Were Chinese Agents At Gitmo?

The Congressional Quarterly reports on members of Congress who are asking the Pentagon for more details about the role of Chinese government agents in interrogating Uighur detainees at Guantanamo Bay:

Jay Alan Liotta, principal director of the Defense Department office responsible for detainee policy, told a House subcommittee on Thursday that he would not publicly comment on whether officials from China or any other nation were granted access to foreign citizens held at the detention facility.

[…] Rep. James P. Moran , D-Va., said he would introduce an amendment to strip funding for Liotta’s office if the Defense Department does not disclose, in open session, whether a Chinese delegation was allowed to question Guántanamo detainees who are members of a Muslim minority in China called the Uighurs.

“Unless we get a full and accurate answer, I intend to offer an amendment to defund that office, and I intend to go as high as we need to go,” Moran said. “To not allow members of Congress to have communication with detainees, but you allow foreign intelligence agents … that is an absolute insult to the U.S. Congress.”

Members of Congress have been routinely denied access to the Guantánamo detainees.

“The American people have a right, without compromising national security, to understand what happened at Guantánamo, particularly in this case of the Uighurs,” said Rep. Bill Delahunt , D-Mass., chairman of the subcommittee that conducted the hearing. “The answer that it should be in a classified setting is absurd.”

See also “Uyghurs describe ordeal at the hands of Chinese agents” from the Bermuda Sun, which reports on statements made by former detainees now living in Bermuda:

Mr. Turahum told how in October 2002 he received a visit from two agents of the Chinese Government. He said: “They attempted to take my picture; however, I did not agree to this. They called for American soldiers and ordered them to hold me, so that my picture could be taken. The soldiers grabbed me, pulling my beard, pressing on my throat, twisting my hands behind my back, and as a result my picture was taken by force. The air conditioner in the room was placed on high, making the room very cold.

“I was left in this room for six hours. As a result of the room being so very cold, I felt somewhat frozen at times. After this six-hour period, I was placed in a isolation room that was made of metal, and measured 6 feet by eight feet. There I remained for 20 days in isolation.

July 20, 2009 10:50 PM
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