Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Senators Laud Treatment of Detainees in Guantánamo

...............And the NYT BURIES this story on page A-19

You'd think after the last week of hearing how horrible GITMO was this would be front page news....but no, this gets buried.

Could it be because of what the DEMOCRATS said regarding GITMO??


By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: June 28, 2005

WASHINGTON, June 27 - Senators from both sides of the aisle competed on Monday to extol the humane treatment of detainees whom they said they saw on a weekend trip to the military detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. All said they opposed closing the center.

"I feel very good" about the detainees' treatment, Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said.

That feeling was also expressed by another Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

On Monday, Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, said he learned while visiting Guantánamo that some detainees "even have air-conditioning and semiprivate showers."

Another Republican, Senator Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, said soldiers and sailors at the camp "get more abuse from the detainees than they give to the detainees."

In the last month, several senators, including some Republicans, have suggested that Congress should investigate reports of abuses at the detention center or that the military should close it to remove a blot on the country's image.

One senator, Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, has come under criticism and apologized repeatedly for comparing reported abuses at the camps to treatment in Soviet gulags or Nazi concentration camps.

Mr. Wyden and Mr. Nelson were in Cuba primarily to discuss new agricultural trade and visited Guantánamo on Sunday. They ran into Mr. Bunning, Mr. Crapo and Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, who traveled to Guantánamo for the day on Sunday "to see for ourselves what all the so-called fuss is about down there," as Mr. Bunning put it.

After the trip, Mr. Wyden argued that Congress should establish treatment standards for detainees like those at Guantánamo who are neither uniformed members of foreign military forces under the Geneva Conventions nor citizens under the United States justice system.

In contrast, Mr. Crapo praised the current military procedures, calling for a new international standard to cover terrorism suspects and other nonmilitary prisoners.

An official of Amnesty International, Jumana Musa, dismissed the visits as "this little Congressional show and tell." Ms. Musa said the statements did not address what she called the inadequate investigation of reported abuses.

"Whether or not people are being fed orange chicken," Ms. Musa said, "does not get at the heart of the issue."