Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp (Gitmo)
Gitmo is a sad chapter in US History. This facility was created for the purpose of "storing" so-called prisoners of War from Afghanistan and Iraq and from any area where terrorism occurred. Why was it created? To avoid the triggering of US Law by the detainees. By housing them off-shore, the US Govt. thought they could legally avoid providing any legal protection to these detainees. Even the Supreme Court supported this type of program which is amazing.
As of September 5, 2014 there are currently 149 detainees at Gitmo. Only 10 of them have been charged with any crime. 79 of the 149 have been recommended for release but the US Govt. has made the requirement so difficult, that they cannot be released even though they should have been a long tme ago.
These detainees may have been members of Al Qaeda or the Taliban. But in many cases they were neither. They may have been turned in by others in their area for illegimate reaons. Regardless, they have not received proper legal protection and have been detained for YEARS
Habeus Corpus - The US Constitution protects citizens against unlawful imprisonment ("The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."). Yet, these detainees have not received such protection because they are not on American soil (yet, they are at a US Govt leased property where our laws should still be in effect.
This is a a gross infraction of common law, ethics, and morality. But when one also looks at the other detention methods our govt. exercised in the wake of 9-11, Gitmo seems like a summer camp.
The US Govt. used facilities throughout the Middle East and Europe to detain, interrogate and torture detainees. Once again, they did these illegal things on foreign soil, and therefiore, thought it violated no laws. The Federal Government supported and condoned these actions by the CIA and others.
A NY Times journalist, Charlie Savage, who has been visiting Gitmo since 2003, has just returned from a recent trip there in August 2014. He reported the following:
The infrastructure of Gitmo is falling apart due to age and harsh environmental conditions.
The facility was never meant to last for 10-15 years.
It costs an exhorbitant amount to house these 149 detainees ($400 million per year or $3 million per detainee)
According to the interpretation of the "law" that the US Govt. is using in this case, these men may be here for a lifetime.
Given that they should be released but the US Govt. is worried that they may return to terrorism activities, they may now transfer them to a US based military prison but this is not confirmed.
These men have been away from their families and friends for 10 years or more. They may not even be able to resume life in their communities because of the fact that everything has changed, including themselves.
The detainees have legal representation (volunteers mostly) and these lawyers are trying as best they can to get them released but the US Govt. is not cooperating.
We have gone from one president (Bush) to anoither (Obama) who promsied to close Gitmo years ago. He has done nothing.
Gitmo acts like a recruiting machine for the Islamic population who look at what we did to these men over so many years. That angers them and they want to get revenge for them against the US in any way that they can.
The entire situation is a disaster. We Americans are now seen as the evil empire whereas we were supposed to be the saviors to the World. We have become the worst of the worst. Yet a month ago, Obama exchanged 5 of the worst and most senior Taliban leaders from Gitmo for a US soldier who had allegedly deserted his post and was captured. Yet, typicaly, we don't bargain with terrorists. That exchange did not make logical sense and there must have been other factors at work.
Anyway, keeping Gitmo open is:
Violates the Geneva Conventions concerning prisoner treatment and release
and badly paints a picture of the American culture in the World's mind
Let's close Gitmo now and free these men. Compensate them or help them relocate to a safe place, and then burn the Gitmo facility to the ground. We must never practice this type of imprisonment ever again against foreigners or Americans. While we are at it, we should also close the illegal FEMA detainee faciltiies down (which were built in the last 5 years) as well. These were specifically designed to house US citizens. If the US Govt. can detain others illegally as they have done in Gitmo, they can detain US Citizens as well.
Congress needs to wake up and do its job or they too, could be victimized by the illegal practices of this government.