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Archive for Sunday, May 4, 2008

Worst of worst live relatively well

May 4, 2008

<strong>Editor's note:</strong> Dan Simons, president of the electronics division of The World Company, recently joined a Department of Defense Joint Civilian Orientation Conference visiting U.S. military installations. Here's a report about one of them.

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A basketball court stands in Camp 4 at  Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The detention center houses the worst of the worst in the war on terror. Dan Simons, president of the electronics division of The World Company, joined a delegation visiting U.S. military installations, including "Gitmo." Read his report on Page 7B.

A basketball court stands in Camp 4 at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The detention center houses the worst of the worst in the war on terror. Dan Simons, president of the electronics division of The World Company, joined a delegation visiting U.S. military installations, including "Gitmo." Read his report on Page 7B.

The cell of a compliant detainee at Camp Delta, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. All detainees get a copy of the Koran, and compliant detainees are given extra comfort items, such as games and an exercise mat.

The cell of a compliant detainee at Camp Delta, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. All detainees get a copy of the Koran, and compliant detainees are given extra comfort items, such as games and an exercise mat.

Their favorite TV show is "World's Most Dangerous Catch." Their favorite movie, "March of the Penguins." Their medical staff (the equivalent of three staffers per individual) is available 24/7. They see a doctor on average once every 4.5 weeks. If they need the care of a specialist, the appointment is met within an average of two days. They are taught reading and writing in any of four languages. More than 5,000 books in 13 languages occupy their library. They received more than 27,000 pieces of mail in 2007. And just like the rest of America, they have to watch their weight; they have gained an average of 12 pounds.

Who are these 280 people? They're some of the world's most dangerous criminals, the detainees of "Gitmo," the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.

Last week I visited Gitmo as part of a Department of Defense Joint Civilian Orientation Conference.

Since 2002, the base has been home to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, in all likelihood the most well-documented prison in history. The 280 remaining detainees, alleged to be military combatants captured in Afghanistan and Iraq, benefited from more than 1,200 lawyer visits in 2007. The camp has been visited by more than 2,000 journalists. It is not a dark, hidden secret. It is a highly scrutinized and documented prison.

More than 500 of the original 800 detainees, who after being vetted by the United States and their home country, have been returned; 30 of these repatriated detainees have been proven to have rejoined the fight against America.

Camp Justice at Gitmo is soon to be the site of trials for detainees, including six charged in the 9/11 attacks. It is a multimillion-dollar facility, painstakingly constructed and overseen by a professional team. Every effort has been made to make it the most modern, secure courtroom under U.S. jurisdiction. Accommodations have been provided for the expected 12 lawyers per defendant, hundreds of witnesses and affected family members.

The debate about the legality of incarcerations and prisoner treatment at Gitmo is passionate - and political. If it were on dispassionate facts, people would see it as a rough place for very rough people, harsh yet overly fair. Yes, it has been open for business for more than six years; so has the war. These are not unfortunate bystanders caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. These are some of the worst of the worst. They are being treated extremely fairly and always humanely, despite their ongoing actions.

They are guarded by some of the best of the best. Truth be told, the average person would not be able to hold up under these conditions. The men and women who stand guard uphold the highest honor of their military corps. They work day in and day out in hot, desolate and emotionally charged conditions. Fortunately, the military also provides expert care for them in their downtime.

We all wish it could be over yesterday. Hopefully the trials will be starting soon and the legal system will be in full swing with the focus on justice.

America seems to be caught up in a pessimistic wave. So much cynicism and mistrust of the government would have you believe that people would be leaving America for a better system.

