Child Abuse at Guantanamo

by ELAINE CASSEL

After holding them prisoner for almost two years, the United States has released three "enemy combatants," boys ages 13 to 15, captured in Afghanistan and held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Reluctantly, no doubt, Bush and Rumsfeld had to return the boys to Afghanistan, since they were no longer of any "intelligence" use to them. During their stay at the island camp, they were denied access to their families or attorneys.

The Administration’s spin on their imprisonment goes to great lengths to make us think that the boys were at a fun camp, and not a prison camp. Illiterate, we are told, when they arrived at Guantanamo, they now can read at the fifth grade level. They learned to love American movies and cartoons. And they became proficient in soccer and bocce–a credit to the sensitivity of their captors to the need for cultural diversity. The boys were guarded by reservists who had "experience" dealing with juvenile delinquents. Given the state of juvenile justice in America, that does not inspire confidence that the boys, who were not charged with any crime, were treated with any degree of decency or humanity.

The worst that was reported about the actions that landed them in Cuba was that one of the boys had "tried" to gain "weapons" to fight against the U.S. Given the vagueness of the term weapon, and that even nail scissors are weapons in the eyes of the Transportation Security Administration, we probably don’t want to know the "weapon" one of the three tired to access. One thing is certain–if it were a firearm, that boy would never have been released.

There is no way Americans will ever know the truth about these young men–or how they were treated. Thankfully, they are going "home." But what about the other 675 (that number is fifteen higher than the 660 we had been told were detained there). What we don’t know about Guantanamo and its inmates should strike terror in the hearts of Americans. Sources have it that Kellogg Brown Root, of Halliburton fame, is continuing to build prison facilities on the Naval base.

Sounds like Gitmo is anything from temporary digs. Wonder who Bush and Rumsfeld have in mind to fill the empty beds?

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teachers law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime’s dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net

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