Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bitter Truth on Guantanamo

Andy Worthington has a new article asking the public not to forget the prisoners at Guantanamo, where a hunger strike involving approximately 70 detainees (out of 242 overall) remains in force. Despite well-known principles of medical ethics, Guantanamo medical personnel are force-feeding detainees, who are held down by up to 16 straps, as they try to exercise "the only power they have in a place that has been dedicated to isolating and dehumanizing them for seven years."
In addition... those who refuse to leave their cells to be force-fed voluntarily are “beaten and forcibly extracted from their cells,” another hideous procedure that is part of the very fabric of Guantánamo, carried out by teams of five heavily armored guards, responsible for quelling even the most minor infringements of the rules, who, over the years, have been responsible for attacks so severe that prisoners have ended up with broken limbs.

This is, I’m sure you’ll agree, a far cry from the “humane treatment of prisoners” required by the Geneva Conventions, and it is crucial, therefore, that those concerned with the treatment of the prisoners at Guantánamo maintain the pressure on the new President to demonstrate that he is keeping to his word.
Worthington analyzes the situation in Guantanamo, post Obama's order to shut down the facility within a year. Inside Gitmo, little has changed. Despite Obama's order to suspend the military commissions trials, Military Judge Col. James Pohl ruled the arraignment of "high-value" detainee, Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of involvement in bombing of the USS Cole, will take place as scheduled. Worthington's conclusion, "the bitter truth as I write these words is that Guantánamo is still being run as if the Bush administration remains in control."

Another example of this disturbing fact is the inclusion of abusive techniques in the Army Field Manual, the document which covers interrogation policy at Guantanamo (and by executive order, now all military and CIA personnel), which also allows for up to 30 days of isolation, sleep deprivation, and forms of sensory deprivation. Although it prohibits certain torture techniques like waterboarding, sexual humiliation and forced nudity, it fails to prohibit other, such as stress positions.
How much the inclusion of these loopholes in the Presidential orders was influenced by the Pentagon or by the CIA is as yet unknown, but their existence indicates that the struggle to ensure that America is, genuinely, a country that does not torture, is not yet over.

3 comments:

Ted said...

The Joint Chiefs of Staff HAVE AN ABSOLUTE CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY to stand behind Guantanamo Military Judge James Pohl UNTIL OBAMA OVERCOMES “RES IPSA LOQUITUR” BY SUPPLYING HIS LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND PROVING HIS ELIGIBILITY TO BE PRESIDENT UNDER ARTICLE 2 OF THE US CONSTITUTION.

Jody Ranck said...

Great blog. I have a Twitter feed on the same issue at http://www.twitter.com/indictbush

Gary Swenchonis said...

Don't worry sir, your terrorist friends will have the charges dropped on Friday.Obamas aid called me yesterday to to ask if I wanted to meet with the president. I told him no. We were in the process of gtting ready to go to the trila on our sons killers. We knew that he stop it because of people like you. All of our sons killers killers in Yemen and now Americam have been freed by terrorists supporters.

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