Sold to the Highest Bidder

So I totally need a break from the computer at this point, but just when I think I’m about to get away, some brand new insanity or other drags me back in. I feel like Boromir about to come face to face with the Balrog…What is this new devilry?

(Yes, I’m that fried; I’m quoting Lord of the Rings.)

Care of The Heretik, we find out that many of the detainees at Gitmo were sold into capture:

The U.S. Rewards for Justice program pays only for information that leads to the capture of suspected terrorists identified by name, said Steve Pike, a State Department spokesman. Some $57 million has been paid under the program, according to its Web site.

It offers rewards up to $25 million for information leading to the capture of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

But a wide variety of detainees at the U.S. lockup at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, alleged they were sold into capture. Their names and other identifying information were blacked out in the transcripts from the tribunals, which were held to determine whether prisoners were correctly classified as enemy combatants.

One detainee who said he was an Afghan refugee in Pakistan accused the country's intelligence service of trumping up evidence against him to get bounty money from the U.S.

"When I was in jail, they said I needed to pay them money and if I didn't pay them, they'd make up wrong accusations about me and sell me to the Americans and I'd definitely go to Cuba," he told the tribunal. "After that I was held for two months and 20 days in their detention, so they could make wrong accusations about me and my (censored), so they could sell us to you."

Another prisoner said he was on his way to Germany in 2001 when he was captured and sold for "a briefcase full of money" then flown to Afghanistan before being sent to Guantanamo.

"It's obvious. They knew Americans were looking for Arabs, so they captured Arabs and sold them — just like someone catches a fish and sells it," he said. The detainee said he was seized by "mafia" operatives somewhere in Europe and sold to Americans because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time — an Arab in a foreign country.

A detainee who said he was a Saudi businessman claimed, "The Pakistani police sold me for money to the Americans."
Of course, if you, like the president, believe that taking the word of prisoners who hate America is absurd, you’re probably feeling fairly dubious at this point. Well, try this on for size:

In March 2002, the AP reported that Afghan intelligence offered rewards for the capture of al-Qaida fighters — the day after a five-hour meeting with U.S. Special Forces. Intelligence officers refused to say if the two events were linked and if the United States was paying the offered reward of 150 million Afghanis, then equivalent to $4,000 a head.

That day, leaflets and loudspeaker announcements promised "the big prize" to those who turned in al-Qaida fighters.

Said one leaflet: "You can receive millions of dollars. ... This is enough to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life — pay for livestock and doctors and school books and housing for all your people."

Helicopters broadcast similar announcements over the Afghan mountains, enticing people to "Hand over the Arabs and feed your families for a lifetime," said Najeeb al-Nauimi, a former Qatar justice minister and leader of a group of Arab lawyers representing nearly 100 detainees.
The Heretik notes:

I expect Bush or Cheney tomorrow to discount this story. These unfortunate people who were sold by bounty hunters to U.S. forces will be discounted as people who hate freedom and hate America. Our leaders will say that with a straight face, without irony. Cheney and Bush will be right in one sense. If these unfortunate souls didn't hate America before, they will have plenty of reason to hate us now.

All I can say is that it feels like I have been kidnapped and awoken in another country—a crazy, brutal, careless country, which looks very much like the place I used to live, but bears no resemblance in countless other ways. There’s no other explanation for how so many things could have gone so irreparably pear-shaped in such a short amount of time.

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