Bush not closing Guantanamo

Back in June 2006, Pres. Bush said he’d “like” to find a way to close the black-hole Guantanamo detention camp. In today’s NYT, Steven Lee Myers quotes un-named administration officials as saying that Bush has decided it can’t be done.
That, we should note, despite the fact that the president “never considered proposals drafted in the State Department and the Pentagon that outlined options for transferring the detainees elsewhere.”
So I guess he never really was that serious about wanting to close this location of some of the worst rights abuses committed by the US government since the Indian Wars and slavery times.
Whether Guantanamo is closed or remains open, the situation of the roughly 250 men still incarcerated there remains dire. It will also, certainly, be very hard to get them out of the (il-)legal limbo in which– by the persistent efforts of leading administration officials over the past seven years– they still remain trapped.
Here’s the problem: There probably exists generally credible, prima-facie evidence of some kind of potentially prosecutable wrongdoing against some proportion (possibly small) of the detainees. Against others, it has now been established– after, in some cases, nearly seven years of detention without trial– that there is no such evidence. But there is also a complete spectrum between these two poles, of men against whom there may be some evidence, but it is of unknown and often very questionable value. Questionable precisely because a large portion of it was obtained through torture and coercion.
In any credible criminal-court system, all the evidence could be reviewed, sifted, and tested for its probative value, and a determination made regarding the culpability of each detained person for the justiciable acts of which he’s accused.
But precisely because of the degree of often horrendous ill-treatment to which these detainees have been subjected, the administration fears bringing the men into an open court lest the accurate descriptions of this abuse (or torture) themselves gain a public hearing.
Meanwhile, the reported conditions of the men’s continuing detention also, certainly, constitute ill-treatment, through sensory deprivation and other means, on a basis that continues month by month by month. They therefore remained trapped in an abusive, beyond-Kafka Catch-22 in which they continue to be punished, in effect, for the crimes of those who tortured them..
So Bush administration officials are now saying they cannot free these men from their (il-)legal limbo. The main concern that administration officials expressed to Myers is that if the detainees get brought to the within the “real” US for trial or anything else, then they’ll get more habeas and related rights than they have now; whereas if they’re released they might “return” to posing a threat to the safety of the US. (And regarding those who never actually were a threat in the past? My gosh, maybe some those– like a small number of those previously released from Gitmo– will feel motivated precisely because of the ill-treatment they received in Gitmo to go out and find an anti-US movement to join…)
The administration officials don’t actually speak publicly about their fears of what might get revealed if the men are given an open court hearing.
Myers quotes one official– un-named, like all those he quotes– who says, “The new president will gnash his teeth and beat his head against the wall when he realizes how complicated it is to close Guantánamo.”
Maybe not so– provided the new president links the decision to close Guantanamo to the establishment of an active, very fully empowered National Commission of Enquiry into how the Bush administration became dragged so far down the path of illegality and gross rights abuses in the first place.
That would enable the US public– and everyone else around the world– to see how easy it is, when a whole body politic becomes convulsed (and brain-addled) by fear, for leaders to manipulate those fears in order to commit the worst rights abuses imaginable and to trash even robust-seeming constitutional and international-law safeguards.
Having such a Commission, while also closing Guantanamo and finding a humane and effective way to deal with the remaining detainees, would do a hundred times more for the real security of the US citizenry than keeping Guntanamo going on the basis of the flimsiest of all possible bureaucratic/political “justifications.”
Would it be hard to design the procedures needed to sift through and deal effectively with the remaining Gitmo detainees? I’m sure there are plenty of other legal experts around the world who’d be happy to help.
Seven years of infamy is enough.

2 thoughts on “Bush not closing Guantanamo”

  1. Not to belittle the “detainees” at Gauntanamo but they only number in the hundreds compared to the thousands of men, women and children the US military and CIA are holding as abused prisoners in other places besides Cuba, many of them in their own countries! HRW: “Each day brings more information about the appalling abuses inflicted upon men and women held by the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world. U.S. forces have used interrogation techniques including hooding, stripping detainees naked, subjecting them to extremes of heat, cold, noise and light, and depriving them of sleep—in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This apparently routine infliction of pain, discomfort, and humiliation has expanded in all too many cases into vicious beatings, sexual degradation, sodomy, near drowning, and near asphyxiation. Detainees have died under questionable circumstances while incarcerated.”

  2. It, very laughable people like Helena Cobban who she is “Ms. Cobban is a veteran writer, researcher, and program organizer on global affairs. She contributed a regular column on global issues to The Christian Science Monitor from 1990 until the paper stopped having regular columnists in 2007. She is a ‘Friend in Washington’ with the Washington, DC-based Friends Committee on National Legislation and a Contributing Editor of Boston Review. Since 2003 she has published “Just World News”, a lively blog on international issues that has gained a broad international readership. still believes in a lairs a proved lair and fraudulent guy like Bush. Is needs high IQ score to tell this man an approved lair? Helena he did said he will close Abu Griabe Prison after the US torture folded out in news so what he did till now abut Graib got more money to be developed and renovated for more space of innocent Iraqi detainees added to US camps that even Red Cross don’t allowed to or how many are around Iraq with tens of thousands innocents Iraqis still without charges for all most six years now, wonder what your Quaker did in this field Helena and your friend “Quaker Visitor to read zone” with his proud doing there? Can you tell us what this smart Quaker guy doing for human of Iraq? Or its just world for marketing with worthless value to human as they stated: Quakers are: an active, involved faith-based community living in the modern world. We are a diverse people consisting of several distinct branches. We continue our traditional testimonies of pacifism, social equality, integrity, and simplicity, which we interpret and express in a variety of ways. Today, many Friends include stewardship of our planet as one of our testimonies.

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