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WikiLeaks: Former Guantanamo detainee praised for his message

From Andrew Carey, CNN
Briton Moazzam Begg was held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp for nearly three years after being detained in Afghanistan.
Briton Moazzam Begg was held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp for nearly three years after being detained in Afghanistan.
  • WikiLeaks published a U.S. diplomatic cable regarding Guantanamo detainees
  • The cable praised former detainee Moazzam Begg, a British man released in 2005
  • Begg was "barnstorming ... pushing governments to accept" detainees, the cable said

(CNN) -- As the United States worked to get countries around the world to take in detainees from Guantanamo Bay, it found a surprising ally in that endeavour, according to documents published by WikiLeaks.

Moazzam Begg, a British man held at the detention camp for nearly three years, is singled out for praise in a cable dispatched from the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg on January 15.

Begg, says the cable, was "barnstorming throughout Europe pushing governments to accept GTMO (Guantanamo) detainees for resettlement." Begg, who was released by the Bush administration in 2005, was never prosecuted.

In a striking observation, the cable said: "Mr. Begg is doing our work for us, and his articulate, reasoned presentation makes for a convincing argument."

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Indeed, at a question-and-answer session in Luxembourg following a public screening of a documentary film about torture, Begg clearly pressed all the right buttons for the U.S. Embassy official present, according to the cable.

"During his presentation, Begg spoke almost exclusively of the future, with hardly any mention of the past. He did not discuss the question of legality of torture. Rather than stressing past injustices, he focused on what to do now. He acknowledged that he lives with the past, but that he now wants to be part of the solution," the cable said.

Begg was picked up by American forces in Afghanistan in 2001 and designated an enemy combatant. Among the accusations leveled against him was that he recruited for al Qaeda.

"It is ironic that after four years of imprisonment and alleged torture, Moazzam Begg is delivering the same demarche to GOL (Government of Luxembourg) as we are: please consider accepting GTMO detainees for resettlement.

But if Begg was able impress his American observer in Luxembourg, it seems he had less success during his meeting with Luxembourg's foreign minister. The cable noted that while the Luxembourg government supported the closure of the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, it remained unwilling to take in any of detainees.

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