Last month, word leaked out that the Pentagon is considering various Federal and military prisons in the U.S. to imprison the men held at Guantanamo unlawfully and in inhumane conditions for more than 12 years in most cases. Meanwhile, Ash Carter, Secretary of Defense, is selling this scheme with despicable arguments about “saving U.S. taxpayers money ” and “depriving Islamic fundamentalists of a recruitment tool. ”
Just in time, fascistic Republicans have jumped up to say they ’ll oppose any transfer of Guantanamo ’s victims to facilities in their states, setting up the two poles of chauvinism, cruelty, and arrogance that we are supposed to choose between.
Relocation is not what World Can ’t Wait and others mean when we demand the closure of Guantanamo Prison Camp. CUNY Law professor and attorney for Guantanamo detainees Ramzi Kassem calls it “a terrible idea ” and notes that the Obama administration is stricken with the same proclivity for redefining common terms as the Bush regime. Torture becomes “enhanced interrogation ” and rape is styled “rectal feeding.”
The abomination of US torture must not only end; the rationale of “exceptionalism” – that American lives are worth more than others – must be repudiated. In no case should the practice of preemptive imprisonment be condoned, or worse, exported to another jurisdiction. Debate over where to locate the criminal enterprise of our government misses the point. The enduring torture of wrongful imprisonment would be just as intolerable on the US mainland as it is at the offshore military base on occupied Cuban land.
In fact, importing the lawlessness of indefinite detention without charges or meaningful trial could entrench the unlawful and thoroughly immoral practices that have made the name “Guantanamo” synonymous with U.S. torture worldwide. U.S. courts have not provided any practical relief for the torture victims at Guantanamo over all this time; there is no reason to believe they would be unsympathetic to the torturers ’ arguments now.
Such a transfer would almost certainly not represent an improvement in conditions for the men either. According to H. Candace Gorman , a Chicago civil rights lawyer who has represented men held at Guantanamo, ”Ironically most of our clients are better off at Guantanamo rather than any brig or prison here in the States, as they are living communally, can cook and read and pray together. I shudder to think it they were all put in cells instead of sent home or somewhere like home.”
Every person of conscience must insist and demand: Tear Down Guantanamo – Release the Prisoners – End Indefinite Detention Now!