1945 and it won't be in 2005 either.

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