|Torture = Freedom|
America’s by far the world’s leading human rights abuser. It commits horrific crimes globally. No other nation matches its record. It’s longstanding. It’s unconscionable. It’s lawless.
It violates fundamental international, constitutional, and US statute laws. It does so with impunity. It’s official US policy.
Straightaway as president, Obama pledged to close Guantanamo. He lied. He’s a serial liar. It’s still open. The worst of Bush administration practices continue.
Appalling human rights abuses persist. Torture remains policy. It’s institutionalized throughout Washington’s gulag. Obama bears full responsibility.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) leads the legal struggle for justice at Guantanamo. It wants the facility shut. It defends lawlessly held detainees. It’s done so for over a decade. It sent the first habeas attorney there.
It helped win the historic Boumediene v. Bush Supreme Court case. It affirmed Guantanamo detainee habeas rights. It lets them petition for release from lawlessly imposed custody.
It’s done them no good. Obama enforces police state harshness. He does so at home and abroad. Justice Anthony Kennedy disagrees. He wrote the majority Boumediene opinion.
He said America maintains complete jurisdiction over Guantanamo regardless of its offshore location. He’s against political branches “govern(ing) without legal restraint.”
He expressed concern about usurping “power to switch the Constitution on or off at will.” Doing so “lead(s) to a regime in which they, not this Court, say ‘what the law is.’ “
“Even when the United States acts outside its borders, its powers are not ‘absolute and unlimited’ but are subject ‘to such restrictions as are expressed in the Constitution.”
He called habeas “an indispensable mechanism for monitoring the separation of powers.”
“The test for determining (its) scope must not be subject to manipulation by those whose power it is designed to restrain.”
He and others agree. This bedrock right has no adequate substitute. Obama disregards it lawlessly. He’s contemptuous of fundamental human rights. He spurns rule of law principles. He lets torture and other abuses continue. More on that below.
CCR details Gitmo by the numbers. Everyone needs to know. Few detainees were charged. Most were innocent victims. So are those remaining.
Around 95% were sold for bounty. Washington wanted prisoners. Guilt or innocence didn’t matter. It doesn’t now. Rule of law principles are spurned. Torture remains official policy. Appalling human suffering continues.
Since Guantanamo opened, an estimated 779 victims were interned. Of those, 604 were transferred. Another 166 remain.
Forty-six men are indefinitely detained uncharged. They committed no crimes. They can’t be prosecuted. Washington claims they’re too dangerous to release. Saying so is false on its face.
Twenty-two prisoners were under age 18 when abducted. Twelve or more fear torture, persecution or death awaits them at home. They need safe havens to rebuild their lives. They’re not easy to find.
Current detainees have been held on average 10 years or longer. Nearly all are innocent victims. Some will never be freed. Torture and other abuses brutalize them.
Nine men died in prison. Prison authorities ordered them murdered. False reports claimed suicide.
Bush and Obama officials remain unaccountable.
CCR demands Obama keep his promise. Guantanamo “unacceptably enter(s) its twelfth year of operation.”
Obama continues the worst of Bush administration policies. Indefinite detentions without charge or trial continue. Illegitimate military commissions are used. They assure guilt by accusation. Hanging judges preside.
It’s long “past time to shut down Guantanamo. (It’s) urgent. (It’s) ethically and legally necessary.”
America’s “war on terror” reflects consummate evil. It’s Washington’s way to wage war on humanity. It does so lawlessly. It continues without end.
Everyone’s unsafe. Rogue US officials trample on fundamental human rights. Obama and those around him enforce police state harshness. They shame the positions they hold. They practice what demands condemnation. It’s official policy. It persists.
Over 100 Guantanamo detainees resist their only way. They’re hunger striking for justice. They’re in their fifth week. A few elderly and ill still ingest food.
Over a dozen are being painfully force-fed. Doing so constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. It’s torture. It violates fundamental medical ethics.
Detainees are restrained in chairs. They’re called “padded cells on wheels.”
Tubes are forced painfully through their noses and throats. It’s done abrasively. It draws blood.
Liquid nutrients are pumped into their stomachs. Doing so causes excruciating pain. No sedatives or anesthesia are given. Men are kept strapped in for an hour or longer.
It’s done to prevent purging. The procedure’s repeated twice daily. Tubes are reused. They’re covered in blood and stomach bile.
Reportedly they’re passed from one inmate to another. Proper sanitation is non-existent. One detainee called the procedure “torture, torture, torture.”
Those refusing force-feeding are brutally beaten. Injuries occur. Hospitalization at times follows.
The World Medical Association says force-feeding violates fundamental medical ethics. When accompanied by “threats, coercion, force, and use of physical restraints, (it’s) considered inhuman and degrading treatment.”
On March 12, CCR discussed Guantanamo’s humanitarian crisis. A press release said its attorneys gave expert testimony. They did so before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
CCR requested the hearing. Other human rights groups were co-petitioners. They included the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), and Reprieve.
CCR attorney, Omar Farah, said the following:
“Today’s hearing at the IACHR came at a critical moment in Guantánamo’s troubled history.”
“Our clients report that most of the men at the prison are now in the fifth week of a mass hunger strike to peacefully protest worsening prison conditions, religious provocation, and the crushing reality that after 11 years in indefinite detention, there is no end in sight to their suffering.”
“In light of the humanitarian crisis unfolding at Guantanamo, it is indefensible that the US government failed to answer the Commission’s simple questions about how it plans to close the prison camp.”
Obama officials won’t because no plan exists. Guantanamo symbolizes imperial lawlessness. So do other US torture prisons. They exist at home and abroad. Media scoundrels explain nothing. Coverup if official policy.
CCR and others gave expert testimony. They discussed how Guantanamo causes psychological harm, deaths, indefinite detentions uncharged, lack of fair trials, and “illegitimate US policies” restricting the facility’s closure.
They reiterated demands, including:
- closing Guantanamo immediately;
- acknowledging ongoing torture and other human rights abuses; and
- demanding “full access” to all detainees.
An earlier CCR report headlined “11 Years and Counting: Profiles of Men Detained at Guantanamo.” It explains America’s horrific treatment. Holding detainees uncharged was highlighted.
Injustice defines US policy. Individual profiles explain best. Horrific human rights abuses persist. Obama bears full responsibility. Justice remains denied.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/