Hey all you non terrorists imprisoned in New York airports because of global warming, unable to leave for your ultimate destination or even venture into the city itself, bored and missing your loved ones, reading this in the discomfort of snowbound LaGuardia, JFK or Newark--be envious. Thanks to the generosity of the International Committee of the Red Cross the terrorists ensconced in balmy Guantanamo have a few more comforts than you.
With the prison camps at Guantanamo approaching their 10th year, the majority Yemeni captive population has just received a new perk: Video conferencing back to family via a new link set up by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The Geneva-based group announced the service's inauguration on Tuesday, saying four Yemeni captives had been allowed to use the teleconferencing this month in calls beamed between the Navy base in southeast Cuba and the nation on the Arabian Peninsula.
Prisoners and family can speak by video for up to an hour, according to a Red Cross statement. It said some detainees and their families can now see and speak to each other "for the first time in almost a decade."
The ICRC had earlier acted as go-between for the captives and their families with "Red Cross Messages." Those are the brief exchanges on official forms that the Pentagon sanctioned soon after it opened the camps on Jan. 11, 2002, provided the military could review each message before delivery.
This is the same ICRC that just can't seem to contact Gilad Shalit, an Israeli hostage captured illegally over three years ago, imprisoned somewhere presumably in Gaza. Laughing at the Geneva Conventions of War which state
Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall, at all times, be humanely treated, and shall be protected, especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity. (snip) Without prejudice to the provisions relating to their state of health, age and sex, all protected persons shall be treated with the same consideration by the Party to the conflict in whose power they are, without any adverse distinction based, in particular, on race, religion or political opinion.
No one but his captors have had any contact with him. Other Israeli POWs have also disappeared; fate unknown. The ICRC doesn't even accept the symbol of Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross, a blue six pointed star.
And not a word of complaint from the ICRC or the UN.