Gitmo: What Promise?
Like thousands of previous promises, the promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison, has now become a broken promise; with Obama in office, we can’t even repeat the old saying: “Pale face speaks with forked tongue“.
The promise was to shut down Gitmo with one year…exactly one year ago, it was not just a “liberal” promise (for those who use ‘liberal’ as an epithet), it was something that began under King George the Worst. The reasons for shutting Gitmo down under King George the Worst included the consideration that it had become an international embarrassment, not that its creation and continued existence were a blight on the American character and contrary to the US constitution…right action, wrong reason.
Gitmo was created to hold “high-value prisoners”, “enemy combatants”, people who were “the worst of the worst” in the words of King George the Worst himself, and his henchmen, Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld…all down the chain of wolves that led our country deeper into the cesspool of inhumanity and genocide. Gitmo was and remains the manifestation of the shredding of the American constitution.
Other aspects of this shredding include the indefinite imprisonments of Muslims, on charges that were either non-existent or were trumped-up simply because the person being “detained” happened to be an Arab or a “Muzlem’. At its peak, there were over 14,000 Muslims “detained” in various American prisons; held without charges or trial, without access to attorney (“he is not being charged with a crime so he does not need to have access to counsel”), held for days, weeks and even for years until finally let go to a destroyed life that comes with not working or being able to make payments…losing jobs, homes and maybe even families. The-Attorney-General Ashcroft’s rationalization for holding uncharged people was that they were like pieces of a mosaic which, while any single piece (Muslim prisoner) may not provide the clues to “terrorism”, when put together, they would provide the complete picture of “terrorism”. Nobody was even held accountable for the enormous crime of imprisoning so many innocent people simply for the fact of their faith…a crime that has not been repeated since Hitler persecuted Jews (let us not get entangled in arguing over the degrees of Hitler-Bush comparisons).
At its peak, Gitmo prison held 800-900 people, all of whom were considered “the worst of the worst”. These people were gathered in these prisons because the US had put out a bounty of $5000 each, on “foreign fighters” in Afghanistan. Given the fact that most Afghanis did not even make $100 in a year, this was literally an irresistible golden opportunity for even the most honest of people, who had no idea what would happen to the “Foreign fighters”. Thousands of “Foreign fighters” were brought in by ever Afghan who could find one, any one! They brought in travelers, traders, charity workers, social workers, students…they even brought in children younger than 12 years of age.
The first place these “Foreign fighters” were put into were cells in Afghanistan where they were sorted out and “softened up”:
Some of the “softening up” procedures included tying them down in the open, exposed to the cold weather where some died.
Some were tortured by proxy Afghan torturers, by members of the CIA, by US soldiers, Special Operations or, by any other American forces that had the mind to do so or, were asked to “soften up” the prisoners prior or during the interrogation.
Some young men (as young as 8-12 years old) were gang-raped repeatedly by the locals hired to hold the first-level of people, in order to “soften them” or to “soften up” their other relatives who were also imprisoned. I first learned of these gang-rapes around 2002-3 in reports by the British press and I contacted our Congressman Jay Inslee, asking him to contact the Pentagon and put a stop to these rapes. His office put in a perfunctory note to the Defense Department and received a response that the US “had no jurisdiction over the acts of a ‘sovereign nation'”; honor satisfied, Inslee’s office dropped the issue.
Once imprisoned, none of these people stood a chance of release. Those who could be made to “connect” with “terrorism” were transferred forward to Guantanamo Bay as “high-value prisoners”, while the others were allowed to rot at the hands of local Afghans or, local US agency prisons, often referred to as “Ghost Prisons” because their existence was not and is not, acknowledged.
“High-value prisoners” transferred to Gitmo, included two who were under 12 years of age at the time of transfer and one who was accused of being the driver for Osama Bin Laden. US-driven invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia, also brought in many Somalis to Gitmo; their fates remain unknown to date. Over time, I am certain, the US realized that most if not all were innocent people, but it would have been a devastating admission to make so, the prisoners remained at Gitmo. As the years went by, these prisoners were tortured, harassed, humiliated, but no information of value was ever obtained from any of them, not even from the notorious Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who is accused of being the “mastermind of 9-11“. Among the tortures (Oops! “Enhanced Interrogation”) he was subjected to was waterboarding…about 183 times. One has to ask, if waterboarding is considered sufficient to make even the dead speak after one or two tries (watch a journalist bet 15 seconds of waterboarding and lose), what was the purpose of repeating it over 180 times if not to either satisfy sadistic pleasures or to extract additional “confessions”…or both!
Other “Enhanced Techniques” used at Guantanamo prisons were sleep deprivation, beating, exposure to temperature extremes and God only know what else, because they remain classified…some are classified because “if the world finds out about what was done, it will be very harmful to US image“.
Nobody cared enough to ask the question (let alone answer it), What if a prisoner is being tortured for information he does not have?
Physicians and Psychiatrists were hired to “consult” about how and when to “extract information”…a fact on which The American Medical and American Psychiatric Associations remain patriotically mute.
Years after they were removed to Gitmo, some prisoners were gradually released to their country with the expectation that the country will then keep them in its prisons. Since the released prisoners could not be declared innocent (after all, they had been “interrogated” and tortured as guilty), they were released behind the fig-leaf they were “no longer a threat to the United States”. Not even Britain or Saudi Arabia were convinced enough of the guilt of prisoners released to them, to keep those people in prison or, to try them, the men…the “worst of the worst”…were released almost as soon as they arrived in their home countries.
In what may qualify as the greatest constitutional abuse, the US forced a prisoner to give up his birth-right US citizenship as a condition for allowing him to return to Saudi Arabia.
- Besides surrendering his American citizenship, Mr Hamdi was required to renounce terrorism, agree to live in Saudi Arabia for five years and not sue the US government over his captivity.
In order to present the appearance of “Justice” (after all, that is one of the “Judeo-Christian values” that “they hate”), the Administration created special Military Tribunals in order to try “enemy combatants”…except there was no “Justice” about these tribunals. The only thing “military” about these tribunals was that the “judges” were uniformed US Military officers. There was no pretense of using the Military Code of Justice, no evidentiary standards and in cases where even these officers could not find the prisoner ‘guilty’, the prisoners were sent back for another trail before the same judges…sometimes as many as three times, before they were finally found “guilty”; The term “Kangaroo Court” seems to be more appropriate.
Some of the prisoners are not being released on grounds that some who were released, were later discovered to be taking part in activities against the US…what horrors! Imagine anyone being so unreasonable as to fight those who tortured him for years for nothing and then dropped him off without apology or compensation…how ungrateful can anyone get!!!
If the possibility of future crime is sufficient grounds to keep people in prison, then it is doubtful if more then a tiny number of prisoners in the US can ever be released, but we do depend on the part of the US constitution that allows us all to be “innocent until proven guilty”…or do we?
After Obama was elected President, he made his now-broken promise to shut down Gitmo within a year. In the meantime, efforts were being made to move prisoners to mainland US soil in order to prepare them for a trial until suddenly, our ever-law-abiding leaders broke into protest. “These are the most dangerous people on Earth! We cannot bring them to our neighborhoods where they can posed extreme threats to the nation“. The Republican Party screamed in anger first, followed by the phalanxes of Party loyalists (REAL Patriots, by God!), accompanying by the silence of the Gutless Wonders of the Democratic Party who could not bring themselves to appear “soft on crime”.
Presto! everyone on Gitmo was immediately condemned as guilty without proof or charge and certainly without trails. We are now so intensely committed to finding these people guilty that I pity any politician, judge or jury that dares to find any of them not guilty.
Even Obama appears to have taken ownership of the “Fact” that everyone in Gitmo is indeed, “the worst of the worst. Indeed, in issuing the order to shut down ghost prisons and to stop torture, Obama was specific enough to only issue the orders to the CIA, not to any of the many Special Operations’ prisons where torture is as common as breathing and so, torture continues and Ghost prisons continue, but everyone feels that justice has been carried out.
Appearances are everything; America lives on euphemisms and denial.
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