Many Arab columnists are harshly critical of the U.S. for its treatment of Al-Qa'ida and Taliban captives atGuantanamo. Renowned Egyptian author and columnist for the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, AnisMansour, describes the treatment of the Al-Qa'ida and Taliban prisoners as 'worse than prisoners under the Nazis.' Following are excerpts from his article:
"The Americans transferred the prisoners from Afghanistan to the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba. I saw this base in 1963, during the Tricontinental Conference in Havana. It's a nice base. No one expected it to be turned into a base for torturing Al-Qa'ida members from Afghanistan, in a way unprecedented in history – worse than what Hitler did to his rivals from among the Jews and Christians."
"Hitler's soldiers burned, strangled, and then killed. But America's prisoners were transferred in planes, on [a trip] lasting twenty hours. Under normal circumstances, the trip would not have been exhausting. But what was done to the prisoners is abominable!"
"They are blindfolded, their ears covered, and their noses sealed. They can't see, can't hear, and can't smell; they are in masks of iron. Their hands, arms, necks, and legs are shackled in heavy choke chains."
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"Twenty hours of sensory deprivation is sufficient to damage the senses of any man. If the Americans add another 20 hours, [one doesn't know] whether he is alive or dead. If we then remove the shackles, he will not know how – or where – to walk!"
"In the solitary confinement cells, the darkness is absolute. Suddenly, [the Americans] shine a brilliant light and make aggressive [loud] noise for a few moments; then quiet and darkness are restored. Those moments are enough to make the prisoners blind, deaf, and brain-damaged."
"[Even] America's friends have condemned this inhuman treatment of the prisoners of war. But U.S. Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld, said: 'They are not prisoners of war, and the Geneva Convention does not apply to them.' He claimed that they are criminals who violated the law, and were members of bin Laden's gang."
"[He says that] the Americans blocked the prisoners' ears out of pity, so that the noise of the plain would not bother them. Their noses were covered so that they would not spread their contagious diseases to the soldiers guarding them. This pressure on their nerves makes them easily turn over any dangerous information they have."
"These prisoners of war cannot go to American courts to demand that the Constitution be applied, because they are not on American soil – rather, at Camp X-Ray, which is designed to turn them from men to beasts within hours!"