The "up side" of Guantanamo

Saturday, September 16, 2006 at 04:25 PM

It's easy to look at the environment at Guantanamo and see nothing but the negative: indefinite detention without proof or charges, torture and other "harsh" treatment, uncertainty as to your fate and safety, and other stuff.

But the Department of Defense, under the able leadership of Donald ("love that homily") Rumsfeld is here to remind us that everything has a sunny side.

Shades of Jerry Della Femina's 1960s ode to bs, From those wonderful folks who brought you Pearl Harbor (or the "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" song from the men being crucified at the end of Monty Python's Life of Brian), we get this report from the UK's the Scotsman:

Terrorist detainees spellbound by Harry Potter tales
THE Harry Potter stories are the most popular books in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre's library, the Pentagon has revealed.

JK Rowling's tales of the young wizard were the most requested by terror suspects held at the high-security camp from among 3,500 titles available.

The Defence Department also said detainees enjoyed watching World Cup football games and playing table tennis.

The revelations came in a new document released by the department called Ten Facts About Guantanamo, which seeks to highlight the "benefits" available to those incarcerated at the camp in Cuba.

Recreational activities on offer are said to include basketball, volleyball, football, table tennis and board games, and high-top trainers are provided.

Departing detainees are given a Koran, a denim jacket, a white T-shirt, a pair of blue jeans, high-tops, a gym bag of toiletries, and a pillow and blanket for the flight home.

More money is spent on meals for detainees than on those for the US troops stationed there, the list claimed.

Detainees are offered up to 4,200 calories worth of food a day and gained an average of 20lb.

"The library has 3,500 volumes available in 13 languages - the most requested book is Harry Potter," the list added.

Matt Latimer, director of the Pentagon writers' group, which put the list together, said: "We welcome the chance to let people know there's more than one side to the story in Guantanamo."

I've said it before, you can't come up with a subject so important, so serious, that this administration won't try to solve it with a PR campaign.  Most of which actually make the problem worse, as I'm sure this one will as the info spreads throughout Europe and, especially, the Middle East.