Sunday, September 9, 2012

Neverending Torture at Guantanamo... um, 11 years without trials

Eleven Years after 9/11, Guant�namo Is a Political Prison

by Andy Worthington

September 8, 2012
Eleven years since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the majority of the remaining 168 men in Guant�namo are held not because they constitute an active threat to the United States, but because of inertia, political opportunism, and an institutional desire to hide evidence of torture by U.S. forces, sanctioned at the highest levels of government. That they are still held, mostly without charge or trial, is a disgrace that continues to eat away at any notion that the United States believes in justice.
It seems like an eternity since there was the briefest of hopes that George W. Bush�s "war on terror" prison at Guant�namo would be shut down. That was in January 2009, but although Barack Obama issued an executive order promising to close Guant�namo within a year, he soon reneged on that promise. He failed to stand up to Republican critics who seized on the fear of terrorism to attack him and he failed to stand up to members of his own party who were fearful of the power of black propaganda regarding Guant�namo and the alleged but unsubstantiated dangerousness of its inmates.
The president himself also became fearful when, in January 2010, the Guant�namo Review Task Force, which he himself had appointed and which consisted of career officials and lawyers from government departments and the intelligence agencies, issued its report (PDF) based on an analysis of the cases of the 240 prisoners inherited from George W. Bush. The Task Forcerecommended that, of the 240 men held when Obama came to power, only 36 could be prosecuted. Forty-eight others were regarded as being too dangerous to be released, even though insufficient evidence existed to put them on trial.
The rest, the Task Force concluded, should be released, although it also advised that 30 of those 156 men � all Yemenis � should continue to be held in "conditional detention," dependent on there being a perceived improvement in the security situation in Yemen.
There were severe problems with the Task Force�s recommendations, particularly regarding the 48 prisoners deemed to be too dangerous to be released despite the lack of evidence against them, because detention without charge or trial is unacceptable under any circumstances. Also troubling, however, was the Task Force�s invention, without reference to Congress, of "conditional detention," a detention category that it had invented.                 Read On... 

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