MSNBC Host Compares Gitmo Detainees to American Slaves

Sunday, 26 May 2013 04:47 PM

By Audrey Hudson

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MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry is comparing the ongoing hunger strike of terrorist suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center to the ordeal suffered by slaves in America.

“This is the time to reaffirm our Americanness,” Harris-Perry said on her Saturday morning program on MSNBC. “I also appreciate that the hunger strikers are not trying to die. They're trying to generate autonomy in the context of something that strips their humanity -- something we certainly know about from the experience of American slavery.

"And that the language of before I would be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave and go home to my Lord and be free. Just that idea of creating human freedom within the context of horrible human conditions.”

Story continues below.

As a candidate for president five years ago, then-U.S. Sen . Barack Obama pledged to close the detention camp if elected. He repeated that pledge again this week and blamed Congress for his inability so far to fulfill his promise.

Picking up on the theme Sunday afternoon, anchor Craig Melvin confronted Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas about the continued detention of terrorist suspects in Gitmo and proclaimed the entire prison population innocent of terrorist crimes.

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“It has been determined that all 166 of the detainees there do not pose an eminent threat to this country,” Melvin said.

Pompeo laughed at Melvin’s statement, which was intended to contradict the congressman’s assertion the detainees had inflicted “great harm” on America.

“That’s just not true,” Pompeo responded. “That’s factually inaccurate.”

The actual list of detainees held at the facility is not a matter of public record, although the government released a list of 55 detainees last year who have been cleared for release but remain on the island because of an unwillingness of another country to take them.

Numerous prisoners released from the prison are also accused of returning to the battlefield, including Sufyan bin Qumu, who was was returned to Libyan custody in 2007. According to intelligence sources, Qumu was directly involved in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last year.

Several suspects released to Saudi Arabia are also accused of recommitting to their terrorist cause, this in spite of the country’s rehabilitation efforts that include spa treatments, conjugal visits, and other activities of leisure.

Saeed al-Shehri, a top leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was considered a successful graduate of the new age program until it was later reported that he had returned to jihad.

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