Monday, January 10, 2005

Three Years of Shame

For those of you who thought the US was a free country, today marks the third anniversary of an absolutely shameful page in American history: the establishment of the the "detention camp" at Guantanamo (that "camp" nomenclature has Kafka-esque overtones).
Naturally, that is not how the Bush administration sees it. No official spokesman will admit that Guantanamo was a mistake that has besmirched the US image around the world. The Pentagon claims that detainees have provided valuable information, which has helped thwart several planned terrorist strikes. If they were not under lock and key at Guantanamo, says Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, many inmates might be plotting such attacks, or back fighting US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere.

But many of these claims do not survive scrutiny. Privately, Pentagon officials admit that most detainees are low-level figures. Outside experts query the intelligence value of many prisoners, insignificant figures now behind bars for two years or more.

In the meantime, the charges of prisoner abuse and torture multiply. With each one, it becomes more apparent that wittingly or unwittingly, Guantanamo was a test bed for the techniques - and incubator of the mentality - that the world discovered in the horrific prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib.

A little later today, I'll show preserving how the principles of democracy has taken a back seat to fighting the "enemies of democracy".

When protecting corporate interests assumes the guise of "furthering democracy" you can assume a laissez-faire apporach to human rights.


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