'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, April 27, 2006

"I don't know what a poppy is." 

The May issue of Harper's includes excerpts from transcripts of Guantanamo Bay "combatant-status review tribunals" which read like satire. Couldn't find them online, but Simbaud took the trouble of transcribing one of them:
Good Morning.
Thank God.

We don't know much about you. We have a few questions so we can figure out your story. Can you tell us why you went from Kazakhstan to Afghanistan with your family?
In Kazakhstan there are no jobs. It's hard to make money. We heard that any immigrants to Afghanistan are provided with food.

Did they provide?
Yes, they provided.

You say that in Kabul the only thing you did was grow vegetables. Did you do anything else?
I looked after the house. Nothing else.

What does the United States government mean when it says you have "family ties" to terrorists?
They are just blaming me. It's false.

We're trying to figure out why you're here. The United States wouldn't detain someone for more than two years for simply growing vegetables. Can you help us understand?
[No response]

Do you want to tell us why you think you're here?
I'm here because I went to Afghanistan for a better life. They captured me at my house. That's the reason I'm here.

Who captured you in Kabul? Was it Americans?
Afghans captured me. When I was in prison, I heard Massoud's people captured me.

Did you ever have the opportunity to receive any type of training while in Afghanistan?
For what reason?

To do something other than grow vegetables, maybe help the government.
I can't do anything except grow vegetables.

What kind of vegetables did you grow?
Green peppers, tomatoes, green beans, and some potatoes.

Did you also grow poppies?
I don't know what a poppy is.

Like a kind of drug?

Yes, opium.
No. What am I going to do growing this?

It's pretty popular in Afghanistan, and it's a pretty good cash crop from what I understand.
[No response]

I don't have any more questions, but I'll give you one more chance to say anything you might want to say to help us understand why many of these things don't seem to make sense.
[No response]

The documents were obtained once again via the Freedom of Information Act; this time by the AP rather than the ACLU...

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