Posted by: Sam Carson | 21 January, 2007

Guantanamo Bay

The detention camp at Guantanamo Bay is the dark hole of our age. It’s presence defines the Bush Administration as morally vacant and is the best recruiting PR for Jihadist there is. It has been running for five years, and has yet to prove itself worth anything but a reminder of how little regard the US government has for the simple basic rights of people.

Seven British MPs took a tour of the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in September, which has culminated into a report that has just been released, according to the BBC.

The BBC article shows the report as being a bit of a tap-dance, saying the camp should be closed but that the inmates were a potential danger to public safety. The MPs are suggesting the international community assist the US with the handling of the inmates so that the prison can go. There is no mention of addressing the rights of the inmates to a fair trial.

Human rights attorney H. Candice Gorman discusses the inmate’s situation regarding a fair trial in this Alternet article. She would know, as an attorney representing an inmate who is sick and whose connection with terrorism is dubious to being with. Assuming terrorism is why he is imprisoned. He, like all other inmates in Guantanamo, has no idea what he is being charged with. The following quotes are facts from the article, but the article contains more insight into the legal frustrations of simply trying to uphold the basic rights and laws of civility:

“I fell into the world of Guantánamo in October 2005. The Chicago Council of Lawyers had organized a luncheon discussion on the legal issues surrounding the infamous detention facility at the U.S. naval base in eastern Cuba.

…four years after being captured (and more than one year after the Supreme Court affirmed their right to hearing and counsel) individuals were still being held without legal representation.

…attorneys are required to turn their client notes over to the government after visiting prisoners. I naively asked, “What about attorney-client privilege?” This, like so many other protections and legal principles, doesn’t apply to Guantánamo.”

David Rose has written a book based on this article, online at openDemocracy.org. I read the book when if first came out and was struck by a few things. No amount of preparation could lessen the general awfulness of the world’s largest trumpet of freedom, democracy and constitutional right, blatantly destroying itself. I don’t have the book anymore, its too important to collect dust, so excuse me if I cannot cite the literature itself.

I was amazed at the use of reservists as guards in the camp. I’ve not read about this anywhere else except for in relation to Iraq, and it isn’t in the above mentioned article. So, Eddie the reservist from Chicago gets called up and ends up stuck in Cuba for six months, away from wife and kids specifically, civilization in general. He gets stuck in a pre-fab Haliburton tin box and watches the inhumanity of caged men every day for months, calls home cost $0.95/m. Then returns home to find his job filled. This is shameful. I don’t know if this is still policy, but I expect so. Who else is going to do it?

After trying to find out more about this by looking through lists of links and “Googling”, the only reference to guards is when there have been violence between the prisoners and guards. It strikes me that the isolation and stress of being a guard in Guantanamo Bay must do strange things to the culture of the guards. Their lives there would be in relation to the detainees, and I have to wonder how they cope with the inhumanity of the situation.

Here is a list of interesting links about detention camp at Guantanamo Bay

  • Wikipedia, as usual, is surprising in its detail about the prison. Aside from the main article on the detention camp, it also has a list of detainees, many of which have their own entries, like this one from Ali Abdullah Ahmed, a detainee who committed suicide.
  • The Amnesty International UK Guantanamo page and US Guantanamo page also have a lot of information, including this very interesting time line.
  • The BBC keeps a collection of its news articles, and a good time line linking them.
  • openDemocracy.org has a diverse collection of articles, including this one about the Guantanamo detainment camp before the so-called “Global War on Terror” when it was used as an immigration detention camp for US-bound Haitian refugees.

I will continue to follow this, and will post more links on the subject as it continues. I would appreciate some help, too. If anyone knows where to find information about the prison guards, I would appreciate it.


Responses

  1. soon the whole united states will be one big interment camp for “radicals” like us


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