Tag Archives: Guantanamo Bay
It’s difficult to think that these practices exist
Within our national projection one of unfair resist
And the gates soon will close
Don’t silence the crows
Of unjustifiable events within our own mist.
“We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani… His treatment met the legal definition of torture” – Susan Crawford, overseer of military commissions, appointed by Bush
“The United States does not torture” -George W. Bush
Mohammed al-Qahtani, a detainee held at Guantanamo Bay, who has not been charged with a crime, who has never been proven guilty, was threatened with a dog, put on a leash with chains and forced to perform tricks, subject to forty-eight of 54 consecutive days of 18-to-20-hour interrogations, stripped naked in front of female guards, forced to wear a bra with a thong on his head, subjected to long term freezing conditions, waterboarded, and beaten according to the Washington Post and abridged by the AP.Â This doesn’t come from a detainee, or from the ACLU, it comes from a Bush-appointed life-long Republican who is so insensitive to the torture issue that she wouldn’t have even called this torture but for the fact that the combination of these de-humanizing attacks left Mr. Qahtani in a “life-threatening position” where he was repeatedly hospitalized for low heart-rate.
It’s Abu Gharaib all over again, but this time the defense isn’t so robust from the White House.Â “A few bad apples” has been replaced by a statement saying that the torture techniques were legal when they were performed.Â That’s a war crime, authorized by the Bush Administration, right here in the United States of America.Â And, the good-will this will buy us in the Muslim world is a fitting farewell for an administration who has spent eight years burning bridges.
Transition officials announced Monday that President Obama will follow through on his campaign promise to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, via an executive order to be issued next Wednesday. Â Unfortunately, simply closing the base still leaves a number of questions to be answered.
There are 250 detainees still being held at Guantanamo. Â What is to be done with them? Â Some groups – such as the ACLU – are demanding that every one either be released or charged. Â But that might be an overly black-and-white view of the situation.
But that solution fails to recognize the United Statesâ€™ legitimate interest in holding individuals fighting against it in armed conflict…there are…as many as 100 detainees, who may not be prosecutable for a specific offense, but who are too dangerous to release â€” e.g., admitted Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters who have said that they would return to the battle in Afghanistan if released. What should be done about them?
Cole goes on to point out that it would be completely acceptable under international law to continue to hold them for the duration of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, much as we held Italian and German POWs during WWII. Â And unlike the Bush Administration, Obama will presumably follow the rules protecting the rights of POWs while in detention, from which the Bush Administration inexplicably asserted they were exempt.
Finally, even after we decide who to keep in detention, that begs another question. Â Where exactly will we detain them? Â A facility here in the US? Â Abroad? Â It has been suggested that holding them here could create the potential for attacks (possibly to aid in escape attempts) on the new facility, which weren’t really a threat at Guantanamo, since it’s on an island in the middle of a military base. Â While I think this possibility is far-fetched, security is certainly a legitimate aspect in the discussion.
“The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”
- Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in a ruling that for the third straight time awards prisoners held indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay the right to challenge their imprisonment in Federal court.