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Kurnaz begins: "I left Guantanamo Bay much as I had arrived almost five years earlier - shackled hand-to-waist, waist-to-ankles, and ankles to a bolt on the airplane floor. My ears and eyes were goggled, my head hooded, and even though I was the only detainee on the flight this time, I was drugged and guarded by at least 10 soldiers."

Turkish-born German citizen Murat Kurnaz vanished into America's terror detention system. (photo: AP)
Turkish-born German citizen Murat Kurnaz vanished into America's terror detention system. (photo: AP)

Notes From a Guantanamo Survivor

By Murat Kurnaz, The New York Times

08 January 12


LEFT Guantánamo Bay much as I had arrived almost five years earlier - shackled hand-to-waist, waist-to-ankles, and ankles to a bolt on the airplane floor. My ears and eyes were goggled, my head hooded, and even though I was the only detainee on the flight this time, I was drugged and guarded by at least 10 soldiers. This time though, my jumpsuit was American denim rather than Guantánamo orange. I later learned that my C-17 military flight from Guantánamo to Ramstein Air Base in my home country, Germany, cost more than $1 million.

When we landed, the American officers unshackled me before they handed me over to a delegation of German officials. The American officer offered to re-shackle my wrists with a fresh, plastic pair. But the commanding German officer strongly refused: "He has committed no crime; here, he is a free man."

I was not a strong secondary school student in Bremen, but I remember learning that after World War II, the Americans insisted on a trial for war criminals at Nuremberg, and that event helped turn Germany into a democratic country. Strange, I thought, as I stood on the tarmac watching the Germans teach the Americans a basic lesson about the rule of law.

How did I arrive at this point? This Wednesday is the 10th anniversary of the opening of the detention camp at the American naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. I am not a terrorist. I have never been a member of Al Qaeda or supported them. I don't even understand their ideas. I am the son of Turkish immigrants who came to Germany in search of work. My father has worked for years in a Mercedes factory. In 2001, when I was 18, I married a devout Turkish woman and wanted to learn more about Islam and to lead a better life. I did not have much money. Some of the elders in my town suggested I travel to Pakistan to learn to study the Koran with a religious group there.

I made my plans just before 9/11. I was 19 then and was naïve and did not think war in Afghanistan would have anything to do with Pakistan or my trip there. So I went ahead with my trip.

I was in Pakistan, on a public bus on my way to the airport to return to Germany when the police stopped the bus I was riding in. I was the only non-Pakistani on the bus - some people joke that my reddish hair makes me look Irish - so the police asked me to step off to look at my papers and ask some questions. German journalists told me the same thing happened to them. I was not a journalist, but a tourist, I explained. The police detained me but promised they would soon let me go to the airport. After a few days, the Pakistanis turned me over to American officials. At this point, I was relieved to be in American hands; Americans, I thought, would treat me fairly.

I later learned the United States paid a $3,000 bounty for me. I didn't know it at the time, but apparently the United States distributed thousands of fliers all over Afghanistan, promising that people who turned over Taliban or Qaeda suspects would, in the words of one flier, get "enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life." A great number of men wound up in Guantánamo as a result.

I was taken to Kandahar, in Afghanistan, where American interrogators asked me the same questions for several weeks: Where is Osama bin Laden? Was I with Al Qaeda? No, I told them, I was not with Al Qaeda. No, I had no idea where bin Laden was. I begged the interrogators to please call Germany and find out who I was. During their interrogations, they dunked my head under water and punched me in the stomach; they don't call this waterboarding but it amounts to the same thing. I was sure I would drown.

At one point, I was chained to the ceiling of a building and hung by my hands for days. A doctor sometimes checked if I was O.K.; then I would be strung up again. The pain was unbearable.

After about two months in Kandahar, I was transferred to Guantánamo. There were more beatings, endless solitary confinement, freezing temperatures and extreme heat, days of forced sleeplessness. The interrogations continued always with the same questions. I told my story over and over - my name, my family, why I was in Pakistan. Nothing I said satisfied them. I realized my interrogators were not interested in the truth.

Despite all this, I looked for ways to feel human. I have always loved animals. I started hiding a piece of bread from my meals and feeding the iguanas that came to the fence. When officials discovered this, I was punished with 30 days in isolation and darkness.

I remained confused on basic questions: why was I here? With all its money and intelligence, the United States could not honestly believe I was Al Qaeda, could they?

After two and a half years at Guantánamo, in 2004, I was brought before what officials called a Combatant Status Review Tribunal, at which a military officer said I was an "enemy combatant" because a German friend had engaged in a suicide bombing in 2003 - after I was already at Guantánamo. I couldn't believe my friend had done anything so crazy but, if he had, I didn't know anything about it.

A couple of weeks later, I was told I had a visit from a lawyer. They took me to a special cell and in walked an American law professor, Baher Azmy. I didn't believe he was a real lawyer at first; interrogators often lied to us and tried to trick us. But Mr. Azmy had a note written in Turkish which he had gotten from my mother, and that made me trust him. (My mother found a lawyer in my hometown in Germany who heard that lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights represented Guantánamo detainees; the center assigned Mr. Azmy my case.) He did not believe the evidence against me and quickly discovered that my "suicide bomber" friend was, in fact, alive and well in Germany.

Mr. Azmy, my mother and my German lawyer helped pressure the German government to secure my release. Recently, Mr. Azmy made public a number of American and German intelligence documents from 2002 to 2004 that showed both countries suspected I was innocent. One of the documents said American military guards thought I was dangerous because I had prayed during the American national anthem.

Now, five years after my release, I am trying to put my terrible memories behind me. I have remarried and have a beautiful baby daughter. Still, it is hard not to think about my time at Guantánamo and to wonder how it is possible that a democratic government can detain people in intolerable conditions and without a fair trial. your social media marketing partner


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+46 # BobbyLip 2012-01-08 11:02
It is possible that a democratic government can detain people in intolerable conditions and without a fair trial because in America we no lover have a democratic government, if we ever did. They hate us for our freedoms.
+40 # Doubter 2012-01-08 11:21
"...a democratic government..."
WHAT democratic government?
Of course a democratic government doesn't do those things.
How the hell did I wind up in this weird little rock in the sky?
Paraphrasing: "Everyone is nuts except thee and me, and I sometimes wonder about thee." (and me)
+76 # giraffee2012 2012-01-08 11:34
Even our elections are "bought" - Thanks to the Supremes' "person hood" Decision.

We are NO LONGER A DEMOCRACY in any way, shape, or form.

We are a class society of white elites at the top, down through the middle class (CLASS?), unequal monetary rights for black people, down to the white poor who are used as a volley ball in GOP debates for depending on food stamps to feed their children.

+91 # LaniPuppetmaker 2012-01-08 11:49
I hope you will write a book about your experience! I really, really hope so! Your story needs to be read, heard, talked about!
+78 # Patch 2012-01-08 11:49
In less than 70 years the USA has exchanged places with the Germany of that era. What happened to this man is a travesty of justice. These sorts of stories along with the recent signing of the bill that allows the military to do the same to any one of us makes me very frightened of my government.

To quote Thomas Jefferson: "When the people feal the government there is tyranny; when the government fears the people there is liberty.

It is up to all of us to turn things around. We have no leaders at this time who will do it for us.
+33 # DurangoKid 2012-01-08 11:59
The Republic is dead.
+18 # peterjkraus 2012-01-08 12:07
The only positive about this story is that we´re the good guys.

Dein Horrortrip, Murat, ist unbegreiflich und mehr als beschämend, besonders für uns in den USA, die wir ständig hören wie speziell und von Gott bevorzugt wir sind.
+50 # reiverpacific 2012-01-08 12:12
Gawd -the simple answer is that this is NOT and hasn't been for a long time, even close to being a "Democratic Government" but is getting ever closer to resembling the regime whose leaders the victorious allies hung at Nuremberg.
This poor wretch will probably NEVER get over what was done to him and I wish he could sue for reparations (probably shit-scared now) but I doubt if he'll ever get his mind back.
And your Sec'y of state travels around the world slapping the wrists of "naughty" less-than-democ ratic" regimes, always overlooking Saudi-Arabia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Pakistan -the list is huge but then they are "Our bad guys", as was the late, Saddaam H' and even Bin Laden (Formerly of the US -armed Mujahadeen).
And this doesn't even count the internal revenge-based political prisoners like Leonard Peltier and the still alive and well funded thug-nurturing former "School of the Americas" at Fort Benning GA, now renamed at great length to purty it up.
Democracy -Bah, Humbug! Try another name.
-28 # HJ7 2012-01-08 19:24
Quoting reiverpacific:

And this doesn't even count the internal revenge-based political prisoners like Leonard Peltier

Do you folks deliberately block out the truth?

"In his 1999 memoir, Peltier admitted that he fired at the agents, but denies that he fired the fatal shots that killed them."

Peltier was found guilty by a jury and numerous appeals failed. I hope he lives long enough to serve out his full sentence. His defense appears to be "I tried killing those two FBI agents but failed because I was a bad shot. So I'm a political prisoner"

Evidently there are people who fall for such humbug!
+8 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-08 22:05
Well, if the U.S. was not a liar, then there would be no such thing as "quasi-sovereig nty" (which is like limited infinity) and we'd honor OUR OWN Constitution which provides that Treaties shall be the supreme law of the land, and that F.B.I. Agent was an illegal alien on foreign soil and he very well could have been shot. And even if not, Peltier would have been tried by his own nation in their own courts.

Oh, and as a final matter, you are dead wrong about the law: If you intend to shoot to kill but fail to do so then the most you can be convicted of is felony murder, but NOT murder. As a so-called "nation of laws" that should matter.
+4 # Fight the Reich 2012-01-10 01:54
Bin Laden (Formerly of the US -armed Mujahadeen).
Formerly of the CIA's Afghan opium / heroin cartel, keeping the supply flowing, mostly through the Kyber pass, for the CIA rogues opium supply to make their heroin, under the disguise of "fighting the soviets" for the CIA / USA; Those operations again alive and well since the U.S. / CIA led 'coalition' invasion, and now known locally in Afghanistan as 'the opium smugglers'. Google: > pbs frontline opium brides in afghanistan opium laos afghanistan cia heroin
+42 # Lulie 2012-01-08 12:13
I am so ashamed.
-69 # HJ7 2012-01-08 18:13

The whole story sounds fishy. He is friends of a suicide bomber, he vacations in Pakistan, he writes ant-American propaganda....c ertainly a profile that would warrant further investigation.
+40 # punk 2012-01-08 19:20
the story says that there was NO suicide bomber. they just told him that while he was in prison. it turned out his friend was alive and well in germany! and he wasnt VACATIONING in pakistan! he went there to study islam because he had married a devout muslim. would it sound fishy to you if a jew were to go to israel or someone goes to india to study buddhism? where did you read he writes anti-american propaganda? is this anti- american propaganda? america hung him by his arms for days, but WHAT DID HE DO?? he had a status review and he was released because he did nothing and they knew it. please read the article. either you didnt even read it or there is something wrong with your comprehension.
-40 # HJ7 2012-01-08 21:21
If I wanted to study Islam I would probably go to Saudi Arabia not Pakistan. Better still, I would check out...
+2 # Emil Sinclair 2012-01-09 17:41
...Or he or she is a government and/or government-cont ractor agent/shill/tro ll who is meant to intentionally sow discord, try to provoke commenters to say "illegal" things the government can come after them for, and/or to keep track of and document who is speaking the truth here that the government doesn't want to get out or to be widely disseminated without allegedly being "discredited" by the likes of him or her. Either that, or he or she is simply a private citizen and intentional troublemaker/tr oll seeking to sow discord for their own perverse pleasure, getting off on riling us up. Either way, an idiot (and a useful idiot to the government and its propaganda lies one way or the other---it's not all such people's fault because most "Americans", assuming this person is an "American", are so intentionally and successfully dumbed-down that facts and the truth don't make much if any sense to them; or certainly make little or no difference, and/or aren't important, to them).
+6 # Fight the Reich 2012-01-10 02:26
It's no use, Punk; Reich bobbleheads don't get it ...and probably never will as long as the Reich's brainwashing machine is regurgitating psy ops the likes of Rush Lemburger cheese to keep their minions IQ in the double digits.
+9 # Alexis Fecteau 2012-01-08 21:56
Learn how to read, imbecile.
+8 # disgusted American 2012-01-09 20:17
story doesn't sound fishy at all, and what is being done by America on all "foreign relations" fronts is an abomination.

