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Posted by on Apr 6, 2006 in At TMV | 0 comments

Original Blogging: On Reports On Detainees At Guantanamo

NOTE: The Moderate Voice encourages weblogs of all kinds — right, left and center — to do original reporting so they offer readers more than op-ed style pieces. We often alert our readers to writers who go that extra mile, in the hopes that their sites and original work will be checked out…and that weblogs can better realize their potential as an infotool.

Once again, the highly original site The Talking Dog (which has its own style and content and does not try to copy any other weblog) is offering and original piece of reporting dealing with detainees in the war on terror. TTD always asks precise questions, since he is an attorney…so his pieces are MUST reads because of the questions asks and the original material generated. His latest original reporting starts out this way:

In February and March of this year, a pair of ground-breaking reports pertaining to detainees at Guantanamo Bay were issued by a team from Seton Hall University Law School in Newark, New Jersey, led by the tandem of attorneys Joshua Denbeaux of the law firm of Denbeaux & Denbeaux of Westwood, New Jersey and his father, Seton Hall Law Professor Mark Denbeaux, with assistance by a number of Seton Hall law students (David Gratz, John Gregorek, Matthew Darby, Shana Edwards, Shane Hartman, Daniel Mann and Helen Skinner). For the first time, the reports laid out a detailed analysis and evaluation of data recently made public as a result of recent litigations concerning Guantanamo Bay detainees, including the government’s accusations and the government’s recounting of the circumstances of capture.

He then gives you a summary the reports sets the scene for a Q&A interview:

On March 29, 2006, I had the privilege of speaking to Joshua Denbeaux, one of the lead authors of the Seton Hall studies, by telephone. What follows are my interview notes, as corrected where appropriate by Mr. Denbeaux.

You have to read the entire interview but here’s a small portion towards the end that is among the most fascinating:

The Talking Dog: Is there anything else my readers or the American public need to know about this subject that I haven’t asked you, or do you have any other comments?

Joshua Denbeaux:
Sure. There are three things, three possibilities based on what we know as a result of our analyses of the publicly released data.

The first possibility for why the list of terrorist organizations relied upon by the Pentagon to hold these detainees does not match either the State Department or Patriot Act (Homeland Security) terrorist exclusion lists is because the DOD is simply making it up– it has decided that association with groups makes someone per se an enemy combatant, and there are 164 detainees so “associated” with groups not on either State or Patriot Act lists. One can say it “smells like” the DOD interrogated all of the Guantanamo detainees, established what organizations these men were “associated with”, and then, after the fact, determined that these were “terrorist organizations”; this is certainly consistent with the large discrepency between DOD’s list and the others– indeed, only 20 of the organizations on DOD’s lists are on either of State’s or Patriot Act lists; 52 out of 72 organizations don’t show up on either State or Patriot Act list, and yet, are deemed sufficient basis to hold Guantanamo detainees indefinitely.

The second possibility is also troubling: maybe the Defense Department is right. Maybe these really are terrorist organizations. In that case, what is the State Department doing maintaining lists that allow these people into the country? As far as we know, members of the 52 organizations on DOD’s list, but not on either of the other two lists, can enter the country. Are we allowing terrorists to freely come in?

To find out the third one — and much more — read the post in its entirety.

He also did this original interview with Dr. David Nicholl, a neurologist based in Birmingham, England, and a human rights activist.