A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Co-Editor of ThePoliticalCarnival.blogspot.com
Major Barry Wingard is an attorney who represents an innocent Kuwaiti detainee named Fayiz al-Kandari. Fayiz has been in imprisoned -- and abused -- for 7 ½ years. In Fayiz's opinion, and I trust him over most who have never been a guest at Hotel Gitmo, conditions there are worse than they were before. To add salt to his many wounds, Fayiz is still waiting for his day in court.
How in the world did a nice, well-to-do, well-educated guy such as Fayiz end up in Gitmo? He was in Afghanistan doing charity work. He gave, they took... his freedom. 95% of the prisoners captured in Afghanistan were not captured by American forces. Fayiz was swept up and sold to our guys by bounty hunters. He had always considered America an ally, but he was in for a rude awakening.
The Guantanamo Bay Resort is not the swanky new digs it's been cracked up to be. After President Obama was elected, the perception was that Gitmo would be closed, and things would improve. But Barry feels that the opposite has happened. How bad is it? This bad:
Attorney-client privilege is now a thing of the past. His client's letters have been opened, which, believe it or not, didn't happen under the Bush Administration. No, I'm not kidding.
As for "harsh interrogations," it's not as horrific as it was a few years ago, but the, er, "give-and-take" between guards and inmates is ongoing. And by give-and-take I mean that the violence continues. Since Obama has been in office, this happens more than ever. Again, no, I'm not kidding... or should I say, Fayiz and Barry aren't.
Barry Wingard, who has extensive experience as a prosecutor and an investigator and is now a defense attorney, has seen the worst of the worst when it comes to bad guys. And after all that exposure to all those clients and their stories, he is 100% convinced that his client is innocent. He tells me that the so-called evidence against Fayiz consists of layers of hearsay, "gossip" if you will. The allegations have (d)evolved:
Fayiz has been accused by other detainees of being a "Super Al Qaeda Operative"... whatever that means. Did I mention that there is no evidence to back that up? The allegations get more ridiculous. One of my favorites is his supposedly creating tens of thousands of video and audio tapes. When Barry asked for even one, the government said, in so many words, "We'll try to find ya some and we'll bring 'em to ya," doing their best Sarah Palin impression. In addition, A told B through C that Fayiz was also at some training camp or other. This is like Telephone Hour on crack.
So, you may be wondering, what are the accommodations at the Gitmo Resort like? As Ana Marie Cox asked in her Air America interview (listen here), "Do the prisoners frolic on the sand?" It is beachfront property, after all. Location, location, location! The answer: No. Fayiz is still in solitary confinement. No prime rib dinners yet, no after-dinner handy Wet Wipes, no pillow mints, no nothin'.
The good news? Fayiz and Barry have a wonderful relationship. It started off a little rocky, Barry explains, but there is a mutual trust. It took time, but it has evolved into something kind of sweet.
The bad news? Under Barack Obama, not only have things changed very little, but in some ways they have worsened. The prisoners get redacted newspapers, and they get one phone call... per year. Fayiz tells Barry that when the 2008 election took place, there was real hope for real justice. But so far, no real change. Real disappointing.
However, despite having his hopes crushed, Fayiz is resilient. He holds no hard feelings, amazingly. He is strong, he works out every day, and he even teaches others to read at Hotel Gitmo... an unselfish effort which, astoundingly, could be used against him, because that proves his Super Al Qaedatude.
As of now, we have an untried, untested system of justice for these detainees. But since federal district court hasn't been an option, a "new and improved" military commission is what Fayiz faces, assuming he ever gets there. And if he does, well...
Evidence is being withheld, in Barry's opinion, because it might cause the U.S. a steaming mug full of embarrassment when all the sadistic details are revealed. Which begs the question, what's missing here? Let's all say it together: Transparency.
Please go here to read everything I've written on this subject, see any video, hear or link to any audio to date. As more is posted, that link will update automatically. Major Wingard's story is remarkable, his client Fayiz is no Super Al Qaeda, but he is nearly superhuman. Let's do what we can to get him out of that hell hole and back home where he belongs.
(If you're on Twitter, the hashtag is #FreeFayiz.)
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION