Friday, January 11, 2008

Six Years of Guantanamo

The ACLU’s “Close Guantanamo Bay” day marks the six anniversary of the arrival of prisoners at the U.S. military base in Cuba, where hundreds of foreigners continue to languish behind bars without any trial in the U.S. courts. In all about 800 people have been held at the Guantanamo prison — some of them for years on end — since it opened in January 2002.

The Bush administration justifies their detention by stating that the naval base in Guantanamo is outside U.S. territory so constitutional protections do not apply, an argument that has been consistently challenged by United Nations experts and human rights groups at home and abroad.

In May 2006, a UN panel that monitors compliance with the world’s anti-torture treaty urged the United States to close its prison at Guantanamo and avoid using secret detention facilities in what George W. Bush and his allies call the “war on terror.” The Bush administration dismissed those arguments, saying the UN experts lacked accurate information.
Today, at the Supreme Court eighty people were arrested "calling for the shutdown of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." Demonstrators wearing orange jump suits intended to simulate prison garb were arrested inside and outside the building in the early afternoon. "Shut it down," protesters chanted as others kneeled on the plaza in front of the court.

Officials briefly closed the court building during the protest. It reopened around 2 p.m. EST. We will regret and be ashamed some day when we are old and gray that we sat through this abomination. Just like our grandparents allowed the internment of Japanese citizens Guantanamo Bay is a national shame.

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