Wednesday, April 04, 2007

GITMO Boogeyman Story A Lie

Last week's flurry of fear that Democrats were planning to move dangerous Guantanamo detainees to such places as the Naval Air Station brig in Pensacola turns out to have been a complete fabrication concocted by Northwest Florida's own Jeff Miller (R-Ineffectual) and his Republican colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee.

According to the Army Times --
A list of 17 domestic military bases at which suspected terrorists might be housed if a U.S. military prison in Cuba closes, which was released Friday by a senior House Republican, is not based on any recommendations from Democrats.

The actual list came not from Democrats, some of whom have in fact talked about closing the U.S. Navy prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but from a Defense Department report that mentioned excess prison capacity at some stateside installations as part of the 2005 base closure and realignment process, said Loren Dealy, the House Armed Services Committee press secretary.

The prison list was mentioned in a bipartisan staff memo prepared for an armed services committee hearing about the Guantanamo prison, Dealy said.

The entire nonsense, it seems, started with a March 29 press release from California Republican congressman Duncan Hunter who is former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. The release claimed --
"Congressional Democrats listed the following American communities as potential relocation points for terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.”
Pensacola's own embarrassment, congressman Jeff Miller, copied that press statement verbatim and sent it out, too, as if it were his own. Everyone got sucked in.

As we observed at the time, the local news report was based essentially on a wire service story. All it took was to fool one Associated Press reporter and then sit back and watch lazy local newspapers act like megaphones. The PNJ predictably complied by yanking Troy Moon off the culture beat to round up a few fear-filled quotes from what looks suspiciously like a handful of startled bar flies and then fashioned big, scary headlines for the top of the front page.

The ever-diminishing number of Bush supporters may prefer to delude themselves into thinking that Jeff Miller and his colleagues were just playing a harmless, early April Fool's joke on constituents. But the pattern is too obvious to ignore. As Glenn Greenwald laments today in his Salon column, apropos of Rep. Mike Pence's (R-Ind.) claim that Baghdad's market is just "like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime":
It is actually difficult to fathom what historians are... going to be able to say when they compile the statements and representations of our country's political leaders over the past four years. It all reads like some caricatured cartoon of a country ruled by compulsive liars and two-bit cons -- like some college freshman's attempt to write a science fiction account of a country ruled by leaders who continuously manipulate the citizenry with the most unabashed, simplistic and transparent lies on the gravest of matters. And no matter how many times it is exposed, they just continue to remain in power, openly engaging in exactly the same behavior without any consequences.
Now that we know Miller put one over on the Pensacola News Journal there is only one remaining question. Does the local paper have self-respect enough to call him out on it -- or will it sink to its knees and ask for more of the same?


Anonymous said...

The Pensacola New Urinal will stay on its knees. Cannot understand why it tolerates do-nothing Miller.

Brian Gather said...

One of our own local bloggers from Gulf Breeze is calling Congressman Jeff Miller out on his non-committal "go with the flow" politics. Scott Harrell called Rep. Miller a "Congressional Crawfish" on his stance concerning the potential demise of Internet radio and webcasting.