By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Our terrorism manufacturing policy

In my latest for the Guardian, I write about the New York Times and the myth of Guantánamo recidivism.

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8 Comments

  1. O-FISH-L

    Dan, why stop at the former Gitmo detainees who supposedly turned to terror only after being imprisoned for terrorism they didn't commit?Right here at home we have Peter Limone, freed after 30 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, only to be arrested late last year for 12 counts of attempted extortion, loan-sharking and illegal gaming. To follow your logic, surely Limone's recent foray into criminal activity (if proven) is a result of the domestic prison system's attempted extortion, loan-sharking and illegal gaming manufacturing policy, right?Also, why is it the "conservative" Weekly Standard, but not the "liberal" Talking Points Memo? Maybe you can fool some Brits, but most of us here see right through the BS.

  2. Neil

    Interesting column Dan. I had missed this. It's hard to believe the NYT of all entities could remain so gullible about any study from the Pentagon, after having been used as a tool of the war machine so recently. Whatever the figure, the ridiculous 1 in 7 or the still suspicious 1 in 20, the questions of who exactly is accused of "terrorism or militant activity", and what behavior those vague terms mean in the first place, aren't addressed. Actual deadly bombing, mingled with for example simply "belonging" to al-Qaeda? Do you pay an annual membership fee to be in al-Qaeda, like with AARP? Will that get you on the list? (Aye, time to pay dues again, already?) No way to tell. Hoyt has a link to the Mark Denbeaux's (et al) analysis of the alleged recidivism, that does a pretty good job of making the Pentagon report numbers look like junk. The Times should hire those guys.

  3. MeTheSheeple

    The Pentagon isn't defining its terms well.At least in earlier incarnations of such a report, the idea of a terrorist returning to terrorism … included being filmed for a documentary that got into the Cannes Film Festival.http://law.shu.edu/ProgramsCenters/PublicIntGovServ/CSJ/Guantanamo-Reports.cfm

  4. MeTheSheeple

    Er, what Neil said. Sorry.

  5. Gray

    Imho it's evident that the horrible torture policies made the US less safe. Now, what is the solution for this problem, that Senator Lieberman, along with the Bush administration, and at least some in the current government advocate? Keep the torture evidence secret! D'oh. Hmm, isn't this a bit too late, to lock the stable now that the horse is already in the open? Isn't "an end with horror", presenting the facts and get though the painful discussions, actually better than "horror without end", constant rumours and parts of the evidence becoming public resulting in keeping this issue in the headlines?Imho, the discussion in the US doesn't put enough emphasis on how much this pathetic argy-bargy is hurting US reputation and credibility all around the world. Since the declaration of independence, America has constantly criticized other nations for their shortcomings regarding human rights and democracy, even though its own conduct has very often been governed by selfish national interests, most prominently in Latim America. It's about time to start living up to those great proclaimed ideals! Confessing the sins, prosecuting the offenders, and implementing new, value driven policies would be the best way to convince the rest of the world that the US still deserves to be called "the leader of the free world". There's nothing to be gained from covering up the atrocities and indulging in stubborn ignorance. Do the right thing now!

  6. bostonmediawatch

    "Right here at home we have Peter Limone, freed after 30 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, only to be arrested late last year for 12 counts of attempted extortion, loan-sharking and illegal gaming. To follow your logic, surely Limone's recent foray into criminal activity (if proven) is a result of the domestic prison system's attempted extortion, loan-sharking and illegal gaming manufacturing policy, right?"And to follow YOUR logic, it's perfectly OK to keep a guy in jail for 30 years for a crime he didn't commit, because he'll probably do something when he gets out.Or as the next President of the United States would put it, "he was pallin' around with mobsters" Nice legal system ya got there, fishy. Why don't we just do away with trials altogether and just proceed to sentencing?

  7. O-FISH-L

    bmw wrote: "And to follow YOUR logic, it's perfectly OK to keep a guy in jail for 30 years for a crime he didn't commit, because he'll probably do something when he gets out."—Au contraire and quite the quantum leap, bmw. False imprisonment of Peter Limone, suspected terrorists and anyone else is outrageous. Equally outrageous is arguing that false imprisonment somehow induces good people to become bad in retaliation for the injustice done to them. Gimme a break!

  8. mike_b1

    Equally outrageous is arguing that false imprisonment somehow induces good people to become bad in retaliation for the injustice done to them. What the evidence does show is that those who have been incarcerated (guilty or not) are more likely to act in violent ways and/or commit a crime when they exit prison than those who are accused (again, but not necessarily guilty — important distinction) of similar crimes but not jailed.In short, incarceration breeds problems. Yet for some reason we have 5% of the world's population and 25% of its jailbirds.

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