The Save Gitmo Movement

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In the National Review, Deroy Murdock doesn’t want the Guantanamo prisoners transferred abroad. These “al-Qaeda assassin[s],” after all, could escape from prison in Yemen. No word, of course, on whether the prisoners in Guantanamo are actually as dangerous as he says they are. As far as we know, the truly nefarious prisoners in U.S. custody—including operations planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and recruiter Abu Zubaydah—are off in some undisclosed location around the world. Those left in Cuba, as one counterterrorism official told the New Republic‘s Spencer Ackerman, are “the ash-and-trash jihadi picked up in Afghanistan,” and not the “honest-to-God, cardcarrying members of Al Qaeda–operatives who are worth a shit.”

But no! Says Murdock! You don’t understand! Army general and Southern Command chief Brantz Craddock recently told us, “We have and we are today still getting information that is relevant, that is actionable, and is supporting our service members in the field in the global war on terrorism.” This might be true. On the other hand, it might not. Most of those prisoners have been lounging around in Cuba for three years. How much could they really know? As one official told Ackerman, they can still provide a decent amount of background knowledge—how al-Qaeda works, how people interact, which ethnic groups work with which ethnic groups—but after a time, this too becomes obsolete, as the face of al-Qaeda has changed and the center of the organization’s gravity moves toward Iraq. Well, says Murdock, picture this little smoking gun scenario:

Imagine that the FBI caught a terrorist in March 2006 named Mustafa al-Fissi carrying detailed diagrams of the San Onofre, California, and Seabrook, New Hampshire, atomic energy plants. Today, no Gitmo interrogator could ask detainees about the still-undetected al-Fissi. Next March, however, one or more Gitmoites might be persuaded to sing about al-Fissi, his contacts, his bankers, etc. Sending these intelligence sources beyond U.S. control will, at best, delay our ability to connect these dots. If our foreign friends limit access to transferred Guantanameros, FBI agents might stare at al-Fissi without knowing what some of his terrorist brethren know about him.

Okay, that’s scary, but really, what kind of argument is this? We can’t keep people locked up forever because someday they might—might—know some dude who knows another dude who’s related to a terrorist picked up in San Onofre. On the other hand, Murdock has one point right: the detainees will be much better off in Guantanamo than baking in some hellhole prison in Yemen or Saudi Arabia. But that’s not an excuse to maintain an extralegal prison that undermines the rule of law and hampers law-enforcement efforts, it’s an argument for sorting this stuff out.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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