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Austria said Monday it would not take prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay center despite a request by President Barack Obama for help from European nations during his first major international trip as leader. Austria was worried about the security threat to the European Union posed by the detainees, Interior Minister Maria Fekter told a meeting of her European counterparts.
During the 2002 war, the CIA distributed thousands of 'imitation bank note' leaflets in Afghanistan and Pakistan, offering rewards of thousands of dollars for the capture of Taliban or al-Quaida fighters. One such leaflet was inscribed with the message "get wealth and power beyond your dreams, help the anti-Taliban forces rid Afghanistan of murderers and terrorists". The rewards on the imitation bank notes were equivalent to $4,285, although detainees testified during military tribunals that bounties ranged from $3,000 to $25,000.
An academic paper by Mark Denbeaux of Seton Hall University concluded that 86% of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay were captured by Pakistani or Northern Alliance tribesmen at a time when the US offered these large bounties for the capture of suspected enemies. Only 5% of detainees were actually captured by US forces. Human rights organisations have voiced concerns that the offer of large rewards in a country blighted by poverty will mostly result in the kidnap of vulnerable and innocent people who would be 'easy pickings' for unscrupulous tribesmen and Northern Alliance members. This analysis is consistent with the stories of many detainees, most notably the "Tipton 3" from the West Midlands, who have maintained that they were kidnapped in Afghanistan whilst travelling back to Pakistan for a wedding.
According to the US government's official figures, 55% of the detainees are determined to not have committed any hostile acts against the US or its allies. "Sometimes, we just didn't get the right folks," said Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, Guantanamo's current commander. Closer inspection of evidence cited as 'proof' that individuals were "enemy combatants" reveals that this included association with an unnamed individual, attending the 'wrong' guest house, possession of a rifle, and ownership of a Casio watch! In Afghanistan, where gun culture is rife, possession of a firearm is widely thought not to distinguish a peaceful civilian from a fighter. US intelligence officials have labeled the Casio F91W "the watch of choice for terrorists", despite being owned by millions of people worldwide. A perusal of detainee records demonstrates that such 'evidence' is often the sole reason for the continued detention of an individual, with no evidence of any crime ever being committed.
Donald Rumsfield's assertion that the Guantanamo detainees are "the worst of the worst" is not only groundless, it tacitly implies they are not worthy or deserving of a fair trial, a right which all civilised peoples can agree on. Human rights organisations have likened the kidnap of so-called "enemy combatants" to the slave trade, only people are kidnapped, bought, sold, and tortured to satisfy a fearful population that 'something is being done' about 'terrorism'; that 'justice' is prevailing. The end result, however, is the loss of the very values that are supposedly being defended by the 'war on terror'.