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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 2, 2011 / 26 Adar I, 5771

In Guantanamo Bay, war criminals get Bush's memoir, watch TV

By Carol Rosenberg





Prisoners at Camp 5 aren't like the others


JewishWorldReview.com |

cUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — (MCT) One Sudanese prisoner is filling his hours until release reading "Decision Points," George W. Bush's memoir on why he quit alcohol, ran for president and approved waterboarding war-on-terror captives.

Another is being home-schooled every other week inside a cell, learning the astronomy, math, grammar, Shakespeare, even elocution, he never got as a child of al-Qaida.

These are the war criminals of Guantanamo Bay. They are four convicts — captured as a cook, a kid, a small-arms trainer and a videographer — kept out of sight of visitors in a segregated cellblock of a SuperMax-style, 100-cell, $17 million penitentiary.

Because each man was sentenced for war crimes by a U.S. military jury, three after guilty pleas in exchange for short sentences, theirs is what the Pentagon calls "punitive confinement." They are "prisoners" set apart from the other 168 captives at what former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld calls "one of the finest prison systems in the world."

Yet, military defense lawyers say the convict cellblock at Camp 5 is especially austere and that their clients are doing hard time reminiscent of Guantanamo's early years when interrogators isolated captives of interest.

Each man spends 12 or more hours a day locked behind a steel door inside a 12-by-8-foot cell equipped with a bed, a sink and a toilet.

They get up to eight hours off the cellblock in an open-air recreation yard, a huge cage surrounded by chain-linked fencing. If recreation time coincides with one of Islam's five-times-daily calls to prayer, the convicts can pray together. If it coincides with meal time, they can eat together.

Once locked in their cells, they can shout to each other through the slots in their steel prison doors troops use to deliver meals and library books.

TV time is spent alone, each man shackled by an ankle to the floor of an interrogation room, always under the watch of a special guard force implementing a Pentagon policy for "punitive post-conviction confinement." That policy is still in flux, says a spokeswoman, Army Lt. Col. Tanya Bradsher, so the Defense Department won't let the public see it.


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At 50, Ibrahim Qosi of Sudan is the eldest. Early in his captivity here, Bush-era prosecutors portrayed him as al-Qaida's payroll master. By the time he pleaded guilty to supporting terror last summer, his crime was working as a cook for bachelor irregulars in Afghanistan and occasionally driving for Osama bin Laden and others in al-Qaida.

Now up for release from the cellblock in July 2012, he's passing time with a copy of Bush's best-selling memoir. His Navy defender couldn't find an Arabic translation, so Qosi's learning about the man who waged the global war on terror with the help of an Arabic-English dictionary.

In a failed bid for clemency, Qosi's attorney, Navy Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier, wrote in January that, after years in communal custody, living in a POW-style setting, his post-sentencing conditions are "grueling" and "reminiscent for him of the eight difficult months he spent in complete isolation when first arriving at Guantanamo."

But a senior guard who works at the prison said it's far from isolation. "They do get to commune together," said Army Command Sgt. Major Daniel Borrero, whose 525 Battalion pulled guards from the blocks interning U.S. criminal soldiers at Fort Leavenworth to work at Guantanamo.

"It's a prison, ma'am," Borrero said. "I make the assumption they don't want to be here."

The cellblock's youngest is confessed teen terrorist Omar Khadr, 24, and he's on the fast-track to freedom.

He pleaded guilty to war crimes last year in exchange for a promise to repatriate him before his 26th birthday. A military jury sentenced him to 40 more years in prison for hurling a grenade that killed an American commando in a July 2002 gun battle in wartime Afghanistan. But once back in Canada, Khadr's parole is all but certain because he was captured as a juvenile, 15 at the time of the crime.

At his sentencing hearing, a government-paid psychiatrist said Khadr spent his years here "marinating in a radical Islamic community" — memorizing verses of the Quran in the company of captives who got to eat, pray, watch satellite TV and shoot hoops in groups as a reward for good behavior.

Now Khadr's cut off from that group, as a war criminal segregated in circumstances his Army lawyer, Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, says are "horrific and stupid and don't make any sense."

Khadr's father, an al-Qaida insider who has since been killed, moved the family from Toronto to Afghanistan when the boy was in elementary school. So to prepare him for life back in Canada, Khadr's Pentagon defense team is shuttling twice a month to the remote base for attorney-client visits in a compound, Camp Echo.

There, for four days out of five, military lawyers and paralegals are drilling Khadr on a home-school-styled curriculum designed by a Canadian college professor — history, astronomy, math, grammar, elocution.

English is the emphasis, said Jackson, to help him achieve "mature student" status in Canada, a gateway to college admission.

Not so long ago, the al-Qaida convict played Romeo to the Army officer's Juliet.

"He's very serious about his education," Jackson said. "His attitude is positive. There's been a real change in him now that he has the legal matters behind him."

Also on the cellblock are Guantanamo's lone lifer, al-Qaida filmmaker Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, and former weapons instructor Noor Uthman Mohammed. Al-Bahlul keeps to himself, according to military sources, and Noor is just settling in. On Feb. 2, he traded 34 months imprisonment on the cellblock for testimony at future trials about terrorists he knew in Afghanistan.

Theirs is a prison within the sprawling prison system, cut off from the other captives regardless of how good their behavior.

Elsewhere on the base, the military has built a secret lockup for men interrogated by the CIA and suspected in some of the most heinous attacks against America — the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole off Yemen, the beheading of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl. There are five Uighurs, ethnic Muslims fearing religious persecution in their native China, likewise segregated from the other captives because a federal judge found them unjustly imprisoned.

But Bahlul and Qosi, Khadr and Noor are segregated because they are "serving punitive sentences," says Navy Cmdr. Tamsen Reese, a Guantanamo spokeswoman.

Under the 1949 Third Geneva Conventions, she said, the other captives are "detained under the Law of War only as a security measure" and "should not be subjected to a penal environment or commingled with prisoners punitively incarcerated as a consequence of a criminal conviction."

Once their sentences are over, under Pentagon doctrine, they become ordinary detainees again — put back with the others in a penitentiary called Camp 6, the closest thing at Guantanamo today to POW-style barracks housing.

Or they may leave Guantanamo — if the Obama administration chooses to negotiate their release and congressional restrictions don't hamstring future releases, for example to Sudan, a nation identified as a state sponsor of terror.

That test could come next year. The Sudanese man reading the Bush memoirs finishes his sentence on July 7, 2012.

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© 2011, The Miami Herald Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.