As “closing Guantanamo” looms as one of President Obama’s most visible campaign promises (backed up with executive orders to complete the task within a year), more and more snapshots emerge as to what has been happening in the little sliver of American society at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And in what was once a rarity, soldiers who have served there are now coming forward to tell their stories.
Recent TD interview subject Almerindo Ojeda of [ posted here at TMV] the Guantanamo Testimonials Project hits it out of the park with his own original interview of former GTMO prison guard Army Specialist Brandon Neely. In the interview, Neely describes the sundry experiences of a prison guard in the very earliest days of Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay, including his observations of (and occasional participation in) the various abuses heaped upon the hapless prisoners, observations of disrespect of the Koran and the detainees’ religious practices, a number of acts of kindness, and an amazing catalogue of the experiences of a young, inadequately trained soldier placed by our Government in the unpleasant if not entirely untenable position of guarding a bunch of people who we have later learned by and large shouldn’t have been there but who at the time we believed to be the most dangerous people on Earth.
The A.P. has a feature story following up on Almerindo’s ground-breaking interview.
It has certainly been my own intention to try to do as much as possible to de-bunk the propaganda generated by the Bush Administration and its media allies about who we were and are holding and what we were and are doing at the American-flag waving detention center being run in our name and with our tax dollars at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to demonstrate, by asking as many people as will talk to me, just what their own observations are and have been, in the hope that, perhaps eventually, the truth will set us free. ( And maybe, the truth will eventually help to set the hapless men we are holding there free, and perhaps help to bring that tiny handful of those there who actually might be responsible for nefarious acts of terror… to justice… and not to some right-wing wahoo revenge fantasy… but to justice, in the best American traditions.)
Brandon Neely’s is just one more perspective from someone, unlike you, and unlike me… was actually there.