Friday, September 14, 2012

Guantanamo Bay

They say that they care but they don't. As we live our lives, men rot in jail. Tortured in primitive cells and stripped of all freedom and humanity, these men are often not considered by the general public. Yet as 9/11 happened this week, I couldn't help but think about them.

As terrible as 9/11 was, I can't help but be much more angry at the terrible things that happened afterwards and for people for allowing themselves to be consumed by fear and manipulated. So many terrible offenses were committed afterwards, but no one said anything to stop it. One of these terrible things was Guantanamo Bay.

Shortly after 9/11, the former President Bush opened up Guantanamo Bay, a torture camp for apparent terrorists. Eventually, even American citizens could be sent there- and with no probable cause and no trial- to be indefinitely detained. Not only does this violate the Fifth Amendment (the right to due process), but it violates international law. Yet because of fear of "terrorism", people have allowed this atrocity to go on with only few words of protest. I have even heard excuses from my relatives saying that this kind of thing is okay, emotive responses brought out by brainwashing.

Terrorist or not, no one has the right to be tortured and everyone has the right to a fair trial and basic civil rights. Why? We are not a vigilante justice system and we should be above acting like animals. Torturing these terrorist is stooping to their level. Not only that, but it doesn't even work most of the time(Rejali). Many of the men aren't terrible, vicious animals, even, but people whose minds are so warped, manipulated and brainwashed that they believe that they are doing the right thing (with the exception of many of the higher-ups, who absolutely do know what they're doing).

Get this, though. Most of the people sent to Guantanamo are... innocent. That's right. Most of them aren't even connected and many of them have even been cleared (and are still there). How is that possible? Many who still actually believe in this country and trust the government would be appalled at this and outright deny it. But, alas, this is true. Most of the people held in Guantanamo Bay are not even affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Taliban (Miller), and many were even indiscriminately picked up by the government when it offered bounties to Afghanis for "terrorists" (Pope).

779 prisoners have been held at Guantanamo Bay over the course of its career (Stafford Smith), but many more have probably been held from 2003- 2004 in secret whom the government have not identified. While this might sound like a lot, it could have been a lot worse especially given how easy it was to ship someone off there. Currently, 89 prisoners are still in Guantanamo Bay despite being cleared by President Obama (Stafford Smith)- and if that's not disturbing, I don't know what is.

Much of it stinks of corruption too. Before Arab Spring, Libyan and Palestinian refugees (and possibly more) were handed back to their respective countries/ areas after they had been extensively tortured in Guantanamo Bay (and still are, in certain cases) only to be tortured more in those countries (Guantanamo Bay's refugees. I think I smell oil and shady diplomacy here.

While Obama said that he would close Guantanamo Bay down (Negrin), he has not done so so far. For those who argue the need for protection, I say this from Benjamin Franklin- "People who trade freedom for security deserve neither." I would especially argue that that is the case for those who take away the freedoms of others.

Americans at this rate

Guantanamo Bay's Refugees: Trapped by Inaction. Rep. no. 2d. Center for Constitutional Rights, n.d. Web. <>.
Miller, Greg. "Many Held at Guantanamo Not Likely Terrorists." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 22 Dec. 2002. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. <>.
NEGRIN, MATT. "Guantanamo Bay: Still Open, Despite Promises." ABC News. ABC News Network, 03 July 2012. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. <>.
Rejali, Darius. "5 Myths about Torture and Truth." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 16 Dec. 2007. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. <>.
Stafford Smith, Clive. "Guantánamo Bay: Statistics." Reprieve—Guantánamo Bay: Statistics., 28 July 2011. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. <>.
Pope, Mark. "How Did so Many Innocent People End up in Guantánamo Bay?"Reprieve—How Did so Many Innocent People End up in Guantánamo Bay?N.p., 30 Aug. 2012. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. <>

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