Quite the opposite is true, but that is another story.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Dan did exactly as he was expected to do-- respond to the flattery of being selected to do something he has absolutely no qualifications for by writing an uncritical puff piece in exchange.

geekin_topekan 6 years, 7 months ago

Yikes!I never wanted to believe that LJWorld has become the rightwinged media outlet that posters here have claimed that it is.Over the years Ive heard some little tidbits of Pro-fear propaganda and hate speak but never in this blatant form.After all,this is Lawrence Kansas.The city I love and have called home for nearly 30 years.The city that introduced me to tofu and alfalfa sprouts when they were still hippie food.Reggae music filling the air when I went to pick up the Daily Planet(ljworld)from a box at Dillons has been reduced to this?A very well written and subtle fear and hate based piece of journalism MrSimons.Rememeber,many men died to give you the ability to spew this stuff,let's not take them for granted and abuse their sacrifices.Have great day Mr S.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

It sounds like you took an ego-stroking vacation, where you likely learned very little beyond the spoon-fed DOD propaganda, justfornow.

jonny_quest 6 years, 7 months ago

What "earned" credentials and qualifications does the author possess that make him a credible authority on this subject; on any subject? Does the author have work experience, training or advanced education in law enforcement or any part of the legal system? How about the armed forces, foreign affiars or political science? What about journalism- outside of an inherited family business? No degree of journalistic respect should be extended to an individual that was given a cushy position in a family owned media business: then abuse the position as a shill for propaganda to enhance political and social connections.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Vacation, I haven't had one of those in 4 years, your still clowning around."Then your vacation in Cuba was a welcome respite, wasn't it?

2olddog 6 years, 7 months ago

The purpose of the JCOC is to seek people of a certain profile to help steer public opinion. In that regard, there is nothing unusual about the slant of the article nor surprising that the author has controlling ties to local media. See the excerpts from the JCOC website below. ****************The Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC) is a program sponsored by the Secretary of Defense for civilian public opinion leaders....JCOC alumni are encouraged to share their experiences with their circles of influence when they return home.

poop2scoop 6 years, 7 months ago

This article must be part of maneuvering Danny for the eventual slide into the big dog slot. It is a facile career path with no qualifications, no competition, surrounded by yes-men/women and a guaranteed high dollar title...a pretty easy gig, but completely artificial.

SettingTheRecordStraight 6 years, 7 months ago

The enemy combatants at Club Gitmo live far more comfortable lives than their terrorist compatriots still hatching murderous schemes amidst the squalor of the Afghan countryside. Thank you, Mr. Simons, for reminding us of the truth.

situveux1 6 years, 7 months ago

Wow, so much hate on this forum. But then again, I guess when you're used to the JW spoon feeding you what you want to hear, this kind of stuff upsets you when you read it in your precious JW.

repaste 6 years, 7 months ago

Dan did use "alleged" once, used worst of the worst a lot. Did not mention thesecret prisoners or the fatalities, or suicides. Many of these men simply shot back when attacked. They are not our friends, they are pows. Well written, sort-of, very shallow and right out of gwb's pre-written press fluff. Dan straight up.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

So, justfornow, if you are so well educated, do you know anything about Gitmo, or its prisoners, than what the DOD wants you to know?

arcticredriver 6 years, 7 months ago

Only a small fraction of the captives are held in Camp four, the camp Mr Simons was allowed to view. Most are held in solitary detention. Their exercise is taken not in a spacious basket-ball courts, with other captives, but alone, in narrow cages, only a few paces long. In order to prevent them ever seeing sunlight they get their "exercise" at night.Here is a link to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mullens touring the "exercise" cages.http://www.defenselink.mil/dodcmsshare/photoessay/2008-01/080113-N-0696M-143.JPG

ksdivakat 6 years, 7 months ago

Geez....Im so glad that most of you are not related, Id hate to live my life around negative, dismal, miserable people!Whats wrong with Dan doing this? because the paper is a family business?? Are you jealous?? Is it his fault this is the family business?? If you want to start a local newspaper then by all means do so!How many of you have been to Gitmo?? So you know all your spewing from experience?? Youve been there and seen it and now you are the expert on it? I think this is single handedly the most vile, brutal, hate bashing, jealous blog I have ever read.To bad that what might have been received as a point or even the truth, will be turned off by other people like me who stopped by here to have an actual intelligent conversation but was met with this mess!

Christopher Gentleman 6 years, 7 months ago

Will someone please remove their head from their nether region and realize an editorial is an OPINION....

sandio 6 years, 7 months ago

my son is currently serving there and i think we need to support our soliders. they are not having the times of their lives on a little vacation, they miss their families, they have nightmares, they suffer from PTSD and are treated horribly by these "innocent" captives that when released back to their countries, continue to make war on America. i appreciate Mr. Simon's opinion.

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