Guantanamo Defenders Finally Have Their Say

There are two problems with William Glabersonâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s New York Times News Analysis piece (12/10/08), ‘Relatives of 9/11 Victims Add a Passionate Layer to Guantanamo Debate.” Let’s start with the lead:

After the detainees charged with the plotting of the September 11 attacks discussed confessing this week, something unusual was heard here: a vigorous public defense of Guantánamo.

“Guantánamo Bay has gotten a bad rap,” said Alice Hoagland, whose son was killed in the 2001 attack.

Itâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s not at all unusual to hear people defending Guantanamo; itâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s a staple of right-wing punditry and talk radio. Government officials have offered self-serving tours of the camp for certain media figures, like Bill Oâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢Reilly, and of course the White House has vigorously defended its prison camp. And many in the corporate media defended the original legal argument behind the Guantanamo detentions in the first place.

Problem No. 2 comes a few graphs later:

The routine here has long included officials making their case for the detentions and trials at the Guantánamo naval base in muted bureaucratese about “fair and open” proceedings. They were outmatched by human rights groups and defense lawyers, with their inflammatory accusations about torture and secret evidence.

Ah, yes…. The people running the camp have been “outmatched” by their critics, who make “inflammatory accusations” about torture and secret evidence. Since the latter is a well-known feature of the military tribunalsâ┚¬”itâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s not inflammatory to say so, is it? As for tortureâ┚¬”apparently it’s inflammatory to talk about uncomfortable realities.

UPDATE: The L.A. Times‘ Carol Williams (12/11/08) had a much more balanced piece about relatives of September 11 victims’ positions on Guantanamo.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.