CBS Hypes: ‘Forever Prisoners’ at Gitmo Saw Trump Win as ‘End of the World’

The journalists at CBS This Morning on Thursday were very concerned about the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, but not so much about the threat they pose. Instead, correspondent Margaret Brennan reported live from Cuba and let the world know that these men saw the election of Donald Trump as “the end of the world.” As a network graphic fretted over the “forever prisoners,” Brennan worried, “Donald Trump's campaign pledge to stop this prison from closing has left the fate of many prisoners in limbo.”

She highlighted a detainee lawyer who “is afraid the prison doors will slam shut when Donald Trump takes office,” and that “his client told him the prisoners were on edge on election night.”

Lawyer David Remes lamented, “[My client] said that many detainees thought that it was the end of the world and felt terrible and that many detainees asked for tranquilizers, sleeping pills, because they were so distraught.

Lest one think that the prisoners are being horribly treated, U.S. Commander Steven Gabavics gave Brennan a tour of the facilities. He explained the amenities for prisoners about to be released: “They'll have refrigerators, they have the shower, they have the TV for access, they'll have a DVD player. They'll have, if they want to, a PlayStation game."

(Just one PlayStation game? Sounds awful.)

Brennan recounted her tour of Gitmo and described one prisoner’s “art show”:

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MARGARET BRENNAN: One prisoner spotted our cameras and gave an impromptu art show. We weren't permitted to film his face as he described each painting in a mix of English and Arabic. His name is Khalid Qasim. He is accused of training with Al Qaeda, but he has never charged with a crime, 14 years after arriving here.

It wasn’t until the very end of the segment that the journalist observed, “There is congressional concern that they are being sent to countries that won't adequately monitor them or stop them from posing a future threat."

On Wednesday, CBS journalists covered the facility and repeatedly deemed the prison “controversial.” Co-host Norah O’Donnell noted, “President-elect Trump has different ideas. He wants to put more prisoners in the controversial facility.”

Brennan added, “President-elect Trump campaigned on a promise to expand this controversial military prison.”

A transcript of Thursday’s segment is below:


CBS This Morning
12/1/16
7:36AM ET

CBS Graphic: Forever Prisoners? Gitmo Detainees Held for Years Without Charges

NORAH O’DONNELL: The White House says it will not allow President-elect Trump to veto any releases from Guantanamo Bay prison before he takes office. The Obama administration is working to find countries that will accept dozens of prisoners who have been cleared to leave. Only on CBS This Morning, Margaret Brennan spoke with a relative of one of the detainees hoping for release. She is at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Margaret, good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Good morning. Well, the pace of prisoner releases has picked up in recent months. But Donald Trump's campaign pledge to stop this prison from closing has left the fate of many prisoners in limbo. On a quiet day in the Guantanamo prison yard, giant buzzards picked at a detainee's leftovers.

One prisoner spotted our cameras and gave an impromptu art show. We weren't permitted to film his face as he described each painting in a mix of English and Arabic. His name is Khalid Qasim. He is accused of training with Al Qaeda, but he has never charged with a crime, 14 years after arriving here. Nearly half of the 60 remaining detainees will never be charged, in part, due to a lack of conclusive evidence. But Rear Admiral Peter Clarke said there are grounds for their detention.

PETER CLARKE: I know that the detainees we have here today are not folks who were accidentally rounded up. There is a reason why they are still here.

BRENNAN: Saifullah Paracha is the oldest detainee at 69. He claims his encounters with both Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohamed was innocent. The U.S. intelligence community disagrees but his son Mustafa said not fair to continue holding him.

MUSTAFA: Charge him, take him to court, release him, transfer to the U.S. But something needs to be done

BRENNAN: Paracha’s lawyer David Remes is afraid the prison doors will slam shut when Donald Trump takes office. His client told him the prisoners were on edge on election night.

DAVID REMES: He said that many detainees thought that it was the end of the world and felt terrible and that many detainees asked for tranquilizers, sleeping pills, because they were so distraught.

BRENNAN: Some prisoners are being freed as the U.S. no longer feels they are a terrorist threat. Commander Steven Gabavics told us that before leaving, detainees stay in a college dorm-like apartment to begin adjusting to life on the outside.

STEVEN GABAVICS: They’ll have refrigerators, they have the shower, they have the TV for access, they’ll have a DVD player. They’ll have, if they want to, a PlayStation game.”

BRENNAN: This route out of the prison is called the pathway to freedom. Officials here insist that they are not rushing out any prisoners, but there is congressional concern that they are being sent to countries that won't adequately monitor them or stop them from posing a future threat. Anthony?

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.

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