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Hannity: Guantanamo is Great, Obama to "Blame" for Binyam Mohamed Release

Reported by Alex - February 25, 2009 -

Sean Hannity threw some rotten red meat to the citizens of “his”America on Monday (Feb. 23rd) with yet more claims that President Obama is endangering right-thinking Americans (and Brits) by releasing prisoners - including West London student Binyam Mohamad on Monday - from Guantanamo. Oh, and by the way, Guantanamo Bay is a model of propriety in line with the Geneva Convention, so what’s this Obama guy kvetching about?

According to the BBC , all charges against Binyam Mohamed were dropped by the US government last year. That’s right: last year, under the Bush Administration, the United States government dropped all charges against Binyam Mohamed, and then left him sitting there to be released on Barack Obama’s watch.

Binyam Mohamed maintains that confessions were obtained from him by “medieval” forms of torture. Indeed, as I watched footage of his arrival in Britain last night on Al Jazeera UK, what I saw was a painfully thin man walking the walk of the mentally and spiritually broken. Too exhausted on all levels to deal directlywith the media, Mohamed issued a statement, which can be read here. In his statement he thanked those who had helped him obtain release from Guantanamo, and said that "I am not asking for vengeance; only that the truth should be made known, so that nobody in the future should have to endure what I have endured."

What Mohamed endured includes:

- rendition to, and torture in, Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan between 2002 and 2004;
- having his penis slashed with a knife;
- being beaten and scalded;
- being transferred out of Pakistan after intervention by a British agent, only to endure a further 18 months of torture in Morocco, where, he alleges, questions and materials relating to him were being received from British intelligence;
- being force-fed during his participation in the recent hunger strike.

There are reports that worries about the political fallout from the death of a British citizen at Guantanamo may have prompted the hurried release of the detainee this week. However, there is no evidence that such fallout would be directed at the Obama administration so much as at the British government, by many of its own citizens, for sitting on its hands. It might also have caused difficulties between the two governments. When Hannity claims that Obama is releasing prisoners as a sop to “the Left” all he is really doing is cynically tossing morsels of putrid red meat to the pitchfork brigade to keep them panting, salivating, and - most importantly - tuning in for more.

Hanctimonious Hannity sneers at us that, “after all President Obama’s blustering accusations,” a recent Pentagon report states that Guantanamo is in compliance with the Geneva convention (Comment: NO, they didn’t really say that, did they? Gee whiz, what a surprise!) However, Amnesty International, detainees’ lawyers and others working in the area of human rights assert that conditions of ongoing, severe solitary confinement and other psychological abuse, incidents of violence and threats of violence from guards, religious abuse and widespread forced tube-feeding of hunger strikers still exist in spite of President Obama's Executive Order of January 22, 2009, requiring humane standards of confinement at Guantanamo. According to a report in the New York Times , detainees’ lawyers say that some prisoners are “so addled by hopelessness that some banged their heads against the concrete walls of their cells. ‘Just let me die,’ one detainee was quoted as saying.”

Sarah Havens, a New York lawyer who has been visiting clients in Guantanamo since 2004, told the NYT that her observations during a recent visit to the prison camp differed from the Pentagon report. “In my experience,” she said, “the conditions at Guantánamo are worse than they have ever been. The detainees are at a breaking point.”

Allowing the abuse of prisoners to continue at Guantanamo Bay hardly sounds to me like President Obama “pandering” to his base. On the contrary, the questions which need to be asked are not about the release of prisoners against whom the Bush administration have already dropped, or were unable to press, charges, but why all of the prisoners are still being maltreated under the new administration. But you won’t hear those questions asked by “good Catholic” Sean Hannity, who might do well to open up his (probably very dusty) Bible and re-acquaint himself with Romans 12:19 * and leave the dispensation of earthly justice to those who are better acquainted with the law than he is.

* Hmmm, isn’t it just a tad ironic that Binyam Mohamed is better acquainted with the spirit of not the letter of Romans12:19 than Holy Hannity!?

You can read a summary of the report on Guantanamo by the Center for Constitutional Rights here. You can download the full pdf here. And to contact President Obama about the ongoing inhumane conditions at Guantanamo you can go here.