Correspondence with the Bush Administration

U.S. transfers 20 more prisoners to Afghan custody
February 10, 2008
Confusion Clouds Guantanamo Tribunals
Associated Press
February 6, 2008
France urges US to drop Guantanamo trial of Canadian
January 23, 2008
More Media...

Supreme Court Decisions
  - RASUL v. Bush & Al-Odah v. United States
  - HAMDI et al. v. RUMSFELD
  - HAMDAN et al. v. RUMSFELD

Amicus Briefs
  - Helen Duffy and William Aceves



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Injustice of Guantanamo

Arab News
May 21, 2006

The release of 15 Saudis who had been detained in Guantanamo by the Americans is significant - and not merely for the relatives who greeted their loved ones ecstatically. It is also important because were these men truly the terrorist menace that Washington earlier declared, they would not, and indeed should not, have been released. Instead, the US authorities finally decided that there was no concrete evidence to prove that these men had been involved in terrorist activities. This at once begs the question not only of why they were detained in the first place but why they have been detained for so long. These men have been analyzed, interrogated and investigated for several years. Why now has it been decided that they are probably innocent?

This in turn points out the gross error that the Bush White House made by imprisoning people without ever bringing them to trial. The military tribunals held in the cases of the majority of the more than 400 detainees, for which the evidence has been published, are no substitute for a trial in an open court of law with the accused having proper defense lawyers and the prosecution's evidence could be measured and tested. Yet America has chosen to throw over all its cherished freedoms and rights under the law and by the legal sophistry of detaining the suspects well beyond the normal guarantees and processes of US law. This assumption is now being challenged strongly in the US courts while US allies have been urging President Bush to reel back from the massive strategic error of Guantanamo, which has been compounded by the CIA's "rendition" activities.

The war on terror may pose some unimaginable challenges, but these cannot be met by throwing over the very standards of law and justice which are in fact among the biggest targets of bigots such as Osama Bin Laden. Indeed it could be argued that GuantanamoBay represents a victory for Al-Qaeda. There can be little doubt that among the detainees held by the Americans are some hard-core members of Al-Qaeda, whose guilt the Americans do not doubt for a second. That being the case, why have those men not been put on trial?

The argument, much used by the British in their own clampdown on human rights, that revealing all the evidence against terror suspects will jeopardize intelligence, lives and operations simply does not wash. There are ways to have security personnel give evidence at such trials without them or their ongoing operations being compromised. Using this as a blanket excuse is dangerous nonsense because it represents a decisive step toward a police state. Guantanamo must be closed. Whatever slight justification may have existed for a short-term facility of its nature is gone. It has quite outlived any uses it might have once had and is now a total liability to the reputation of the United States. Thursday's apparently coordinated suicide attempts among Guantanamo detainees demonstrate that this truly is now a no-win situation for the Americans. The only solution is to charge and try the guilty men, preferably in The Hague, or let them go.

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