who are you to judge someone's story?
+6 # Fight the Reich 2012-01-10 02:07
There is a BIG difference between 'investigation' and imprisoning an innocent person without Due Process of Law afforded by both U.S. Code and the UCMJ (U.S. military law). DID YOU UNDERSTAND THAT WORD 'INNOCENT' ...THE REASON MURAT KURNAZ WAS RELEASED??? DOESN'T THAT RING ANY BELLS ABOUT THE PROFOUND REASON / NEED FOR DUE PROCESS OF LAW????? GUITMO LAW IS NAZI LAW ....and I pray to see the day that the responsible NAZIS see their day in court ...hopefully again in Nuremberg.
+3 # 2012-01-13 18:43
HJ7: Where is your compassion? Have you so little feeling for the suffering of another human being that you blame the victim?
+62 # Saberoff 2012-01-08 12:15
A goddamn shame!

"...and to wonder how it is possible that a democratic government can detain people in intolerable conditions and without a fair trial."

We are living under a Fascist Dictatorship; $3000.00 a head.

And now Our Great Leader has signed (under cover of darkness; on New Year's Eve) legislation to do this to U.S. citizens as well.

And I ask you again: when will we stand up and say enough?
+4 # Fight the Reich 2012-01-10 02:37
we ARE standing up and saying "enough already", and it's growing at a rather rapid rate Thanks to OWS / OTW and other like-minded Patriots. We're now in the stage that we should also be in the Godot section discussing ideas and means to carry out Thomas Jefferson's plea to revolt; to depose and uproot the MIC / Amairka Inc / Fourth Reich and get their kingpins into an international court for war crimes and crimes against humanity. .....imho.
+41 # chrisconnolly 2012-01-08 12:21
This is a horror story right out of the dark ages and the dark ages is exactly where our democracy is headed. Now that our militry can arrest any civilian on American soil it sees fit to we are doomed to someday hear way too many stories like this one. We must take back our democracy. Though the Democrats are not perfect they seem to be a lot closer to we the people than the corporate republicans. Vote Democrat this time, PLEASE....
+3 # Smiley 2012-01-09 10:30
Democrats? It was Obama who insisted that the exemption for American citizens on American soil be taken out of the bill authorizing these practices before he would sign it!!
+42 # RMDC 2012-01-08 12:22
It is great to publish this story. Too bad the american MSM won't pick it up. Most Americans still think what Richard Myers and Don Rumsfeld told them is true about the Guantanamo concentration camp detainees being the most dangerous people on the planet. In truth, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and their who neo-con gang are the most dangerous people on the planet. I think most of the world knows this, but most Americans do not. They are the most ill-informed people on earth. They know a lot about pop culture and celebrity scandals (Kim Kardashian) but nothing about what their government does. The US is the most anti-democratic nation on earth. Most people who live in dictatorships know a lot about their government.

Mr. Kurnaz is lucky to be alive. I'm glad that he survived. Even though his story is painful to him, I hope he never forgets it and he teaches it to as many people as he can. Let's all never forget and never let this happen again -- except that it is. The CIA still has many secret torture concentration camps all over the world. Africa is now the hot location. Obama lied when he said the US does not torture people. Obama does not control the CIA but rather the CIA gives him orders.
+33 # cordleycoit 2012-01-08 12:42
This is what happens when the rule of law becomes perverted. The Empires lawyers become creative as does the whole system of 'justice.' I have known some of the men responsible for holding and maybe torturing their fellow man. One was a smart selfish type rising in the bureaucracy. The other was a racist thug a prison guard who thought non prisoners were simply prisoners not yet arrested. Civilians were his enemy.
When a nearby prison had an uprising they dropped the vail of secrecy on how they dealt with the problem.
America is becoming a prison.
+30 # James Marcus 2012-01-08 12:43
This whole 'torture ' affair:
Is ABOMINATION beyond belief. There is NEVER 'reason' to descend to such deprivation. This is Despicable Behavior, Geneva Convention, US Constitution, notwithstanding (in case you need 'Official Documents to find your 'Humanity').
Since U S armed forces are the Perpetrators, Obama is responsible. (that is a PERIOD). May he know his own Humanity, and suffer his own sensibilty of Justice.
+45 # Riohorse 2012-01-08 13:04
Kurnaz is not describing the behavior of the U.S. I grew up in. The experiences he had, together with the right-wing worship of greed here, are disgusting and violate the basic principles of the America of which so many of us were once so proud. Sickening and so, so sad.
+16 # RMDC 2012-01-08 18:12
Riohorse -- I don't know when you grew up in the US but I think these practices have been going on in North America from the first arrival of Europeans. Europeans came to the Americas right at the high point of the Inquisition, the practice of torturing and murdering people for their religious beliefs. The Spainish were the worst, see Bartolome de las Casas, The Destruction of the West Indes.

The French tortured Indians because they were not catholics. The British sometimes tried to found religous tolerant states, but they failed and they always tortured and murdered indians.

