Friday, February 10, 2006

Why are they still there?

Currently, over 500 detainees are being held in the United State's "Carribean Gulag" at Guantanamo. They've been variously described as "dangeorus people", "the most dangerous, best-trained vicious killers on the face of the earth", and "the worst of a very bad lot... very dangerous...devoted to killing millions of Americans, innocent Americans, if they can". But according to a new study [PDF] based on declassified summaries of their "charges", less than half are accused of committing any hostile act against the USA or its allies. Given that "hostile acts" include owning a rifle (this is Afghanistan, remember), staying in a guest house (the equivalent of a motel), owning a digital watch, or wearing olive drab clothing, this is almost certainly massively overstating matters. This is borne out by the US government's own classification of the detainees: only 8% are alleged to be "fighters for" a terrorist organisation; the remainder are either "members of" or "associated with" one (barring the 2% for whom there are no alleged links with terrorist organisations whatsoever).

So, why are these people still there? Bluntly, because the US government does not give a shit about justice or evidence. Once they've got someone (and a large number of detainees were captured by bounty hunters in exchange for substantial sums of money), they are deemed a terrorist and imprisoned. And that imprisonment then becomes self-justifying - to the extent that it continues even when detainees are able to prove conclusively that they are not "enemy combatants". It is a Kafkaesque nightmare and a perfect perversion of everything America is supposed to stand for, made possible because Americans aren't interested in knowing and don't really care what is being done in their name.


There are ways to separate the innocent from the guilty. They're called trials. But in their desire to lock people up 'just in case' they've got themselves stuck.

The US can't go for fair trials now, because they've stomped all over due process.

I'm pessimistic. I think that 20 years from now most of these people will still be in Gitmo, whether or not they're guilty of anything. Any Democrat president who tried to release them would be swift-boated to hell by the Republicans for it. And I can't see a Republican releasing them. So they'll sit.

As well as the US puking on it's principles, it's such a stupid piece of strategy. Their presence in Gitmo is radicalising muslims, creating more terrorists. And tying down 4000 US troops. Forever.

Posted by Icehawk : 2/10/2006 10:20:00 AM

The U.S. gets hit with one major terrorist attack and it abandons its democratic principles. The 3,000 dead from 9/11 are only roadkill compared to what the U.S. has lost as a result of the Bush administration's over-reaction. If we lose our system of government, does the enemy win?

Posted by Anonymous : 2/13/2006 06:33:00 PM


Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/13/2006 06:59:00 PM