July 2023 Archives

Illegal detention is torture for its victims; compounded by delayed judgmentit can be deadly. The history of neglect and passivity ascribed to treatment of prisoners in the US Naval Base in Cuba is insidious; the facility Amnesty International called the "Gulag of our times" was designed to circumvent protections of Geneva Convention treaties established to define legal standards for humanitarian treatment of prisoners of war. Abandoning cohering norms of international law, the George W. Bush administration advanced a discriminatory regime based on nationality, ethnicity and religion, believing an off-shore holding could deprive federal courts of jurisdiction over the rights of detainees.

What happens when you don't deal with the crime of what became indefinite detention (President Obama signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law at the end of 2011)? 800 years of the writ of Habeas Corpus, the right to know why you are being held captive by the State, comes undone. 779 men and boys have had their lives upended; 30 people remain incarcerated, some never charged with a crime. 

The US Supreme Boumediene v. Bush case, which was decided in June 2008, confirmed that the prisoners held at Guantánamo had constitutionally guaranteed habeas corpus rights, empowering judges to hear the government's case against them. 32 prisoners had their habeas corpus petitions granted by District Court judges before appeals court judges rewrote the rules -- shamefully, the Supreme Court has refused, ever since, to take back control of the legal arguments involving the imprisonment of men at Guantánamo notes journalist activist Andy Worthington.

"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons," wrote Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky in The House of the Dead. The cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment -- torture -- inflicted on disfranchised subjects, from Pelican Bay in California to Bagram, Afghanistan, must not only end; the presumption of American immunity to international law must be repudiated. 

In the 20+ years it has existed, nine people have died while in custody and 741 people have been transferred out of the facility. The torture they endured has been documented in dozens of survivor narratives. The torturers and their apologists have largely avoided accountability for their crimes. The 'Law' has been employed to keep them out of prison and the worst perpetrators have enjoyed enhanced career opportunities. Prior to entering politics, Ron DeSantis served in the Navy as an attorney, first at the U.S. prison at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba and later in Iraq -- former Guantánamo prisoner Mansoor Adayfi says DeSantis personally witnessed him being force-fed and tortured, and other prisoners have backed up his account. Former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer John Yoo was 'promoted' at Berkeley Law. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh believed the author (Yoo) of notorious memos providing legal cover for those torturing human beings would be great as a lifetime pick for the Ninth Circuit.

We don't need law to tell what's right. We must make a profound break from whiteness and narcissism and corporate supremacy -- fascism -- "deliberately inflicting terror onto innocents for purely political reasons," tweeted actor John Cusack. People should be upset that President Biden is upgrading Guantanamo. This will never be acceptable. It's up to us; we can't delegate remedy to 21st century 'Good Democrats.' Only persistent, determined protest in the streets will stop the consolidation of a reactionary Supreme Court in service to Christian fundamentalists intent on restructuring society to fascist purpose: subjugation of women, ethnic cleansing, and military aggression against people of the world.

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Detention and torture in Guantanamo

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2023 listed from newest to oldest.

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