Guantanamo Bay Detainment Center

Posed by Terri Friedman
The Beacon, University of Tennessee

Q. The Daily Beacon, Knoxville, Tennessee, would very much appreciate any comments from your organization, on the ongoing controversy at Guantanamo Bay
detainment center.

A. Concerned as all human beings must be over allegations regarding conditions at Guantanamo Bay detainment center, what should be of most concern to Americans is the attitude taken by the administration and its defenders. At the same time that they insist that the Geneva conventions don’t apply, they insist that any transgressions that may have occurred should, like the disgraceful conduct at Abu Ghraib, be blamed solely on the lower level soldiers and not on the senior officials who established a policy that condones torture.

Most chilling, is the complete lack of concern for whether the detainees are guilty or innocent. No formal charge has been made against them, and their designation that they are “enemy combatants” has been unproven despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that such allegations must be subject to some kind of judicial review. The administration seems proud of the fact that it has released a few dozen of the 500 (after years of incarceration without cause) but unconcerned that most of the others may also be innocent, even of being enemy combatants let alone of the terrorism.

There is an enormous amount of chutzpah in the unrelenting pressure the administration exerted against Newsweek to leverage a technical error in its article exposing some of the abuses into a retraction of the whole article when more flagrant deceptions regarding Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and the rationale for the war on Iraq (as demonstrated by the scandal of the Downing Street memo) are dismissed as irrelevant. Finally, it is important to note that the administration has indicated in the Padilla case that it does not consider itself restricted to non-citizens in selecting its targets for extra-judicial treatment.

We propose that the government immediately review the status of the detainees and formally charge any who are indictable of a crime, and either release or classify as a prisoner of war any who are not indictable. Those charged with crimes should then be indicted and given a speedy trial. Those held as POWs should be accorded their rights under the Geneva conventions and International Law. Those who are released should be given an apology for being held without just cause. Finally, the world community needs to immediately address the issue of the threat of indefinite detention of prisoners of war. It is not only a question that affects the detainees at Guantanamo, but Americans and others being held in Iraq. People from all over the world are subject to the risk of being held hostage on unsubstantiated suspicion of being somebody’s “enemy.”

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

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