Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Transfer of Guantanamo Detainees on Hold

Transfer of Guantanamo Detainees on Hold (

A federal judge has extended a temporary restraining order barring the US from the practice of "rendition," the involuntary transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo to foreign countries where they can be interrogated in an atmosphere more conducive to "making them talk."

This is the latest chapter in an ongoing drama, the likes of which I have never seen--and never, ever believed I would live to see--in America. The storyline goes something like this:

First we set up illegal interrogation camps in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Cuba where prisoners where physically and psychologically abused, some were tortured, and over a hundred died--some beaten to death.

American officials--and Americans themselves--denied it at first: "Oh, it's an isolated incident perpetrated by a few bad apples." And, of course, right-wingers put the blame on the "liberal media" for blowing up this "isolated incident" all out of proportion.

But then evidence was uncovered that Abu Ghraib was not, in fact, an isolated incident, and abuse and torture of prisoners was going on everywhere that the US had set up illegal interrogation camps. Details emerged about the Bush administration's intellectual contortions to allow torture, but classify it as something less than torture.

Here come the rationalizations: "This is a new kind of war, and we can't rely on 'quaint' and 'obsolete' tactics to fight it."

We now have the situation where we want to remove terrorism suspects (and make no mistake about it--we are not talking about anyone who has been tried and convicted of a crime, but are merely suspects) from US jurisdiction and send them to a client state so that they can be tortured.

We've already had the justifications: "Hey, if stepping on human rights protects the US, I'm all for it." And, of course, the real problem is not that torture seems to have become a policy in the US "war on terror," it is that the damned liberal media keep talking about it.

The common thread running consistently through this storyline is undeniable, it is empirically provable, and it is disgusting, whether Americans are perpetrating it, or sending prisoners to other countries to perpetrate it: TORTURE.

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