John McCaslin

"I view it very much as a national treasure, and I am the temporary custodian and try to take care of it, and hopefully pass it off in good shape one day."

-Tim Russert, in an interview with Inside the Beltway on Nov. 14, referring to NBC's "Meet the Press," the most watched Sunday morning interview program in America and the most quoted news program in the world, which he began moderating in 1991.

Cuban postcard

Get a load of some of these excerpts from the new book by U.S. Army Maj. Kyndra Rotunda, a former military lawyer who served on the prosecution team in Guantanamo Bay, where she was legal adviser to an elite team of war-crimes investigators.

Titled "Honor Bound: Inside the Guantanamo Trials," the book, among other eye-opening tidbits, contains some unlikely observations from several terrorist detainees, including one who apparently didn't want to leave the otherwise-notorious U.S. military detention facility in Cuba:

"Not surprisingly, the Army reviews detainee mail. The detainee's letter included poetic verses about the nice weather and the beautiful sunsets over Guantanamo Bay. He closed the letter by saying something like, 'Wish you were here!'" she writes.

"Later I heard about a detainee who the Army offered to release. But, when it informed the detainee, he said, 'No thanks. The weather will be nicer in my country next spring. I'll wait until then.' "

Then there was the "Australian Taliban" who Maj. Rotunda says demanded - and received - a fancy suit of clothes, paid for by American taxpayers, to wear to court.

"[David] Hicks' defense team filed a lengthy motion to prohibit the prosecutors from forcing the defendant to wear prison clothes at his trial," she explains. "The motion was unnecessary because the accused was never required to wear a prison uniform to hearings. In fact, he wore an $800 Brooks Brothers suit - paid for by the U.S. government."

As for the treatment of terrorist detainees at the camp, she describes how the prisoners "live in open bays, eat their meals outside together around picnic tables and serve themselves in home-style fashion from large, communal pots.

"Camp Four offers both soccer fields and basketball courts. The U.S. government offers a selection of basketball shoes for detainees upon request," she adds. "Ohio treats its prisoners more harshly than the military treats detainees in Guantanamo."

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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