SO, THE “GITMO-2” CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG? By CAMERON DUODU
IT was evident, from the word “go”, that there was more to the Gitmo-2 story than met the eye.
“Compassion”? Balderdash! How much “compassion” does the US itself have? When its drones and fighter-bombers kill innocent civilians anywhere in the world, including women and children; when its bombers target an MSF hospital in Afghanistan, what does the US say? “That was ‘collateral damage’!… End of discussion.
No – it was a “deal”. A “done deal!” specified the U.S. Embassy in Ghana spokesman, Mr Daniel Fennell, on a TV programme in Ghana.
A “done deal”?
Done by Mahama behind the back of the Minister of Foreign Affairs?
Behind the back of the Minister of the Interior?”
Without the imprimatur of the Minister of Justice?
Without Parliament being apprised of it, let alone being asked to approve it?
And now, the Americans have added insult to injury! Four Republican members of the US Senate Appropriations Committee have just defined for all those people who lied to the public that it was only “principle” that had brought the Gitmo-2 to our shores, the true nature of ”diplomatic arm-twisting”.
When I suggested that the Ghana Government should call a conference so that some of the country’s ex-ambassadors could brief it on diplomatic “arm-twisting”, I was joking, of course. But now, the conference need not be called at all – even if the idea is taken seriously! For from the US Senate, comes the authentic American attitude towards nations that want American aid.
Following the transfer of two terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Ghana, announced on 6 January 2016, Senator Mark Kirk ( Republican Illinois) has led a group of Senators in urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to “cut foreign aid to Ghana if the country is unable to hold and monitor the two detainees and ensure they do not re-engage in terrorism against the United States.”
Senator Mark Kirk wrote the letter along with Senators Roy Blunt (Republican, Montana), James Lankford (Republican, Oklahoma) and Steve Daines (also Republican, Montana). Addressed to the Chairman of the Senate State and Foreign Operations and Related Programme, Lindsay Graham (Republican, South Carolina) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Thad Cochran (Republican, Mississippi) the letter requested the Committee to reduce assistance to Ghana by $10 million per detainee “in the event [that] either of these detainees escapes from confinement, or re-engages in terrorism while in Ghana’s custody.”
Heavens above! We in Ghana do your country a favour, and you want to punish us in case something goes wrong with how the favour works out?
But – yeah! 10 million bucks per detainee is the price we shall pay if we are found to be an incompetent host of guests we did not want but were persuaded to accept!! So say the elected representatives of the American people.
The Senators claimed that they were QUOTE: ” grateful for Ghana’s friendship and the strong bilateral relationship between our two countries…..”
HAHAHAHAHAHA! Nice way to appreciate “friendship”, no?
They went on QUOTE: “As members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, we have consistently voted to support foreign assistance to Ghana. However, with the U.S. Intelligence Community in agreement that 30 percent of the terrorists released from Guantanamo are known or suspected to have re-joined the fight against Americans, it is reckless to release more of these prisoners, particularly when the ability of the host country to hold and monitor these detainees is in doubt.
“The country’s (i.e. Ghana’s) prison system nationally operates at 145 percent capacity, with some facilities operating 300 percent over capacity. In recent years, more than 30 prisoners have escaped annually from Ghanaian prisons. Though the detainees will be housed in a facility separate from the prison system, the current operating procedures are illustrative of the nation’s limitations in detaining these individuals.” UNQUOTE
The letter had begun thus:
OUOTE “Dear Chairman Cochran and Chairman Graham:
“We are concerned about the Administration’s transfer of two Guantanamo terrorist detainees to Ghana on January 6, 2016, and the Ghanaian government’s capacity to hold, monitor, and ensure these terrorist detainees do not re-engage in terrorism against the United States and our allies.
“As you know, the Administration transferred Yemeni detainees Mahmoud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef, a Taliban fighter and member of Osama bin Laden’s “55th Brigade” who threatened to cut the throats of American guards and their families upon release, and Khalid Mohammed Salih al Dhuby, an al Qaeda fighter in Afghanistan who reportedly threatened to kill guards at Guantanamo Bay, to Ghana after President John Dramani Mahama agreed to host them for two years.
“While the Administration’s own Guantanamo task force neither cleared Atef and Dhuby of their involvement in terrorism nor recommend (sic) them for outright release, U.S. Embassy in Ghana spokesman Daniel Fennell inexplicably told Ghanaian media the “current assessment is that these two people coming to Ghana do not pose a security threat.”
“President Mahama, who also maintains these terrorist detainees pose no threat, asserts they are housed safely on a security compound.. ..
“While Ghana has not previously held terrorist detainees, the nation’s prison system provides an illustrative indicator of the country’s limitations in credibly detaining and monitoring these hardened terrorists. The prison system is plagued by decay and mismanagement. The majority of Ghana’s prison facilities were constructed during the colonial era and lack the modern infrastructure required to hold inmates. According to one third-party study, the country’s prison system operates at 145 percent capacity nationally, with some prisons operating up to 300 percent over capacity. In recent years, 30 or more prisoners have escaped from Ghana’s prisons annually. It is clear no facility in the world, let alone in Ghana, could detain terrorists as securely as Guantanamo…
“However, with the U.S. Intelligence Community in agreement that 30 percent of the terrorists released from Guantanamo are known or suspected to have re-joined the fight against Americans, it is reckless to release more of these prisoners, particularly when the ability of the host country to hold and monitor these detainees is in doubt. We therefore request the Committee to include in the fiscal year 2017 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill, language that would reduce assistance to Ghana by $10 million per detainee, in the event either of these detainees escapes from confinement or re-engages in terrorism while in Ghana’s custody. Such language would incentivize Ghanaian authorities to allocate appropriate resources to closely and securely monitor the activities of these terrorist detainees.” UNQUOTE
My God, they don’t even trust us one bit! Oh, President John Mahama! Is this the humiliation you have brought upon your country?When did the US become concerned about the conditions in our prisons, huh?
President Barack Obama will no doubt write to you to apologise for what the Senators have done and explain that the Republicans want to frustrate his effort to close down Guantanamo Bay.
But the damage has been done – Ghana will be the laughing-stock of the world as a result of the Senators’ action.
You may be satisfied with an Obama apology – if one ever comes! But I assure you your fellow countrymen will never forget that you allowed your arm to be twisted, and that you were laughed at by the very people who twisted it.
What a shame you have brought on us all.