The U.K. Daily Mail does a pukeworthy article about their interview with Shaker Aamer, the Guantanamo detainee released to the British earlier this year.
As I said briefly in Guantanamo Clarity, Aamer says some nice-sounding things. He does that again in this new piece:
‘The concept of war in Islam is not about indiscriminate killing. It is governed by rules that also cover how you should treat prisoners. If a man is innocent, a man who went to help the people, then you must share your own food with him, and treat him decently.
‘Even if a human being is fighting against you, he should be treated humanely, not tortured or beaten up.’
That’s all well and good, especially if al Qaeda ever does fight that way. I wouldn’t count on it. It didn’t seem to help Daniel Pearl, and I don’t see the Mail bringing him up.
Conspicuously missing: it doesn’t specifically say they asked him about the Taliban and al Qaeda, and whether he’s for ’em or against ’em. That’s who he was assessed to be fighting for.
It’s as though the reporter, David Rose, already knows the answer and chose to map out his questions very carefully. Every word Aamer said here could be literally true regardless of whether or not he’s a jihadi.
Rose gives the standard lines about how Aamer was “under suspicion of terrorist activities without ever being charged,” as though that means anything when it wasn’t a crime under U.S. law for a non-American to lead a Taliban unit or to meet Bin Laden. He was held as an enemy combatant, not as a criminal.
But Rose tosses a ball for us critics to hit back:
And to those who claim he still has ‘questions to answer’ about his supposed support for terrorism, he produced the strongest possible riposte – an unequivocal denunciation of terror attacks on the streets of British cities, such as the 2013 murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby and last week’s stabbing at Leytonstone Tube station.
That’s not a response. Aamer also needs to denounce the jihad in Afghanistan. He is a resident of the U.K., which signed a UNSC resolution calling for an elected government in Afghanistan. Does he support that? His friends don’t. Aamer hasn’t said.
Rose does give the standard line about being held in Guantanamo for over 13 years. He does not say that Aamer could have gone home to Saudi Arabia years earlier, but chose Gitmo instead.
I’ll have to see or read the full interview tomorrow. But, so far, it looks like they put too much lipstick on this guy.
The NYT has his detainee files here: