Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Silence from the White House on Guantanamo Abuse

Andy Worthington has a timely and important article today, titled "Who's Running Guantanamo?"
On Jan. 20, the answer to that question seemed obvious. In his inaugural speech, with George W. Bush standing just behind him, President Obama pointedly pledged to "reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals" – a clear indication that, as he promised in a speech in August 2007, he would dismantle the extralegal aberrations of the Bush administration's "War on Terror"....

President Obama requested the military judges at Guantánamo to call a halt for four months to all proceedings in the military commissions at Guantánamo....

The day after, he signed his first executive orders, stating that Guantánamo would be closed within a year, upholding the absolute ban on torture, ordering the CIA to close all secret prisons, establishing an immediate review of the cases of the remaining 242 prisoners in Guantánamo, and requiring Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ensure, within 30 days, that the conditions at Guantánamo conformed to the Geneva Conventions....
Worthington goes on to describe a struggle within the Pentagon to defy Obama's stay on prosecutions as it pertained to Saudi prisoner Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri. Ultimately, the convening authority of the military commissions at Guantanamo dismissed charges against al-Nahiri, though he is charges can be re-filed again later.

As Bush appointees and Cheney proteges muck around the Pentagon and the Naval Base at Guantanamo, Guantanamo prisoner Binyam Mohamed's attorney, Lieutenant Colonel Yvonne Bradley, reports deteriorating conditions at that facility, with "savage beatings," forced extractions from inmate cells, and forced feedings in an effort to quash a mass hunger strike among inmates. Over 20% of all inmates at the facility are currently on hunger strike.

Worthington concludes:
... although Bradley's account indicates that the crisis in Guantánamo is such that ongoing discussions about implementing the Geneva Conventions should be replaced by urgent intervention to address the prisoners' complaints (and alleviating the chronic isolation in which most of the prisoners are held would be a start), the conditions in Guantánamo have been met with a resolute silence from the Pentagon and the White House.

Will it really take another death in Guantánamo – the sixth – to provoke a response?

No comments:

Search for Info/News on Torture

Google Custom Search
Add to Google ">View blog reactions

This site can contain copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.