The torture of Indians continued up to the 1970s, with medical experiments, forces sterilizations, kidnapping of children and imprisonment in concentrations camps known as Indian Schools.

The CIA formally began its research on torture and behavior modificationi in 1950. Many police departments regularly use torture for arrestees. Chicago is the worst.

So I don't know when you were born or where you grew up. The US has always had a very bad problem with torture.
+13 # punk 2012-01-08 19:25
sorry about this, but NO ONE NEEDS A HISTORY LESSON! people are being tortured RIGHT NOW, and the idea is to STOP it, not pontificate about past crimes. we have tomorrow to take care of, not yesterday. we cant fix yesterday.
again, sorry. torture makes me crazy.
+8 # Billy Bob 2012-01-08 21:22
Don't apologize. If torture makes you crazy you must be sane.
+1 # 2012-01-13 18:50
Right On, Billy Bob!
+14 # James38 2012-01-08 18:55
Riohorse, you are probably not old enough nor have you had the kind of experiences that would allow you to say what the behavior of the US was from the late 1950's to the 1970's. I was an early protester of the McCarthy era, and was hounded by the FBI in a very severe way. I learned what they were up to, and managed to escape unharmed, but it was close. I also was an early protester of the Vietnam Debacle, and was accused of being a communist. Very scary stuff, and it seems a lot sooner than you think. The US bureaucracy and intelligence system is vicious and has been for a long time. They are far less interested in the truth than they are in supporting their interpretation of reality. We live in a screwy world, and the worst of it right now is that we are allowing ourselves to be distracted from the real problem we all face, which is the global threat of Climate Change. Oil and Coal executives who lie about the danger, and world leaders who are so involved in old conflicts and their lust for power, are wasting our precious time and resources. Meanwhile the problem is getting steadily worse. The real question is can we reach a shared awareness of the looming problem before we are too late to do anything about it?
+3 # Saberoff 2012-01-08 20:57
Where I live temps are going into the 50s, and NO snow yet this year (January 9, 2012). I do not believe I've seen anything like this around my hometown in my already lenghthy lifetime.
+18 # Archie1954 2012-01-08 13:44
The reason horrors like this are taking place is because America and the US are on divergent paths. The US is a belligerant empire constantly conquering new territories, wasting trillions of dollars on non existant security. America on the other hand is the shining citadel on the hill. Unfortunately the empire has dimmed the lights in the citadel!
-10 # Cassandra 2012-01-08 15:40
Everyone is bantering around the term "democracy." Can you REALLY define it? It has different meanings to different people.

In its purist/original form in the United States, its definition merely refered to "open and free elections." It didn't mean freedom, fairness, or any other liberal tenents. That came from the insistance of Thomas Jefferson.

What everyone here seems to be referencing are the tenants of John Locke and the Constitution of the United States in their nascent writings.

Today's so-called abuses of power are swaddled in the semantics of what constitutes security isssues. So . . . one must decide whether they are comfortable with giving everyone the benefit of the doubt (habeas corpus) in terms of security issues, or error on the side of caution.
+8 # Smiley 2012-01-09 10:39
In this case to Err "on the side of caution" is to become who we fear.
+3 # Fight the Reich 2012-01-10 02:55
No Cassandra; Habeas Corpus is the requirement, even if by writ, to produce the accused before a court so that THE COURTS and Due Process can judge the accused, to prevent the very thing that the article of these comments is about and prevent places like Guitmo where the crimes against humanity are STILL taking place. It makes no sense whatsoever for our Govt to CLAIM to be the constitutional USA, when in fact they have become a Fourth Reich of United Snakes and are slipping ever deeper into that inhumane toilet every day, against the very principles the USA used to be a world beacon for.
+13 # Billy Bob 2012-01-08 16:15
I always thought I was paying attention. Apparently not.

When did ABU GRAIB close down? Remember ABU GRAIB? What about all of those secret torture camps worldwide ("black sites")?

Why do we always here debate about closing down Guantanamo? I just don't get it. Either we continue torturing people or we stop. What difference does it make where the actual torture takes place?

Is it just me, or does this have the markings of a red herring?

Are we discussing closing Guantanamo so people will assume we've stopped torturing people in the 100 other places we currently do it?

What am I missing?
+3 # Fight the Reich 2012-01-10 02:59
You're not missing "anything", ...except that you forgot to mention over 100 concentration camps already set up in the USA to deal with us that are ready and eager for Thomas Jefferson's plea for revolution.
+17 # Billy Bob 2012-01-08 16:23
By the way, this guy got OUT!

How many people will still be tortured by "our brave boys and girls in uniform" in another 30 or 40 years? It will be interesting to find out that your grandchildren are proudly torturing 80 year olds who were innocent of a crime committed 20 years before your grandchildren were even born.

"Freedom isn't free!"

Yeah right! Just ask the thousands of people being tortured worldwide in the name of preserving all that "freedom".
+23 # Billy Bob 2012-01-08 16:30
And now!

Thanks to Obama signing the "National Defense Authorization Act" we can all wonder if we, as American citizens, can be tortured indefinitely as well.
+3 # punk 2012-01-08 23:00
torture is torture. what does nationality have to do with it? is it any better if america tortures foreigners, and innocent foreigners at that? if youre going to torture, please, keep it 'in the family'. dont go picking your victims from weaker people abroad.
+5 # Billy Bob 2012-01-09 08:16
Nationality REALLY DOES have something to do with it.

If we torture foreigner who have no political voice in our system we can still speak up against it.

If our government starts torturing us FOR SPEAKING UP AGAINST TORTURE ITSELF, who will be left to speak up?
+4 # Capn Canard 2012-01-10 12:24
BillyBob, well said! It does smell like FASCISM...
+2 # Fight the Reich 2012-01-10 03:23
AH, but the Reich has to have "bad guys" / "enemy" / "villains" for their brainwashing to have it's high-tech psy-ops 'threat to security' effectiveness.
+4 # Fight the Reich 2012-01-10 03:03
Americans are tortured behind jail and prison walls every day, especially in military jails and prisons, particularly while in pre-trial confinement; Not to mention the millions that are tortured by involuntary poverty.
+17 # Maryelizmc 2012-01-08 16:35
I too am ashamed to know this is a story about the United States. I believe each of us has the right to be fearful of what will be the next shoe to drop upon we the people in the land of not so free. Yes, please write and speak out to let the whole world know, in particular, the blind and ignorant Americans.Thank yo for your honesty to tell the truth.
+10 # punk 2012-01-08 16:57
this is horrendous! and there are probably 100s if not more cases even worse than his. i get sick when americans whine about jobs and the price of gas when this type of torture goes on.
i know about 1 terrible case that is still on-going. look up syed hashmi. [sometimes called fahad hashmi]
then send him a card. flood that damn prison with cards. he will be in solitary confinement for 15 years over SOCKS that were sent to al quaeda by an acquaintance.

registration number 60011-054
PO BOX 8500

PS scroo that pathetic whining about the economy, unions, PACs, etc. STOP THE TORTURE FIRST

the prison website is
+8 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-08 17:03
I am amazed by guys like this German. They seem to walk in some neutral land I cannot fathom. If I had the same experience as he, I feel I would either implode or explode. But how to be so, well, objective and "calm"???? I don't get it. Unless, of course, the internal emotional conflict between tortured submission and vengeful rage somehow finds a middle ground exemplified by this German.

I am ashamed of the people who did this to him, and I am embarrassed for my country. I want to apologize to our founding fathers but here is what I think they would say to me: "Huck; don't apologize for what your countrymen did to this German. Apologize instead for not doing what we did when faced with a similar evil. And then take your apologies and shove them up your ass, you fucking coward."
+3 # punk 2012-01-08 19:37
but what can we do? send a few bucks to some org that frees 1 or 2 people after 7 years while so many others sit in solitary without end? make a sign, take a plane, and march somewhere? read endless stories like this and worse and then rant on rsn to others who are helpless to change it as well?
+4 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-08 20:43
What can we do? What did our founding fathers do when faced with the evil of a Monarchy. What did Thomas Jefferson advise must be done?
+2 # Fight the Reich 2012-01-10 03:30
What can we do IS the BIG question at hand. I think Patriots that are motivated to, should think out and prepare their ideas well and submit them through RSN's Godot feature, in-effect starting a round table of ideas and discussions to find the best and most humane ways for Jefferson's plea for revolution.
0 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-10 10:13
I think you are correct. I also think OWS is a good start and I hope it takes off with a vengeance, even if some more bread and circuses are provided to prevent it.

Peaceful is always better. Well, almost always. I like to think that had I been part of the 50s/60s civil rights movement that I would have been killing KKK members, but I probably would have been sitting on the couch talking shit like I am now. Better I was on the couch, I guess.

I don't have the balls to march and let some pig's German Shepard bite me while I get a beat down with a truncheon and a fire hose, or get burned or hung from a tree.

I look around today and wonder what is happening now that would cause some guy 50 years from now to sit on a couch and say "Had I been there, I would have been killing XXX." Why am I not doing that?

Oh well, back to the couch.
+9 # noitall 2012-01-08 17:08
Fear is what we should fear. All this is done in the name of fear and in our case, it isn't necessarily OUR fear, it is the fear of powerful people in this country with undue influence over major policy decisions. Our leaders lie their way into office in order to buy their 'freedom' from what they invlict on their constituents, following orders from the powerful rich. It is not as cut-and-dried to say that the people get the government they deserve because there is no way to recall elected officials once it is obvious that they lied their way into office. Instead, we wait for the next election cycle and are inundated again with lies pumped over our airwaves with rich people money. We're hamsters on a wheel. With the freshly signed NDAA, any leadership that emerges can be disappeared just as this fellow was; communications are tapped (for our security and out of fear); the People's voice is muffled by the censorship that is inflicted by those who use the People's airwaves; dirty tricks are played in our so-called democratic processes by the greedy bought; Collusion to these ends are rampant. It very much appears that we have lost this Republic. It was doomed from the beginning by greed, racism, and intolerance. May the world have mercy on us because this too will fall as did Hitler's Germany. Remove the propaganda and America would be amazed by the reality that they see.
+3 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-10 10:17
You nailed it.
+18 # John Gill 2012-01-08 17:08
The straightforward , matter-of-fact simplicity of this account is wonderful in its clarity. The author's humility, and lack of expressed hatred suggest that somewhere along the line he was able to achieve the "good" person perspective he aspired to, and this against all odds. I am heartened by his good fortune, at being one of the lucky ones who managed to win freedom, at the happiness of a fortunate marriage, and at the birth of a beautiful daughter. A human being's story from a human being's perspective. Thanks RSN.
+5 # rhgreen 2012-01-08 19:14
I couldn't have said it better. Thanks, John Gill. I won't bother adding anything else.
+1 # 2012-01-13 19:09
+8 # reiverpacific 2012-01-08 17:14
Quoting Cassandra:
Everyone is bantering around the term "democracy." Can you REALLY define it? It has different meanings to different people.

In its purist/original form in the United States, its definition merely refered to "open and free elections." It didn't mean freedom, fairness, or any other liberal tenents. That came from the insistance of Thomas Jefferson.

What everyone here seems to be referencing are the tenants of John Locke and the Constitution of the United States in their nascent writings.

Today's so-called abuses of power are swaddled in the semantics of what constitutes security isssues. So . . . one must decide whether they are comfortable with giving everyone the benefit of the doubt (habeas corpus) in terms of security issues, or error on the side of caution.

So what happened to the "Free and fair elections" you mentioned?
Democracy is indeed messy and loose ended but "Barbarity", if practiced by ANY regime or state, immediately takes that state out of the realm of even trying to be a democracy. Ask Leonard Peltier, who has been in jail for thirty years on evidence no "democracy" would convict him on; and also ask the survivors of Troy Anthony Davis, recently officially lynched by Georgia to prove how "Free" they are do do it to us!
And that's just inside the country. Look for more barbarity as the police and military Darth Vader squads become indistinguishab le.
+2 # futhark 2012-01-09 15:47
American "democracy" occurs when the plutocratic oligarchy sets up two political parties with ostensibly different platforms, then controls the press to manipulate public opinion in favor of one or the other, according to the whims and interests of the controlling oligarchs. That candidate, once elected, tosses whatever campaign promises he made that are now inconvenient and proceeds to serve his masters, who purchased his office through their skullduggery and propaganda disguised as news.
+2 # punk 2012-01-08 18:53
it is sooo frustrating to read about this and other cases of torture. my head cant wrap itself around torture. i can get there if some info is needed to save a life u know to be in immanent danger and there is no other way to get the info. but people are being tortured in the usa right now and it is not to get any info. it is out and out sadistic. i feel as betrayed and disgusted by this country as if i found out my father or son was hanging the homeless in the basement and beating them out of pure evil. my country is EVIL! and most people dont care, or care to know, or are in denial. and the rest just say 'o, isnt this awful!' the usa has made me crazy, i think. i want the solitary confinement to stop. this is live burial. some of these people did nothing or nothing that even comes close to warrant TORTURE.
and then there are organizations that try to help these people and want u to send them $ for the cause, but NOTHING EVER HAPPENS.
free syed hashmi
-21 # HJ7 2012-01-08 19:10
Quoting punk:

free syed hashmi

WHY? He admitted in court that he had committed an act of terrorism.

"On 27 April, Hashmi pleaded guilty to a single terrorism charge in Federal District Court in Manhattan."

So the real question is why do so many people posting here want a known, admitted terrorist released?
+8 # Emil Sinclair 2012-01-08 20:06
He pleaded "guilty" under extreme duress. Face it, he wasn't guilty of anything. The U.S. has gone completely insane with its unconstitutiona l "laws" that make things which are nothing, out to be "terrorism". But you just don't get it (yet?). If you were put through what people like Hashmi have been put through, you would very likely plead guilty too... just to know that eventually you would "get out"; rather than looking at life in indefinite detention or many more years in prison for being innocent. Stop being a brainwashed, blindly-bowing- to-the-U.S.-gov ernment idiot.
-12 # HJ7 2012-01-08 21:25
Quoting Emil Sinclair:
He pleaded "guilty" under extreme duress.

So he didn't have a lawyer?
+9 # punk 2012-01-09 00:57
he was rarely permitted to see his lawyer who was chosen by the usa gov. there are some rules called SAMs [special administrative measures?] that apply if you are accused of terrorism. u dont get to pick your lawyer without approval of the gov, u dont get to speak confidentially, the lawyer cannot discuss certain things, u dont get to know the evidence presented against you, u basically have no right to full legal representation.
+6 # Billy Bob 2012-01-09 08:17
Admit it. You didn't read the article.
-5 # HJ7 2012-01-09 21:24
Yes Billy bob I read the article. I simply don't choose to believe everything I read. I do believe that a high level of skepticism is a good thing.
+4 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-09 23:33
Try applying that high level of skepticism to your government instead of those who have a high level of skepticism of the government. That would be a better thing.
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-01-10 15:22
That "skepticism" sounds a lot more like selectivism, doesn't it?
-7 # HJ7 2012-01-10 16:32
Since I do not live in the USA and am not a US citizen my level of scepticism regarding my own government would hardly seem to be relevant to this discussion.
+4 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-10 17:25
My bust. I thought you had a dog in this fight.
+1 # Fight the Reich 2012-01-10 04:02
As Soldiers, war Veterans and the relatively few pig-natured police interogators know: MANY men without endurance training will plead guilty under heavy relentless interogation techniques not even amounting to torture, and often within the first 72 hours or-so; And much more so if even "mild" (oxymoron) torture is involved. Senator John McCain pled guilty and ratted on his fellow POWs, ableit under REAL and VERY inhumane torture; But that still didn't keep some of his fellow POWs from nicknaming him 'Songbird'. The reason he doesn't do back flips through a hoola-hoop with his butt on fire about U.S. torture, is because it pales compared to what he experienced and miraculously lived through. And AGAIN ...for the umpteenth time; STRICT DUE PROCESS OF LAW is THE BEST ANSWER to the ill natures humans harbor and many humans will exhibit either by their personal nature or by letting someone else rationalize and brainwash them to think it's OK. I can tell you from personal experience that the brainwashing and temptation of enjoying war machinery and it's wrath is more than allot if not most men care to escape from at the judicial and psychological expense of the alternative of refusing to; Which is the very root cause of the guilt aspect of PTSD. ANYONE who acquires a confession by wrongful / illegal coercion should be subject to the very same penalty of the crime they coerced the confession for. We humans can get very evil if we allow ourselves to; And Due Process again pointed.
0 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-08 22:13
I don't know about syed hashmi HJ7 but I bet I could make you confess to participation in 9/11. Just give me a few hours or days, at most.
-6 # HJ7 2012-01-09 21:30
Yes huck i have no doubt you would enjoy the task. Your claim has the ring of truth, it is no doubt based of personal experience. What you have done and what the us government do are not connected.
0 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-09 23:44
Quoting HJ7:
What you have done and what the us government do are not connected.

+5 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-08 22:26
Oh, and by the way, as one who has studies "terrorism" since 1978, starting at the F.B.I. Academy, I can tell you that the term is so loose as to be worthless. It has no meaning and even the experts back then agreed upon that simple fact, if only behind closed doors. So when you plead "guilty" to "terrorism" WTF does that mean? It means what the victor says it means and the victor is full of shit. It's like "enemy combatant."
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-01-09 08:19
I could torture him into admitting it even faster than that and I didn't work for the F.B.I. I came from a big family of all boys.
-6 # HJ7 2012-01-09 21:32
Wow a competition as to who is more effective in the torture department. Gentlemen that says a lot about you.
+1 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-09 23:43
Don't worry HJ7: We call it "torture" but you would just call it "vigorous questioning" between your begging and screaming sessions.
+3 # Fight the Reich 2012-01-10 04:22
No, that says allot about a LOT of if not most humans under the "right" circumstances. All the more need for BENEVELANT DUE PROCESS OF LAW our greatest patriot forefathers had the brains, souls and bravery to first SEIZE and then teach the world. We somehow lost their lesson to not sleep at the wheel.
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-01-10 15:24
But you have no problem with torture, so you really have no argument against us.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-01-10 15:25
While we're at it, we are discussing what we COULD do. You're obviously getting of on the idea of what ACTUALLY IS being done.
0 # 2012-01-13 19:18
Your casual acceptance of human torture says a lot about you, HJ7!
+5 # punk 2012-01-09 00:50
Yes, he did make that admission. But the ‘act of terrorism’ was that an ACQUAINTANCE of his sent 1 suitcase of SOCKS and rain ponchos to al quaeda. And he made the confession after 2 ½ years of TOTAL solitary confinement. most western countries consider prolonged solitary to be torture/illegal , so his confession would be thrown out. Prolonged solitary confinement induces, at minimum, profound confusion and disorientation, and often a break with reality which can be permanent. He was not competent to stand trial and defend himself after 2 ½ yrs in solitary.
But lets say his admission was true and that he was competent at trial. What sentence would u give someone just for knowing someone who sent 1 suitcase of underwear to alQ? It wasn’t a bomb and hashmi didn’t send it. dont you think a 15 year sentence in total solitary [torture by UN definition] for SOCKS SENT BY SOMEONE ELSE is excessive? He will have been driven insane by the time he gets out. They have essentially buried him alive over socks sent by someone else.
+6 # Billy Bob 2012-01-09 08:25
"i can get there if some info is needed to save a life u know to be in immanent danger and there is no other way to get the info"

Either you're against torture in ALL circumstances or you're FOR it. PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

The scenario you're pointing to (the right-wing lunatic fantasy ala "24") is a load of b.s. Even if that scenario actually happened, torture wouldn't work. The fact is that torturing someone is a PERFECT way to scramble their brains and make ANYTHING they tell you completely USELESS. If you torture someone for just one hour, you're likely to hear about how they were abducted by aliens. If they don't tell you that, it's simply because they assume you're looking for something else. Either way, not only will they lie to give you what you want, but they won't even know the difference between a lie and the truth at that point. In less than an hour you can render someone mentally damaged in a way that they will never recover.

The idea of torturing someone quick to save thousands of lives is PURE FANTASY.
-2 # punk 2012-01-10 19:28
no, b bob, it is not either-or. if a kid were being held by a pedophile and he didnt provide the kid's location, i can see torture to get the kid's location to prevent the kid from dying in some basement or starving in some closet. i know that torture produces garbage and repeated torture produces more, but it is not PLAIN AND SIMPLE. i do not believe ANY prisoners of war or enemy combatants, if u want to call them that, came EVEN CLOSE to warranting torture. each case was a war crime. there was no immanent danger to anyone that they knew of. people were tortured just to see if they might have a tidbit of info. people were tortured for entertainment. people they KNEW to be innocent.
if my child, or anyone, were being held by some criminally insane sadist, u can bet that if they didnt cough up the location immediately, i would put a nail thru his eye to save the life of an innocent person known to be in immanent danger. but torturing someone who might know some bit of possibly useful info-never.
+4 # Emil Sinclair 2012-01-08 19:32
It just brings unending tears to my eyes and heart about what the U.S., "my country", has come to. "Nazi Germany redux". How sickening! If I didn't already know how, I would wonder how the prison personnel and interro(r)gator s could live with themselves violating everything basic that "our country" is supposed to stand for, without exception. Now, with the new NDAA for 2012, they can do this to innocent American citizens right here in the "homeland". God help and protect all of us!

I know my "apology" means next to nothing, if not nothing, but I express my sincere sorrow for all of the torture that Murat Kurnaz, and all of the others like him, suffered. And I can't believe that the CIA-controlled New York Times published this. I am certain they have no desire to promote sympathy for people such as this man; even though, like the vast majority of Guantanamo detainees, he was/is completely innocent. God save us from all of the "neo-Nazis" who have taken over the U.S. of A.!
-13 # HJ7 2012-01-08 21:35
Quoting Emil Sinclair:
It just brings unending tears to my eyes and heart about what the U.S., "my country", has come to. "Nazi Germany redux".

. God save us from all of the "neo-Nazis" who have taken over the U.S. of A.!

I think you need to study a little more on the Nazis and torture. Hot coals, ripped out nails, the rack etc those are all torture. What they did at Guantanamo was just vigorous questioning. Look up the inquisition if you want to find out about real torture. Al quida and the Taliban are apparently experts.
+4 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-08 22:54
Do you know that torture does not occur when we "loan" a guy to one of our surrogates, like Syria, for a little Q and A session?

In any event, I've been subjected to "vigorous questioning" as part of training and I've said shit that was not true in order to get it to stop. I'd get a simple number like "123" and be told to never repeat it no matter what. Ten minutes later (if that) and all you heard from me was "123, 123, 123, 123, 123 . . ." Funny now, but then, not so much. And I used to be a stud.
+7 # punk 2012-01-09 01:17
i dont think that being chained in stress positions or hung by handcuffs to the top of the cage is just vigorous questioning. i've certainly read that that went on in gitmo. they also used the black boxes and the wall smashing at gitmo prior to 2006. there was also forced tube feeding which was not done gently. 1 died] i dont think the usa needs to take 2nd place in torture to anyone. prisoners were sodomized and shocked and eyes were put out and organs pulverized. in fact, they vigorously questioned 3 men at gitmo in 2006 and they all died. read the story in harpers magazine. 3 men, same night, rags stuffed so far down their throat they couldnt get them out during autopsy, blindfolded, gagged, hooded, arms and legs tied-and the usa military investigators found that they each climbed a chair and hung themselves while all trussed and gagged like that.
[do you know about camp no at gitmo? it was a black site at the facility. thats where the 3 'suicides' took place]
by the way, bowe bergdahl will probably be released soon. he's been held by the taliban for a couple of years. i doubt he is happy, but he is quite healthy.
+2 # reiverpacific 2012-01-09 14:51
Quoting HJ7:
Quoting Emil Sinclair:
It just brings unending tears to my eyes and heart about what the U.S., "my country", has come to. "Nazi Germany redux".

. God save us from all of the "neo-Nazis" who have taken over the U.S. of A.!

I think you need to study a little more on the Nazis and torture. Hot coals, ripped out nails, the rack etc those are all torture. What they did at Guantanamo was just vigorous questioning. Look up the inquisition if you want to find out about real torture. Al quida and the Taliban are apparently experts.

Funny, I thought we were supposed to have evolved a little from the inquisiton and even the Nazis but apparently not.
Would you care to try and endure some of the things this guy went through, o' Brave one.
The late Christopher Hitchins VOLUNTARILY subjected himself to waterboarding and concluded; "If that isn't torture, I don't know what to call it"!
You're very gutsy at the mouth mate!
+4 # disgusted American 2012-01-09 20:26
torture is torture whether it's what the Nazis did or what took place during the Inquistion - it's all real.

what they did and still do at Guantanamo and other prisons where they put whoever they decide are enemy combattants is not vigorous questioning

sociopath is word you should study
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-01-10 15:25
For him to self-diagnose would be difficult.
+5 # Joan Manning 2012-01-08 20:03
I think both our civilian and our military police are determined to maintain the impression that they always "get their man." To admit they got the wrong person and some guilty party is walking free runs contrary to their macho self-image. Better to torture someone until he confesses than to appear weak and incompetent because they failed to get the right man.
+2 # James38 2012-01-09 14:40
Prosecutors in our (US) Judicial system often have a similar absurd macho attitude. They somehow think, perhaps because the system rewards them in the same way, that convicting anyone accused is the way to be seen as successful. The whole system needs to be refocused on obtaining a fair trial. If the evidence is weak, the prosecutors need to be honest about that. They can search vigorously for any missed evidence, but if none is found, the case needs to be dropped, not pursued relentlessly just because it got started somehow.
+8 # oakes721 2012-01-08 20:08
Suspected of being innocent, and STILL being tortured. What does this say about the sadistic men at the top? Their craven hatred of truth which would unveil their cowardly existence as politicians reveals itself in punishing innocence without cause, without a shred of human compassion or dignity. Any number of politicians and citizens might now invoke the Nuremberg laws before their arrests...
+11 # Michaele 2012-01-08 20:14
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-01-08 21:21
Then you must not be an American. Sorry, but it IS being done in your name whether you like it or not. There's only one solution available to us right now. OWS is sort of addressing that. Ron Paul is a fool's paradise. Obama loves torture, or he'd stop us from doing it.
+2 # Robyn 2012-01-09 00:52
It was up to Germany to teach America about the rule of law. Pity Australia and John Howard 'the Coward' did not do the same for the Australians detained as well.
I thought that Obama would close this disgusting torture camp but he too has done nothing. Democracy in the States is dead and we are all left to mourn.
+2 # tclose 2012-01-09 09:29
Most of this appalling abuse in our name happened during the previous administration that we all know put aside any semblance of humanity in the name of the War on Terror. We elected Obama partly with the "hope" of eliminating this abuse. But Guantanamo continues to exist, ostensibly because the Repubs have stymied Obama's attempts to close it.

Enough! Mr. President, tear down this camp. Tell the Repubs to go to hell. And tell the American people what conditions exist at the camp since you took it over - have we been continuing the barbarous treatment from the Bush years; or is this just one more policy of the past that you have, again, not changed?
+4 # futhark 2012-01-09 15:40
Barack Obama, as Commander-in-Ch ief, could close Guantanamo in one minute with an Executive Order. He bears full responsibility for keeping it open. You can't blame this one on the yapping Republicans.

Get wise to the fact that Obama is a willing and eager lackey of the plutocracy and has no compunction about violating the Constitution in order to serve his masters.
+4 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-01-09 09:45
We the dumb sheeple don't have the time to consider torture and sooooooo much more. We have our ball games, political games now so overcovered by the villainaire rulers' 'mess' media, and need to shop 'til we drop. Then there are those of us who work 'til we drop in today's fully contrived by the villainaires economic recession/depre ssion. No time whatsoever do these sheeple have, other than to keep themselves and theirs from losing homes, enough to eat, etc.

So what happens when the possibility to awake we the sheeple is brought by Occupy Wall Streeters? More torture and stripping away of rights of OWSers, this time with nowhere near the coverage that Greedy Old Party caucuses are getting.

Time for a worldwide revolution.
+2 # futhark 2012-01-09 15:37
Welcome to Oceania!
-6 # HJ7 2012-01-09 21:43
The fact that you can post as you proves it is not Oceania. Perhaps you should try living in Iran or north Korea if you want to experience something closer to the real thing.
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-01-10 15:26
You seem to be worried the U.S. is falling behind in the race to the bottom.
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-01-10 15:28
You could have just as easily mentioned 100 other countries, many of which are being aided in their assaults against their own citizenry, by American foreign policies developed by people who agree with you.
+5 # Billy Bob 2012-01-10 15:30
I'm just curious why you failed to mention countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kazakstan.

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