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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Guantanamo and Recidivism: The Media's Ongoing Failure to Question Official Statistics

We're frequently reminded by the media's talking heads of the imminent threat from terrorism and that in particular those held in Gitmo without due process are a potential risk for returning to terrorist activities. Andy Worthington from the Future of Freedom Foundation reports that most of the percentages of Gitmo inmates that return to the field are not accurate and the media ignores it. Imagine that.

Last week, the director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the director of the CIA and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, issued a two-page unclassified summary, entitled, “Summary of the Reengagement of Detainees Formerly Held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (PDF),” which provided informationabout the supposed “recidivism” of former prisoners.
According to the summary, of the 599 prisoners released from Guantánamo, 95 (15.9 percent) are described as “Confirmed of Reengaging,” and 72 others (12 percent) are described as “Suspected of Reengaging.” However, in the mainstream media, little distinction was made between the “confirmed” and “suspected” figures. Reuters’s headline, for example, was “Recidivism rises among released Guantánamo detainees,” which was typical. In seeking to justify it, Reuters’s reporter stated, “The figures represent a 2.9 percent rise over a 25 percent aggregate recidivism rate reported by the intelligence czar’s office in December 2010.”

Read the rest here. 

Drew Martin,
Blogger, THL

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