Wednesday, January 30, 2002
Keep the Change
Burn Your Burkas!
The US Government has released photographs of the Taleban and al-Qaeda suspects held at its prison camp in Cuba which show them being subjected to sensory deprivation.
The prisoners are shown kneeling down, wearing goggles, ear muffs, surgical masks and heavy gloves.
Watching the pictures of al-Qaeda members shackled and masked reminded retired British army veteran Colonel Roy Giles of the sensory deprivation methods used by UK Commonwealth forces he served with in Malaya, Cyprus, and Aden during the 1950s and 1960s. Col Giles, a one-time military intelligence liaison officer who now lectures on counter-terrorism, remembers attending a course in sensory deprivation 40 years ago as part of his training for dealing with the enemy during the cold war. It involved using goggles and masks or hoods to deprive the prisoner of a sense of smell and sight. The subsequent feeling of disorientation would break down the prisoner's self-confidence and put the interrogator in an advantageous position for extracting information.
Detainees are free to conduct religious observances. They have prayer mats and calls to prayers are broadcast over the Camp X-Ray PA system. They are given as much drinking water as they want, three meals a day and food that complies with their religious practice if they require it. During the visit, our officials received full co-operation from the camp's commander who said that the more lurid allegations about torture and sensory deprivation are false. The recent pictures of detainees featured in the media were taken on arrival where security needs are paramount. These are some of the most dangerous detainees in the world, who have variously demonstrated murderous and suicidal tendencies.
The -- just for the sake of the listening world, Guantanamo Bay's climate is different than Afghanistan. To be in an eight-by-eight cell in beautiful, sunny Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is not a -- inhumane treatment. And it has a roof. They have all of the things that I've described. And how each person is handled depends on where they go.
Moslems pray facing Mecca. To do this, they must know the direction of Mecca, which they call the Qibla. If they are in a mosque, this is no problem; if they are in some remote and trackless place, they need help.
The controversy of Qibla from North America surfaces from time to time. One group of people favors the direction of South-East, and another group favors North-East. Now the question is whether South-East is correct or North-East is correct.
Bush’s limited sense of the history goes beyond his use of the word “crusade,” which has a European connotation of chivalrous knights in shining armor driving the infidels out of the Holy Lands, but conjures up very different memories in the Islamic world, of a bloody Christian holy war against Arabs. In 1099, for instance, the Crusaders massacred many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
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