January 12, 2007, - 4:12 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Since this week marks the fifth anniversary of Islamic terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, I highly recommend “The Gitmo High Life,” by Robert L. Pollock in today’s Wall Street Journal about the treatment the detainees there get.
While guards are in uncomfortable straight-back chairs, these terrorists are treated to La-Z Boys, Harry Potter and the best medical care money can boy from the U.S. mainland.
in the interrogation room it’s the Americans who may have to suffer long hours in straight-back chairs, while the detainees — I kid you not — get a La-Z-Boy. I was shown a Syrian under interrogation via closed circuit television. His questioners were two pleasant-looking young women. He was smiling. . . .
Detainees in Defense Department custody are treated according to the restrictive rules of the Army Field Manual, which bans all forms of coercive interrogation. . . . Not only does that mean no “torture” is going on. Your average good-cop bad-cop routine isn’t allowed. Cooperative detainees get rewards like movies. “Harry Potter” is one of their favorites. . . .
Maybe terrorism is stressful work. But whatever the reason, [Saifullah] Paracha . . . suffers from heart disease. So late last year — at an expense of some $400,000 — the U.S. government flew down doctors and equipment to perform cardiac catheterization. Mr. Paracha’s response was to refuse treatment and file a petition in U.S. federal court. . . .
The medical care at Guantanamo seems state of the art. All detainees over 50 are offered colonoscopies; at least 16 have been performed. . . .
Guantanamo detainees don’t lack for legal representation. A list of lead counsel released this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request reads like a who’s who of America’s most prestigious law firms: Shearman and Sterling; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr; Covington & Burling; Hunton & Williams; Sullivan & Cromwell; Debevoise & Plimpton; Cleary Gottlieb; and Blank Rome are among the marquee names.
A senior U.S. official I spoke to speculates that this information might cause something of scandal, since so much of the pro bono work being done to tilt the playing field in favor of al Qaeda appears to be subsidized by legal fees from the Fortune 500. “Corporate CEOs seeing this should ask firms to choose between lucrative retainers and representing terrorists” who deliberately target the U.S. economy, he opined. [DS: Great point!] . . .
The picture of Guantanamo usually painted by the press and human-rights activists is a terribly distorted one. Americans should rest assured that the men held there are probably getting better treatment than they deserve.
Tags: al-Qaeda, America, Blank Rome, cardiac catheterization, Cleary Gottlieb, closed circuit television, Debbie Schlussel, Debevoise & Plimpton, Department of Defense, Guantanamo Bay, heart disease, La-Z-Boy, lead counsel, Paracha, prestigious law firms, Robert L. Pollock, Rome, senior U.S. official, Shearman, Sullivan & Cromwell, the fifth anniversary of Islamic terrorists, U.S. government, United States, USD, Wall Street Journal, Williams, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale