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March 17, 2006
Gitmo Study Nears Completion

I have received most of the surveys back from the blogswarm that undertook a review of the newly-released documents regarding the Guantanamo Bay detainees. Most of the study's volunteers have remarkably similar comments about the information provided in the documents. The Denbeaux study which prompted this blogswarm reached a number of conclusions that appear now to be highly subjective assumptions. For instance, the Duke wrote after his review:

There is simply little information here on actual evidence to determine many of these. I feel the "something major is missing" syndrome in play in almost every one of them. I am attaching my CSRT review, however, I am doubtful that we are actually proving anything here without more information. If the information contained in these brief interviews is the basis for the recent report on these, then it is woefully inadequate for such purpose.

Some found some strange stories in the testimony, such as this from Commander Salamander:

496: "Brokeback Hindu-Kush?" "Midnight Taliban?" "My Own Private Kandahar?" Don't know. Claims to have worked for Taliban Intel as a cook (again)...but the story is much better. A few quotes, "I was a pretty boy." "they told me I didn't have enough of a beard and that I was a pretty boy." I asked them what kind of friendship or cooperation did they want? They wanted me to take care of their friends and prepare food and cleanup. I told them I would do this instead of going to court (he owed money). I was young and they were looking for boys like me an paid good money." "When my boss saw my brother and nephew, my boss asked me who they were and why are they here? I am telling you this very hesitantly and this is something that has to be kept a secret because this is a shame in the Afghan culture to disclose this type of information. There were no other motives or anything else going on besides what I am telling you." "There were rumors between the workers that I was the new boss' lover." "I can't exactly tell you what they wanted, but you should have been able to figure it out by now. I know they had a reason to treat me so well."

Some questioned the efficacy of the tribunal and their questioning, as did Katie Carroll:

I am working on my assignment but, after reading the transcripts, it became very clear that the questioning was abysmal. I don't know if the questions were asked by lawyers, but they were along the lines of "What were you doing in Afghanistan?" and "How did you get there?" There were no hard questions, no follow-ups and no corroboration. For example, my 3 guys were all, apparently, itinerant do-gooders from Saudi wandering the roads and goatpaths of Afghanistan giving out money. None of them spoke anything other than Arabic. No one asked them how they communicated. No one asked how they decided how much money to give each recipient. No one asked them for names or addresses of recipients or where exactly they went. It is virtually impossible to reach any well-founded conclusion. Preliminarily, I would say that all three were jihadist Al-Qaeda guys, but this is not based on any standard approaching "beyond reasonable doubt" or even "more likely than not." Rather, they all had the same story and it seemed just stupid. Any terrorist with 5 minutes training could make up a story... and these guys have had 3 years to do it. If the other transcripts are like mine, I don't know how anyone can conclusively say that the detainees are really a threat or not. I should also add that I support the War on Terror and our actions in Iraq so I'm really looking for a way to agree that the detainees should be held. The transcripts don't provide it.

These are not a monolithic group of bloggers looking to provide a kangaroo court for the Gitmo detainees, but honest Americans that one would hope to find for any jury. The results have been interesting, and quite a bit different from the Denbeaux study. Hopefully we can get the last of the surveys back this weekend and have some results to report.

The CQ Blogswarm Study Group consists of these volunteers:

ARB Factors, Vol 1: Shawn Beilfuss, Bob L, Laura Curtis (Dummocrats and Gitmo Cookbook)

ARB Factors, Vol 2: Jon from Canada, Dixie68, Slightly Loony at JamulBlog

ARB Factors, Vol 3: Thomas Morrissey (no relation!), Rodney Graves, Freeper Bad Company

ARB Transcripts #1: Russ Emerson
ARB Transcripts #2: Jason
ARB Transcripts #3: Gary Gross
ARB Transcripts #4: CQ reader Ed

CSRTs --

Set 1: Jay
Set 2: CQ reader BD
Set 3: Arthur Kimes
Set 4: Christian Johnson
Set 5: Kaitian
Set 6: Anonymous2
Set 7: KGS59
Set 8: Duke DeLand
Set 9: Stephen St. Onge
Set 10: Texas Cowgirl
Set 11: David Chapelle (MD NG Ret.)
Set 12: Yetanotherjohn
Set 13: GM Roper
Set 14: Antarctic Lemur
Set 15: Robert Byers
Set 16: Anonymous1
Set 17: Richard Campbell
Set 18: Weight of Glory
Set 19: Mary Beth Buckner
Set 20: Ric James
Set 21: Streiff
Set 22: David Zincavage
Set 23: Greg McComas
Set 24: Pete Peterson
Set 25: Nathan Bradford
Set 26: Suitably Flip
Set 27: St. Wendeler
Set 28: Dafydd ab Hugh
Set 29: Thomas Morrissey
Set 30: Levi from Queens
Set 31: Mick Stockinger
Set 32: Gina Cobb
Set 33: Matt Adinaro
Set 34: Allen Thorpe
Set 35: Rodney Graves
Set 36: Rick Calvert
Set 37: David Zincavage
Set 38: Pierre LeGrand
Set 39: Suitably Flip
Set 40: David Zincavage
Set 41: Kane Rogers
Set 42: Crusader Rabbit
Set 43: Fred Fry
Set 44: Commander Salamander
Set 45: Katie Carroll
Set 46: Steve Schippert
Set 47: Rodney Graves
Set 48: Thomas Morrissey & Rodney Graves
Set 49: Thomas Morrissey
Set 50: Thomas Morrissey
Set 51: Chuck Allen
Set 52: Chuck Allen
Set 53: Chuck Allen
Set 54: Streiff

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 17, 2006 7:11 AM

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