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“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.”—James Madison

For most Americans, the detention center at Guantanamo Bay—once the topic of heated political debate by presidential hopeful Barack Obama but rarely talked about by the incumbent President Obama—has become a footnote in the government’s ongoing war on terror.

Yet for the approximately 167 detainees still being held in that godforsaken gulag, 86 of whom have been cleared for release yet continue to be imprisoned at the facility, Guantanamo Bay is a lesson in injustice, American-style. It is everything that those who founded America vigorously opposed: kidnapping, torture, dehumanizing treatment, indefinite detention, being “disappeared” with no access to family or friends, and little hope of help from the courts.

For Adnan Latif—a 30-something-year-old Yemeni native detained at Guantanamo for ten years without a trial, despite a court ruling ordering his release and repeated military clearances ordering his transfer—his cell became his tomb. Latif, who had repeatedly engaged in hunger strikes and suicide attempts while proclaiming his innocence, was found dead in his cell in Guantanamo Bay mere days before the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

If Guantanamo is the symbol of American injustice, Latif’s death is the realization of that injustice, the proclamation of how far we have strayed from the original vision of America as a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom and hope for the world. Ten years after opening for business, Guantanamo Bay stands as a manifestation of America’s failure to abide by the rule of law and its founding principles in the post-9/11 era. As Baher Azmy notes in the New York Times, its defining features have been the denial of judicial oversight and its exclusion of lawyers. Making matters worse, “far from closing the prison camp as he promised, President Obama is steadily returning Guantanamo to the secretive and hopeless internment camp that he vilified as a candidate.”


by Anonymousreply 3901/31/2013

Examples of torture in Guantanamo and other American black site prisons are widely known, including waterboarding, beatings, and sensory deprivation. What is less widely known is that most of those forcibly arrested and tortured in Guantanamo have had nothing to do with terrorist activities. Most prisoners in Gitmo, including Murat Kurnaz, a detainee for five years, were not captured on the “battlefield,” but rather kidnapped and sold to the American government by local tribesmen. Kurnaz fetched $3,000 as a result of American fliers distributed across Afghanistan promising poor Afghans “enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life” in return for prisoners. Kurnaz, who was punched in the gut, dunked under water, and hung from ceiling chains during his imprisonment, was eventually sent back to his native Germany on a C-17 military flight which cost American taxpayers over $1 million.

Lakhdar Boumediene was arrested in late 2001 while working as the director of a humanitarian aid clinic helping the victims of the Balkan conflicts. Despite having no evidence that he was tied to any terrorist activity, he was arrested and shipped to Guantanamo Bay and kept there without charge for seven years. Boumediene eventually challenged his detention. In 2008, the US Supreme Court ruled in Boumediene v. Bush that Guantanamo prisoners are guaranteed a “meaningful opportunity” to challenge their continued imprisonment.

Despite this ruling, indefinite detention is still the norm at Guantanamo. The Obama Administration shares the blame for this state of affairs. Having once promised to abolish Guantanamo, the president has now urged the U.S. Supreme Court to avoid reviewing Guantanamo detainees’ appeals. Incredibly, the Supreme Court has abided by this request, refusing to hear the appeals of any prisoners. As journalist Adam Serwer wrote for Mother Jones, “Gitmo detainees have now lost virtually every avenue - other than dying in detention - for leaving the detention camp.”

And die they do. The most recent detainee to “leave” Guantanamo was Adnan Latif, who spent most of his time at Guantanamo in solitary confinement with his hands in cuffs. He was recommended for transfer out of Guantanamo three times. However, Latif, along with 56 other Yemenis who have been cleared for release, continued to languish in the prison because the Obama Administration has placed an indefinite moratorium on transferring innocent Yemenis back to their native country.

What is the legacy of Guantanamo Bay? 171 men continue to languish there. The Bush torture program has been legitimized by the Obama administration, and indefinite detention has been codified as law. Guantanamo bleeds our coffers, costing $800,000 a year per detainee. And with a government that possesses the awesome power to indefinitely detain whomever it pleases, we are much, much less safe than we were 11 years ago.

Despite these obvious warning signs of a coming authoritarian state, a CNN poll from 2010 indicates that 60 percent of Americans would like Guantanamo to remain open. Yet what most Americans fail to realize, however, is that Guantanamo Bay is no different from every other aspect of America’s military empire, whether it be weaponry or military strategy, which has been tested against so-called “insurgents” abroad only to be brought home and used against American citizens. In this way, we are being conditioned to not only tolerate the government’s constant undermining of our freedoms but to actually condone the increasing assaults of our rights in the name of national security.

To put it more bluntly, we are being conditioned to live as prisoners in an Orwellian police state. Worse, we are being taught to enjoy our prison walls.


by Anonymousreply 109/24/2012

Encouraged by politicians and pundits to wade through life in a constant state of fear and apathy while being fed the bread and circuses of the corporate-entertainment complex, Americans have become accustomed to the illusion of security. In the process, we are finding ourselves subjected to a veritable arsenal of military firepower, government surveillance and battlefield tactics.

Such was the case with so-called “non-lethal” weapons of compliance—tear gas, tasers, sound cannons and barf beamers—all of which were first used on the battlefield before being deployed against civilians at home. Similarly, drones—unmanned aerial vehicles—were used exclusively by the military to carry out aerial surveillance and attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan only now to be authorized by Congress and President Obama for widespread use in American airspace.

To anyone connecting the dots, it all makes sense—the military drills carried out in major American cities, the VIPR inspections at train depots and bus stations, the SWAT team raids on unsuspecting homeowners, the Black Hawk helicopters patrolling American skies. All of these so-called training exercises habituate Americans to an environment in which the buzz of Black Hawk helicopters and the sight of armed forces rappelling onto buildings or crashing through doors is commonplace.

The enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in January 2012, which allows the military to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone, including American citizens, only codifies this unraveling of our constitutional framework. Viewed in conjunction with the government’s increasing use of involuntary commitment laws to declare individuals—especially American military veterans—mentally ill and lock them up in psychiatric wards for extended periods of time, the NDAA appears even more menacing.

Throw in the profit-driven corporate incentive to jail Americans in private prisons, as well as the criminalizing of such relatively innocent activities as holding Bible studies in one’s home or sharing unpasteurized goat cheese with members of one’s community, and you have a 10-step blueprint for how to transform a republic into a police state without the populace cluing in until it’s too late.

by Anonymousreply 209/24/2012

Honey, is there a pharmacy within walking distance?

Please, don't drive.

But you need a refill.

by Anonymousreply 309/24/2012

Why does pointing out that Bush and Obama are identical on foreign policy require meds?

by Anonymousreply 409/24/2012

Oh please, I'm so sick of this shit. The choice this year couldn't be clearer. Shut the fuck up and vote Obama.

by Anonymousreply 509/24/2012

OP = moron

by Anonymousreply 609/24/2012


Do you think that Obama will invade Iran is his masters demand it?

by Anonymousreply 709/24/2012

R6= stupidmotherfucker

by Anonymousreply 809/24/2012

Fuck no.

by Anonymousreply 909/24/2012

I'm voting for Obama because he's still the lesser of two evils. That said, Gitmo needs to be closed ASAP. Don't let Obama slide on that promise.

by Anonymousreply 1009/24/2012


Do you really think I would vote for Romney? He's just as bad as Obama.

by Anonymousreply 1109/24/2012

R10, if you believe that the empty suit will do anything to upset the elite (like reining in the big banks, or stopping the wars) then you are naive. Or stupid.

by Anonymousreply 1209/24/2012

This is another veiled freeper thread.

Fuck Bush,

Fuck his father,

Fuck Reagan,

and double fuck in the ass Barbara.

Obama is more like Clinton than ANY of those evil fucks.

Plus he is a faithful husband.

Eat shit Republicans!

by Anonymousreply 1309/24/2012

R10, Obama isn't the problem there. He TRIED to close it.

If you want more done, vote the Republican pigfuckers out of office.

by Anonymousreply 1409/24/2012

[quote]Do you really think I would vote for Romney? He's just as bad as Obama.

Dumbest statement yet.

Romney is about three or four orders of magnitude WORSE than Obama.

Obama is way, WAY, [italic][bold]WAY[/bold][/italic] better than Romney.

And you need to vote for him just to keep Romney out. Yes, it's true: You only have two choices. If you think otherwise, you're fooling yourself.

by Anonymousreply 1509/24/2012

There is only one proper choice this year: VOTE OBAMA.

by Anonymousreply 1609/24/2012

R12, I know he's not a perfect candidate. Did I imply that? I know he's not nearly as progressive as I am, but no third party candidate will win. I accept that. If I had my druthers we would have a true socialist in the White House. However, I know this won't happen. Even with his numerous flaws Obama is a billion times better than Romney. Anyone with liberal or progressive views must surely realize that.

by Anonymousreply 1709/24/2012

R14, I'm trying to vote them out of office. No way in hell would I support Republicans.

by Anonymousreply 1809/24/2012

GTMO, NDAA, Patriot Act redux, Afghanistan escalation, illegal war in Libya, wiretapping, drones, redefining "militant" to minimize the official civilian death toll... why, exactly, should I vote for this guy again? This kind of foreign policy isn't any better when the guy has a "D" next to his name.

by Anonymousreply 1909/24/2012

R19, you truly are a myopic moron.

Why should you vote for him? To keep Romney out of the office, you fuckwit. There is nothing more important at this moment.

Everything you hate about Obama only gets worse if Republicans get into power.

If you want it to get better, you not only have to keep Romney out, you have to help kick the GOP out of Congress as well.

by Anonymousreply 2009/24/2012

R19, I've wrestled with similar questions. I'm admittedly not thrilled with the hard right turn our country has taken, but I think it wold get much, much worse if Romney won. If nothing else I think about the Supreme Court.

by Anonymousreply 2109/24/2012

The first step in making things better is [italic]preventing them from getting worse[/italic].

It's amazing to me how many morons like the OP, so arrogant in his screed, miss this simple little fact. The OP defines "cutting off your nose to spite your face", and only shows his ignorance about how our system works in this country.

by Anonymousreply 2209/24/2012

r19, do you think Romney will scale back ANY of those things? American foreign policy is a nightmare minefield, full of unpleasant choices and decisions. Obama at least maintains some personal oversight and responsibility for those dirty decisions that must often be made. His choices are also limited by a hostile and obstinate House of Reps. Do you really think the Dems are just as bad as the Repubs would be in office? Really?

by Anonymousreply 2309/24/2012

Obama tried to get Gitmo closed. He couldn't due to obstinate Republicans.

by Anonymousreply 2409/24/2012

Sorry R20, but I've never subscribed to the "lesser of two evils" philosophy that seems to dominate American democracy these days. Evil is evil and should not be supported, period.

If you want it to get better you have to demand change, not settle and hope the insiders bring it about themselves.

by Anonymousreply 2509/24/2012

R25, you continue to reinforce what a short-sighted, myopic, "cut off my nose to spite my own face" idiot you are.

Seriously, you're not thinking or acting rationally.

You're PROVABLY wrong.

by Anonymousreply 2609/24/2012

Don't argue with idiots, r26.

They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

by Anonymousreply 2709/24/2012

op needs help.

by Anonymousreply 2809/26/2012

I'm the OP.

Obama has been worse than Bush. At least "liberals" attacked Bush on this assaults on civil liberties, his overseas wars, and his bailouts of big corporations. Now they cheer their messiah, no matter how many people he murders.

by Anonymousreply 2901/28/2013

What r29 said.

by Anonymousreply 3001/29/2013

OP is the FREEPER TROLL who is starting endless threads attacking liberals and Obama.

Please do NOT feed the troll.

by Anonymousreply 3101/29/2013

Thanks, R30

by Anonymousreply 3201/29/2013

[quote]Do you really think I would vote for Romney? He's just as bad as Obama.

Another ridiculous false equivalency. Romney is several orders of magnitude worse than Obama in every way, on every level, regarding every policy and position. There is no equating the two.

by Anonymousreply 3301/29/2013


Romney and Obama are more alike than different.

Compare Obama or Romney to Ron Paul. Ron Paul supports gays, hates the wars, wants to stop the bank and military welfare...that's why they hate him, and that's why the people here are scared of him.

Young gays are flocking to The Liberty Movement, and it scares the old homosocilaists

by Anonymousreply 3401/30/2013

I was with R29 and R30, until R29 became R34.

Politics is hard, as is empire.

by Anonymousreply 3501/30/2013

Please explain, R35.

If you agree that Obama has been as bad, if not worse, than Bush W/R/T civil liberties, drone murders, bank bailouts, etc. then why can't you see that Ron Paul was the only consistent and logical alternative?

Empire is evil. Haven't you seen Star Wars!

by Anonymousreply 3601/31/2013

This is an

Extremely Serious Topic!!!

by Anonymousreply 3701/31/2013

people still give a shit about gitmo and afghan? this bs war has dragged on so long i thought people had become apathetic to the whole matter. let's focus on home and bring our soldiers back here as well. that's all.

by Anonymousreply 3801/31/2013

[quote] then why can't you see that Ron Paul was the only consistent and logical alternative?

Because Ron Paul is a hypocritical racist moron, ignorant of both history and economics, whose policies would be disastrous for the economy and for the country. Any other questions?

by Anonymousreply 3901/31/2013
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