Does Karen Greenberg believe the United States is involved in a war with Islamist terrorists? Judging by her column in today's Los Angeles Times, The military's Gitmo script, you really have to wonder. Greenberg is executive director of the Center on Law and Security at NYU law school. Her bio there [from whence her photo here comes] indicates that she is a former Vice-President of George Soros' Open Society Institute. Her colleague at the Center, NYU prof Stephen Holmes [pictured here], lists as one of his areas of specialization: "the disappointments of democratization after communism." Ah, remember the good old days under Uncle Joe?
In any case, Greenberg recently toured the detention facilities at Guantanamo, and several of her comments make clear her skepticism as to the seriousness of the terror threat. Examples:
Greenberg derides the suspicion in which visiting lawyers are held: "The handlers used the term 'habeas lawyers' as a seemingly derogatory catchall for those who are defending detainees before the military commissions and those who seek to challenge in U.S. courts the government's right to hold the detainees at all. In a PowerPoint presentation and subsequent remarks, it was clear that at Gitmo, detainees are believed to be using lawyers in accordance with directives in an Al Qaeda training manual that was discovered in Manchester, Britain, in 2000: 'Take advantage of visits with habeas lawyers to communicate and exchange information with those outside.'"
Has Greenberg forgotten that Lynne Stewart, lawyer to Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, convicted mastermind of the 1993 WTC bombing, was herself convicted of doing just that -- passing messages from Abdel-Rahman to his cohorts?
Greenberg complains that "we were forbidden to walk anywhere — even to the bathroom — by ourselves or to talk to anyone other than those we were introduced to." Sounds like SOP to me for high-security detention facilities.
Greenberg sniffs at the notion that there's any serious threat of retaliation to the guards. She writes: "The guards and others, even outside the prison camps, removed the Velcro-fastened names on their uniforms. They told us that they feared retaliation from a presumably all-seeing, all-reaching jihadi network. Reporters too could evidently land them in trouble with Al Qaeda. Thus, many refused to say their names, warning others to be careful not to mistakenly give them away in front of us."
How "all-seeing" would terrorists have to be to read her column? Does she doubt what terrorists would do if they got their hands on a guard -- or members of his family?
Greenberg resents that "hard facts are scarce," quoting Gitmo officials as saying "you'll notice that we speak vaguely. We can't be specific. You will notice that we talk in approximate terms and estimates only. Those are operational security measures."
Does she doubt that they are operational security measures?
In her eagerness to dismiss the danger of terrorism and criticize her government, Greenberg ignores the larger and more significant reality: that the Pentagon permits journalists of all stripes, including ones such as Greenberg with clearly hostile agendas, to visit and report on sensitive facility like Gitmo. Try that with the French government, not to mention with the terrorists themselves whose threats Greenberg takes so lightly.
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