“ I LEFT Guantánamo Bay much as I had arrived almost five years earlier — shackled hand-to-waist, waist-to-ankles, and ankles to a bolt on the airplane floor. My ears and eyes were goggled, my head hooded, and even though I was the only detainee on the flight this time, I was drugged and guarded by at least 10 soldiers. This time though, my jumpsuit was American denim rather than Guantánamo orange ... How did I arrive at this point?” (Kurnaz 1).
Murat Kurnaz is not a terrorist and has never been a member of Al Qaeda or even supported them. He doesn't even understand their ideas. Back in 2001, before the 9/11 attacks Murat made plans to travel to Pakistan to study the Koran alongside a religious group. Being a naive 19 year old, Murat did not think that the war in Afghanistan would interfere with his trip to Pakistan. So he went ahead with his trip.
Murat was on his way to the airport, on a public bus, to return to Germany when the police stopped the bus he was in. He was the only non-Pakistani on the bus and with his bright red hair, it was very obvious he was out of place. The police asked him to step off the bus to look through his papers as well as ask some questions. Murat had been told by Journalist that this same things had happened to them, so he explained to the police he was not a journalist, but a tourist. At this point the police detained Murat but promised him they would soon let him go to the airport. A few days later the Pakistanis turned him over to the American officials. At this point he was very much relieved to be in American hands; Americans, he thought, would treat him fairly.
Later Murat learned that the U.S. paid a $3,000 bounty for his capture. At the time of his detainment the U.S. had distributed fliers all around Afghanistan, that basically promised that people who turned over Taliban or Al Qaeda suspects would, in the words of one flier “Get enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life” (Kurnaz 2). A great number of men, ended up in Guantanamo as a result of these fliers, no women were transported to Guantanamo, just men.
First Murat was taken to Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he was asked the same questions for many weeks by American interrogators. “Where is Osama bin Laden?” “Was I with Al Qaeda?” Murat explained over and over he was not with Al Qaeda and he had no idea where Bin Laden was. He pleaded with the interrogators to contact Germany so they could figure out who he really was. During the interrogations, the Americans dunked his head under water and punched him in the stomach. Though the Americans never called this “waterboarding”, it is infact the same thing. During the tortuous waterboarding, Murat recalls, “I was sure I would drown.” Murat endured various types of torture. One instance he recalls being, “Chained to the ceiling of a building and hung by my hands for days” (Kurnaz 2). The pain was unbearable. Every so often a Doctor would check on him to make sure he was not dead. Then he would be chained to the ceiling again.
Murat was transferred to Guantanamo after a two month stay in Kandahar. The interrogations continued with the same questions over and over. Though he told his story time and time again, his name, family, why he was in Pakistan, nothing he said satisfied them. So continued the endless beatings, freezing temperatures and extreme heat, solitary confinement, forced sleeplessness.
In virtually every armed conflict, people are caught and forcefully held against their will. Historically, the question that follows has been, “What to do with the captured prisoners?” The war that has unfolded in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks has been radical and untraditional, but the question remains the same. What is Obama and his administration going to with the detainees being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks sparked the “War on Terror”. A