Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bush Administration worried Guantanamo prisoners may be abused

According to the New York Times,
"A long-running effort by the Bush administration to send home many of the terror suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has been stymied in part because of concern among United States officials that the prisoners may not be treated humanely by their own governments, officials said." see the entire article

Did your irony meter just go off-scale? We need to keep the Guantánamo Bay detainees, who we have held without charges for over three years, imprisoned out of concern for their welfare. Does the Bush Administration have no shame? As Sen. Arlen Specter asked, "where is the outrage?"


The Inside Dope said...

That thud you heard was my jaw hitting the floor after reading your post.

That story proves that this administration is simply incapable of shame.

Just when you think it couldn't get worse... it always seems to.

Most of what the Bush crew does is incredibly insulting to anyone's intelligence, but that's a whopper.

Anonymous said...

There's an excellent movie, Road to Guantanamo, that shows the plight of three Pakastani-Brits who were picked up by the US in Afghanistan and held in Guantanamo because the army and government assumed they were members of "al-Qaeda." After three years of humiliating and horribly mistreating them (routine brutality and psychological torture), the US finally realized, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they were just a few guys who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The whole movie used to be up at Information Clearing House, but it was recently taken down because it's going to be released in theaters in the US. (Unfortunately, I kind of doubt it will make it to the Quad Cities). From what I remember from the video, the government knew that the three guys were innocent for some time before they were released, but their release was delayed because the government was worried that they might tell the story of what happenend to them.

There was a good documentary on Frontline
about a guy who for a time acted as a spy for the US government among the prisoners in Guantanamo. He said that he estimated that only 10% of the people there had any connection to terrorism. The rest were there as a result of the Army's policy of offering huge cash rewards to those who brought them "al-Qaeda" members. People turned in innocents to get the cash rewards, and because the army didn't ask for evidence, they have been stuck in Guantanamo since. The majority of the prisoners, he said, didn't even know why they were there. The spy told the army that at the time (I think it was in 2004), but the army didn't do anything about it. In the end, the spy could only stand three months of getting the same treatment as the prisoners before he demanded to be moved out.

The three Brits were lucky in that there was evidence that they were in Britain at the time when they were accused of undergoing "terrorist training," so the case against them could finally be disproved to the satisfaction of their captors (not that there was any trial at all). But I imagine that for most of the poor guys stuck in Guantanamo, who are probably from Afghanistan or Pakistan, there are probably no records at all that can disprove any of the accusations against them.

The idea that Bush and Co. are now worried about torture is pathetic. Not only have Rumsfeld and our Attourney General Gonzales offered defenses for torture, the idea that we are completely justified in using torture has even entered our popular culture. Slavoj Zizek had a very good commentary about this a few months ago.

And then there's today's news, that the US is still "personally" committing and promoting torture.

Finally, if the government is REALLY concerned that the people they release are going to be mistreated if sent back, then they should give them political asylum here instead of keeping them in prison. That's what political asylum is for, isn't it?