Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Guantanamo Remains a Global Symbol of Injustice

Just before Christmas, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis visited troops at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station. This visit came after recent United Nations reports of torture there, but Mattis insisted he was only going to meet with the troops to thank them for their service. Pentagon spokesperson Major Ben Sakrisson confirmed that Mattis would not inspect detention facilities or discuss detainee policy.

Wouldn’t the Secretary of Defense be interested in the conditions of the world’s most infamous prison? Wouldn’t any CEO of his/her organization want to know what is happening on the ground, face to face?

It has been 16 years since another secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, visited GITMO, and since that time close to 800 prisoners have been held at the facility; 731 of these detainees were released without charges; 15 of them were children under the age of 18; and nine of them have died by suicide or other causes. According to Human Rights Watch, of the 41 detainees that remain at Guantanamo only seven—Abd-al-Rahim al-Nashri, Abd al Hadi al Iraqi and five September 11, 2001 co-defendants—face any formal charges.

Again, considering the facility’s history of torture, arrests without charges, locked up juveniles, and deaths of detainees, wouldn’t Mattis want to give the place a good look through? Or does the secretary not want to know what goes on there?

The fact remains that Guantanamo Bay is still one of the most effective propaganda tools in the world for militant Islamic fundamentalists. The maximum security prison, based in Cuba, was set up by the Bush administration in January 2002, in response to the attacks of 9/11.

But as former president Jimmy Carter has stated, “What has happened at Guantanamo Bay … does not represent the will of the American people.” He added: “I’m embarrassed about it, I think it’s wrong. I think it does give terrorists an unwarranted excuse to use despicable means to hurt innocent people.”

President Barack Obama made this case in even stronger terms. “I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength,” he said in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. “We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend.”

Along with Carter and Obama, the majority of Americans know that keeping GITMO open is tactically misguided and blatantly immoral. Americans know that it gives terrorists an opportunity to say, “Why can’t we torture? You do.” And “Why can’t we hold prisoners without charge? You do.” It makes our entire constitutional system of due process look ridiculous.

After 16 years, why have we failed to muster the moral and political courage to shut down this global symbol of evil?

George Cassidy Payne of Rochester, New York, is a freelance writer, adjunct professor of philosophy and domestic violence counselor.

 

More articles by:

George Payne is Director of Gandhi Earth Keepers International and Philosophy Instructor at Finger Lakes Community College.

October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
Ramzy Baroud
That Single Line of Blood: Nassir al-Mosabeh and Mohammed al-Durrah
Zhivko Illeieff
Addiction and Microtargeting: How “Social” Networks Expose us to Manipulation
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
What is Truth?
Michael Doliner
Were the Constitution and the Bill of Rights a Mistake?
Victor Grossman
Cassandra Calls
Ralph E. Shaffer
Could Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing Ended Differently?
Vanessa Cid
Our Everyday Family Separations
Walaa Al Ghussein
The Risks of Being a Journalist in Gaza
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal and Treachery—The Extremism of Moderates
James Munson
Identity Politics and the Ruling Class
P. Sainath
The Floods of Kerala: the Bank That Went Under…Almost
Ariel Dorfman
How We Roasted Donald Duck, Disney’s Agent of Imperialism
Joe Emersberger
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s Assault on Human Rights and Judicial Independence
Ed Meek
White Victimhood: Brett Kavanaugh and the New GOP Brand
Andrew McLean, MD
A Call for “Open Space”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail