It's been five, horrific, abusive and nightmarish years for the 86 innocent men in Guantanamo, since Obama made his promise to shut it down. It has been 5 years of continued denial of human rights, civil rights and justice for all the men at Guantanamo.
It has been millions in tax dollars spent by this administration in "upgrades" and remodels of the old air base occupying the mainland of Cuba against the wishes of that country - a bad tenant that can't be evicted as it he holds raucous and depraved orgies.
5 years later, America's diseased underbelly expressed in her flagship of injustice, inhumanity and hubris, "Guantanamo" stands high and proud, hiding anything good we may achieve as a nation on this planet.
Though Bagram is bigger (and has, finally been returned to Afghanistan ..... well mostly) and no better - some even say worse (for more information on the US, an old Russian base and the criminal regime of Afghanistan, there is more information here and to be listed below) - Guantanamo has been touted as the place to send all those "terrorists" who are named such by the ignorant, the arrogant and the vengeance filled in the halls of Congress, the RW media and their supporters who fear anyone not quite them (paraphrasing Wade Davis, - Guys, everyone else is not just a failed attempt at being us. Nor are they jealous of us...Nor do they hate us for our freedom.) in Congress, the Pentagon and the pundits who actually love to hate anyone not them.
Sure, we can choose to try and justify the 180++ waterboardings of Khalid Sheik Mohammed (and chemical abuse, URFing, as well as a variety of other acts ) - a man tortured and abused in the best Mengele manner we could muster. Yes, KSM is probably guilty of assisting in the planning of actions that endangered and killed Americans but do we have to prove to be as evilly inhumane as those we claim to be evilly inhumane?
We can try and point to the few of the over 600 prisoners released under Bush; Released after Bush's Boys of the CIA and (questionable) "Intelligence" agencies got through with their series of torture and abuse then determined that they had nothing on which they could even invent charges. Some - around 16% depending on whether or not one actually understands the criteria used by the Office of National Intelligence - have "returned to the battlefield" or, rather, are involved in or participating in activities that the US deems as a threat to our security. Afterall, how could anyone, after being treated so well at our little resort, harbor any ill feelings towards a nation that destroyed their lives, their families, their homes, their health and their reputations!
I'm certainly not happy that people hate us for what we do to others nor do I want to see the people of this nation hurt by those victimized by our "carefully" elected officials and their chosen henchmen, then manipulated into acting out by more "carefully chosen" leaders and their henchmen - but I certainly can understand it. Vengeance is a powerful driving force - we prove it daily.
Does any of this really justify abusing 166 men in Guantanamo? Does it justify the murder of our own constitution and our justice system? Does it justify our international disgrace and status as war criminals?
And then there is the financial drain of that shining beacon off Florida's coast.
We look at the costs. Over $1.066 million dollars per prisoner in 2013. That is only for 2013. Guantanamo has been open for TWELVE years....with numbers ranging upward to 774 prisoners at one time. Do the math - THE REAL MATH
Let's add to those numbers, the costs of continued acts of violence against our military, our embassies, our people and the clean up after those acts; the loss of freedoms; the increased "security" from TSA at airports looking for box cutters and plastique to G-Men running into every possible "terrorist situation" even if it wasn't really a "terrorist situation"; concrete barriers in front of every building; armed guards and police; new "intelligence"agencies; more equipment; more fear, more anger, more vengeance seeking.
From Yemen to Libya to Somalia to Afghanistan to Pakistan...
There are 166 men in Guantanamo, most for over a decade now; 86 have been cleared by not just one independent commission but TWO yet they continue to sit while the White House, Congress, media and the American people FINALLY decide to start paying attention again.
What's different now? Maybe it has to do with the prisoners finally losing all hope - they have lost everything else....what is left to them but their lives?
Since February, they have been on strike - over 100 men, more like 130 men, have refused to eat and as some are near death...NOW we pay attention.
Guantanamo must be closed - it should have never been opened but it's too late for that debate now. It is high time we do what needed to be done long ago...CLOSE that hell that proves us to be nothing what we claim to be so we can save what we have left.
For more information:
"From Bagram to Abu Ghraib, For nearly three years U.S. military authorities have been investigating evidence of torture at American prisons in Afghanistan. But instead of disciplining those involved, the Pentagon sent them to Iraq." By Emily Bazelon, March/April 2005 Issue, "Mother Jones"
"Bagram Revisited," Fri May. 20, 2005 1:12 PM PDT, "Mother Jones"
"The Left Splits Over Bagram: Is sending some Guantanamo detainees to Bagram a good idea?," ADAM SERWER, NOVEMBER 13, 2009, "The American Prospect"
"Obama's First Military Tribunal Tries Child Soldier Tortured at Bagram and Gitmo," By James Ridgeway and Jean Casella, Tue Aug. 10, 2010 11:04 AM PDT, "Mother Jones"
Close Guantanamo website - http://www.closeguantanamo.org/
"Petitioning President Obama: President Obama: Close Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay," Change.org
Jason Leopold's Gitmo Updates, "Truthout"