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In The Loop
Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 08/16/2012

Gitmo prisoners rewarded with kittens?


Gitmo: home to detainees . . . and maybe a few adorable kittens. (Shane T. McCoy - AFP)
What’s fluffy, has four paws and just might be the latest tool in the war against terror? A kitten!

We’ve heard of prisoners who cooperate with authorities being rewarded with cigarettes, better food, perhaps an upgrade in digs. But in Guantanamo Bay, we’re told that the military brass have added pet cats to the list of perks accorded particularly helpful detainees.

At least that’s what one detainee’s attorney thinks. Carlos Warner, a lawyer representing Muhammed Rahim, an Afghan who was a translator for Osama bin Laden, gave the Loop a brief letter from his client. That note, which was just declassified, consisted of one line: “Dear Mr. Warner — Majid Khan has a cat.”

Khan, an alleged member of Al Qaeda who has agreed to testify against one of the chief planners of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, is considered a “high-value”detainee and was held by the CIA in a secret prison for several years before his transfer to Guantanamo.

Warner says the cat-as-reward is just an example of problems plaguing the system used to prosecute detainees, complaining that the military has shut down talks with detainees’ representatives. “I promise that the solution is not providing kittens to those who cooperate,” he told us. “The solution requires an open dialogue with those of us who have close relationships with the detained.”

Khan’s attorney, Wells Dixon, said he could not confirm or deny anything about his client’s conditions in confinement — including whether or not he had a pet cat. And, not surprisingly, a Defense Department spokesman for the facility similarly couldn’t tell the Loop much. “It could be true,” he said. “But it might not. I just can’t confirm or deny.”

In addition to sharing the news of Khan’s cat, Rahim had another thought to share with his lawyer, who we should note, is from Akron, Ohio.

“Dear Mr. Warner!” he wrote in a separate freshly declassified letter. “Lebron James is very bad man. He should apologise to the city of Cleveland.”

Warner says the Rahim’s sentiment about the NBA star who left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat reflects his client’s tribal values, in which loyalty is paramount and “betrayals are not tolerated or forgiven, although an honest apology from an offending peer is valued.”

Hear that, LeBron?

By  |  12:40 PM ET, 08/16/2012

 
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