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With hardly any mention in the media, today marks the shameful, pathetic and tragic 11th anniversary of the opening of Gitmo--universally regarded as a human rights cesspool where 166 detainees are still held in an extra-legal blackhole even though 86 of them have been cleared for release.

Four years ago this month, President Obama issued an Executive Order vowing to close Gitmo within one year. A week ago, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which bars the use of federal funds to trasnsfer detainees from Gitmo to U.S. soil or to a foreign country.

The tragic effects of this are not merely hypothetical. In September, Adnan Latif--cleared for release three times--committed suicide. Please watch this chilling, must-see NYT Op-Doc by Laura Poitras about Latif.

People don't seem to realize that the same bill that is keeping prisoners languishing at Gitmo, is also the bill that allows for indefinite preventive detention of Americans.  There's a cognitive disconnect.  We have a vivid, diabolical example before our very eyes of what indefinite detention looks like, and the political and legal quagmire it creates, yet we agree obediently to subject ourselves to the same to ourselves. It's not that Americans deserve better than foreigners. It's that no one should be detained indefinitely, with little or no due process, on the say-so of some government functionary or body that cannot be challenged.

The cacophonous convergenece of Obama signing the NDAA; nominating torture technique pioneer and drone daddy John Brennan to head the CIA; co-producing the "torture works" agitprop otherwise known as Zero Dark Thirty; and sending to jail CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou (who exposed torture rather than committed it), uderlines the reason that open-ended detention is twisted, undemocratic, immoral and illegal. Indefinite detention is a hallmark of some of the most repressive countries in the world--China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia.

The 86 men who've been cleared by the Guantanamo Review Task Force should be released immediately. This would be a small curative for one of the biggest stains on American history.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

    by Jesselyn Radack on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 06:01:34 AM PST

  •  Gitmo sounds like the name of a cute Gremlin. (4+ / 0-)

    We need a name that evokes visceral disgust. Maybe that would help people adopt the level of "concern" necessary to drive, demand and insist upon change now, not later, at some more "reasonable" time, determined by "serious" people.

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 06:23:32 AM PST

    •  The Notorious Guantanamo Torture Prison (7+ / 0-)

      pretty well spells it out.

      Perhaps at some point way in the future, when the war on the terrorists is over, and Cuba is a country we are allowed to visit, it will become a museum, a tourist stop like those concentration camps in Germany, to remind a world of the horrors of mankind.

      That as a nation we will always be forced to remember - that a silent nation sat back and allowed the horrors to happen, and did nothing to stop them.

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

      by allenjo on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 08:38:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well that's "our" gitmo now. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  How sad. I was watching television last night, (4+ / 0-)

    Person of Interest, and one of the characters asked another if he wanted her to go all "gitmo" on him. It is now part of our lexicon as well as our shame.

    "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." Edward R. Murrow

    by temptxan on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 08:51:13 AM PST

  •  a new administration takes over, but the horrors (7+ / 0-)

    do not end.

    When President Obama pledged to close the Guantánamo Bay prison on his first day in office as president in 2009, I believed the country had shifted direction. I was wrong.  Four years later, President Obama has not only institutionalized Guantánamo and all the horrors it symbolizes, but he has initiated new extrajudicial programs, like the president’s secret kill list.
    Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif recently died in solitary confinement at Guantánamo at age 36, after nearly 11 years of imprisonment there, despite never having been charged with a crime. Last month his body was returned to his family in Yemen, but we are left with many unanswered questions about his imprisonment and death.
    Mr. Latif’s death is under investigation by the United States military, which claims he committed suicide from an overdose of prescription medication complicated by acute pneumonia. But that’s hard to take at face value. Why was he placed in solitary confinement when he was suffering from acute pneumonia? How could he have overdosed on medication, given the strict protocols at Guantánamo? Why did it take three months for the body to be returned to Yemen? And finally, why are his autopsy and toxicology report classified and being withheld from his family?
    Indeed, why?

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 08:51:16 AM PST

    •  Perhaps someone took mercy on him........ (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      spacejam, gooderservice, aliasalias
      The Camp Delta SOP also requires the guard force to randomly search prisoners' cells on "day shift and swing shift," at least three times a day and prisoners are also searched, "at a minimum," every time they are removed from a cell. If Latif had successfully managed to hoard his medications, despite visual inspection of his taking the drugs, he would have had to evade all the mandated searches of his cell and his body.

      Moreover, the Camp Delta SOP states that prisoners like Latif, who are deemed to be a "self-harm" risk, are supposed to have their activities documented every 15 minutes. Guards are to "conduct a visual search of the cells and prisoners every ten minutes by walking through the block." Deviating from the SOP is considered to be an Article 92 violation - failure to obey an order or regulation - under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

      Latif had expressed his desire to take his own life and had even attempted suicide several times during the course of his 10-plus years of imprisonment at Guantanamo. But Remes questioned whether he could have eventually succeeded in doing so, at least without assistance, given the tight security measures in place.

      Joint Task Force-Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) spokesman Capt. Robert Durand did not respond to specific questions regarding the SOPs and whether JTF-GTMO staff has followed them.

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

      by allenjo on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 09:06:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Americans, do any of us care anymore? (0+ / 0-)

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 11:04:02 AM PST

  •  It seems to me that in some respects (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allenjo, Nada Lemming, gooderservice

    the national electoral victories of the Democrats have been a big negative on this issue, since they led to a collapse of Democratic opposition to foreign as well as domestic human rights abuses by the (Democratic) executive.

    Play chess for the Kossacks on Chess.com. Join the site, then the group at http://www.chess.com/groups/view/kossacks.

    by rhutcheson on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 04:08:49 PM PST

  •  and once again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice

    my hope is that the tea baggers find some convoluted reason to oppose Brennan because my own party is but a rubber stamp to what was previously shredding the constitution.   What a country.  

    "I'm a Republican from the 80s". - The most "liberal" president in my lifetime.

    by Nada Lemming on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:47:55 AM PST

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