Scott Shane of the New York Times insisted in a June 18 story in the New York Times that the terrorist detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had darkened America’s image in the world. But John Raughter, editor of The American Legion Magazine, visited Guantanamo and reported that “It includes a state-of-the-art hospital, exercise equipment, a ping-pong table, a soccer field, and basketball and volleyball courts. The U.S. government spends $12.68 per prisoner daily on a 4,200-calorie diet of culturally appropriate meals, including steak, fish, chicken, rice, fresh fruit and vegetables. The average detainee at Guantanamo weighs 6 pounds more than when he arrived.”
This is the place dubbed by Amnesty International “the gulag of our times.”
Raughter visited Guantanamo with Thomas L. Bock, national commander of The American Legion. His story and photos appeared in the May 2006 issue of The American Legion Magazine.
We have frequently heard the claim of torture raised in connection with the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. But Raughter noted that an al-Qaeda training manual advises captured terrorists to lie about their conditions.
He noted, “An al-Qaeda training manual that first surfaced in Manchester, England, in 2000 instructs members to claim torture and mistreatment during detention by ‘infidels.'” He noted that Lesson 18 of the Manchester manual also said, “Take advantage of visits to communicate with brothers outside prison and exchange information that may be helpful to them in their work outside prison (according to what occurred during the investigations). The importance of mastering the art of hiding messages is self-evident here.”
Armando Valladeres, the former Cuban political prisoner, has taken issue with those journalists who seem preoccupied with the fate of the terrorists being held at Guantanamo. Speaking to the Heritage Foundation back in 2002, he said, “?the same journalists who are worried about the lack of air-conditioning in Guantanamo do not concern themselves with the hundreds of innocent people now in Cuba’s jails or the reasons why millions of Cubans are suffering from a lack of freedom, hunger, a thirst for a civil society-all that is necessary for their spiritual and material well-being.”
In Cuba, noted Valladeres in the prologue to his book, Against All Hope, human-rights violations included “locking political prisoners in refrigerated rooms; blindfolded immersion in pools; intimidation by dogs; firing squad simulations; beatings and forced labor; confinement for years in dungeons called gavetas; the use of loudspeakers with deafening sounds during hunger strikes; degradation of prisoners by forced nudity in punishment cells; withholding water during hunger strikes; forcing prisoners to present themselves in the nude before their families (to force them to accept plans for political rehabilitation); denial of medical assistance to the sick; and forcing those condemned to die to carry their own coffins and dig their own graves prior to being shot.”
It bears noting that none of this was for the purpose of getting information from terrorists who threatened the Castro government. Rather, it was done to ordinary people simply exercising the rights we all take for granted.
Isn’t it interesting how the liberal media focus on the one part of Cuba under U.S. control when they express their concern about human rights on the island?