This morning I was taken back to the first part of 2005 when I first started blogging at WKRN. It was then that I dared to say the following:
Why is it that when right-wing bloggers talk about Gitmo they fail to mention that there is no way to know if those being held there are guilty of anything at all? Many of these detainees have had no charges formally filed against them and even after the Supreme Court ruled that prisoners at Gitmo have the right to legal representation almost two-thirds still have none.
After making such an outlandish claim, I was then piled upon by Bill Hobbs and Lance in Iraq, who is no longer in Iraq but instead works as a Republican lackey. Those two far-right-wing bloggers went so far as to call me a propagandist who "regurgitates insurgent talking points." [scroll all the way down] They also called for their sycophant readers to call in to the station where I worked to voice their complaint about my al-Jazeera-like website.
Why was I reminded of that painful time caused by the idiocy of a couple of neo-con warmongers? Oh, only this story from NPR confirming the sentiment I took such shit for expressing:
It was among the largest detainee transfers from Guantanamo. Over the past few years, about 420 prisoners have been released — that's more than half the total number incarcerated at Guantanamo since the opening days of the war on terror.
Joanne Mariner, a counter-terrorism expert with Human Rights Watch, said her organization has been tracking what has happened to those detainees who have been released.
"We found that most detainees have basically returned back to obscurity. They haven't been involved in any kind of violent acts, and they've essentially returned to their lives," she said.
From the moment the detainees first started arriving at Guantanamo in January 2002, and for a few years thereafter, the Bush administration portrayed the men as ruthless killers, the worst of the worst, sentiments echoed at the time by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers.
"These are people that would gnaw through hydraulic lines in the back of a C-17 to bring it down. So these are very, very dangerous people," Myers said.
Rumsfeld said Guantanamo contained prisoners "perfectly willing to kill themselves and kill other people."
Critics, however, say that the release of hundreds of detainees undermines the administration's assertion that all Guantanamo prisoners are extremely dangerous. They say it is likely there was not enough evidence to hold them in the first place.
The quality of evidence was also called into question recently by a military officer who sharply criticized the process, known as Combatant Status Review Tribunal, or CSRT, used to decide whether a detainee should be held indefinitely. Reserve Army Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham heard some of the evidence against the detainees.
"In reality, the information upon which CSRT decisions were based were vague, generalized, dated, and of little probative value," he said.
Why do I bring this up now? Because extremely partisan bloggers like Lance Frizzell and Bill Hobbs can accuse others of hating America and aiding the enemy, only to later be proven wrong, then never see any retribution for their short-sighted and moronic overreactions. However, this blog post isn't retribution. I am not capable of such a thing. But it is a reminder of (and to) all those so-called patriots who abused and accused so many of us who were genuinely trying to carry on a dialog about the horrors of this war and the policies of this administration. They attempted to shut down conversation about human injustices and atrocities at the hands of our great nation. I'm glad to see that they failed. And I'm glad to see that labeling people haters of the country is on the decline. But I am most glad to see that innocent detainees who were never even charged with any wrongdoing are now free to live their lives in whatever peace they might be allowed.