U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Obama administration is doing everything it can to shut down the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before the 2012 presidential elections.
Speaking Tuesday at the European Parliament, Holder said the administration is focused on closing the controversial facility “as quickly as possible, recognizing that we will face substantial pressure,” The Associated Press reports.
Obama the candidate used the closure of Guantanamo as a campaign promise to get elected, the scoundrel. It’s no surprise that now that the administration is in “let’s-get-re-elected” mode, they’re using it again to rally for the principled Hope and Change candidate. But they’re doing a little dance with rhetoric in order to hide some important truths.
First of all, candidate Obama promised to close Guantanamo, not just because of its location but because it was an international disgrace, a “legal black hole” in which the rights of detainees could be discarded. President Obama quickly shuffled to relocating – not closing – the detention center. And yes, he faced some resistance in Congress in doing that. But so what? What would it have changed had Congress obliged? Obama’s official stance is still indefinite detention without trial for at least 46 Gitmo detainees. The rest of the 173 prisoners left will have some other fate of abridged rights, despite a record of 600 of 779 Guantanamo detainees being found not guilty and released.
Take, say, Mohammed Ahmed al Kandari, a Kuwaiti in Gitmo facing a military tribunal despite being a non-combatant:
A Kuwaiti national, Kandari went to Afghanistan in the summer of 2001 to do charity work and was captured by the Northern Alliance, who was paid large sums of money by the U.S. for rounding up Arabs following the invasion in October of that year. Held for years without charge or trial, he is suspected of having been a member of al-Qaeda. But a legal study of his proceedings quoted the Tribunal’s legal advisor as saying, “Indeed, the evidence considered persuasive by the Tribunal is made up almost entirely of hearsay evidence recorded by unidentified individuals with no first hand knowledge of the events they describe.”
Presently, Kandari is locked in solitary confinement for going on a hunger strike after his personal belongings, including his mail, was taken. In the past, Al Kandari was tortured by U.S. guards, including being kicked, beaten with a metal chain, put in stress positions for up to 36 hours, he “was drugged, his ears were plugged, he was diapered and a sandbag was shoved over his head.”
It’s people like that Obama deems
too difficult too innocent to try, too dangerous to release.
This presentation by the administration, regurgitated obediently in the media, that Obama’s failure to close Gitmo and end the Bush era outlawry is simply Congress’s fault, is a fabrication. For all intents and purposes, he has adopted the Bush policy, including the related issue of forbidding victims of illegal detention and torture, like Maher Arar and Khaled el-Masri, from presenting evidence in a court of law. In some ways, he’s gone the extra tyrannical mile by skipping all this illegal detention and physical torment and simply assassinating suspects.
I can see the proverbial Obama voter now, peering at Washington, wondering if Obama can fool me once…shame on…
Update: I should have mentioned that this is not even the extent of Obama’s detention and torture policy. Torture has taken place in US detention facilities in Afghanistan under Obama, and the administration is now pushing for a new massive prison in Bagram which includes detainee housing capability for approximately 2,000 detainees. Meanwhile, the UN has recently criticized the US-propped government in Afghanistan of systematic torture of detainees, subjecting them to beatings, sexual assault, and electric shock treatment. Our other priority client state in Iraq has recently been accused of torture as well. Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!