Monday, June 16, 2008

The Case Of Mohammad Ahktiar And The Failure Of Our Gov't

Before McClatchy Newspapers investigated the case of Mohammad Ahktiar, barely anyone knew his name in the American or even international public. Ahktiar has been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for years now and for no good reason other than that terrorist groups passed false information to the United States. He has been attacked in prison for helping the Afghan government, not fighting it, U.S. forces or anyone of the kind.

From McClatchy:

GARDEZ, Afghanistan — The militants crept up behind Mohammed Akhtiar as he squatted at the spigot to wash his hands before evening prayers at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

They shouted "Allahu Akbar" — God is great — as one of them hefted a metal mop squeezer into the air, slammed it into Akhtiar's head and sent thick streams of blood running down his face.

Akhtiar was among the more than 770 terrorism suspects imprisoned at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They are the men the Bush administration described as "the worst of the worst."

But Akhtiar was no terrorist. American troops had dragged him out of his Afghanistan home in 2003 and held him in Guantanamo for three years in the belief that he was an insurgent involved in rocket attacks on U.S. forces. The Islamic radicals in Guantanamo's Camp Four who hissed "infidel" and spat at Akhtiar, however, knew something his captors didn't: The U.S. government had the wrong guy.

The worst thing is that they knew Ahktiar and many others were wrongly imprisoned and did nothing to help them with their situation. On top of that troops beat the prisoners often and without regard for presumed guilt or innocence. The Bush Administration helped to form this culture of snatching up people who were completely innocent or had little intelligence value. Instead of trying to make things right and send the wrongly accused back home to their families, secrets and lies were added to the mix from the lowly prison guards all the way on up to the President himself.

The whole article is a damning account of what has and does go on at Guantanamo Bay. McClatchy has been investigating the prison for months and has interviewed dozens. Check their site for continuing stories on Guantanamo throughout the week.