June 27, 2005

CRAPO: NO PRISONER ABUSE AT GUANTANAMO, WORK KEEPING AMERICANS SAFER FROM TERRORISM

Senator one of five conducting inspections at detention site in Cuba

Washington, DC â?? The world is a safer place for Americans and many of their neighbors around the globe thanks to the interrogation work being done at the Guantanamo Bay detention site in Cuba, according to Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. Crapo was part of a five-senator delegation in Cuba on Sunday to personally investigate how prisoners are being treated by U.S. military personnel.â??These are the worst of the worst,â?? Crapo said of the detainees. â??There is a reason they are there. They must be kept under control or they will kill more Americans.â?? Crapo said out of 70,000 persons detained during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, only 520 are kept in Cuba. He described the Guantanamo detainees as terrorism trainers, bomb makers, recruiters for Al-Qaeda, and suicide bombers that must be detained because of the information they are offering, which he said has already saved American lives. Crapo said the only evidence of physical injury was what the detainees had brought on themselves: â??In some cases, detainees had lost limbs, not because they were abused, but because they were building bombs they intended to use to blow up Americans.â??Crapo noted that contrary to allegations, detainees at Guantanamo have better medical care, housing arrangements, and access to legal help than other prisoners from earlier world conflicts. None of the detainees, he said, fits the model for treatment of prisoners of war set under the Geneva Convention because they attack civilians, are not part of an organized army and do not wear uniforms. He added the living conditions, including air conditioning in some cases, were even better than what U.S. troops face in Iraq and Afghanistan. â??If anyone is being abused, it is not the detainees. It is the young men and women of our military who are being threatened,â?? Crapo said during a speech this morning on the Senate floor. â??These charges of abuse appear to be a great irony because the abuse is in the reverse. Our military members are threatened, harassed, and abused by detainees at Guantanamo.â??Crapo was joined by Senators Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) for an extensive tour covering the Guantanamo complex. He noted that â??Camp X-Ray,â?? a largely open-air detainment area, had been closed for three years, yet media coverage still shows prisoners outdoors, something Crapo said is no longer happening.