The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901 Message #1370626
Posted By: Amos
03-Jan-05 - 11:51 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
The Guantanamo Gulag
by Mike Whitney
Excerpted from The Progressive Trail
"The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."
"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
U.N. Convention Against Torture; Article 2, Section 2
The prison facility at Guantanamo Bay is the brightest star in the Bush firmament. It towers over the political landscape like a monument to human cruelty. That's why the administration chose to slap it up in full view of the world. It's their way of announcing that the fundamental rules of the game have changed.
There's no need for Guantanamo. The United States has plenty of experience concealing political prisoners from the public. The CIA has been transporting enemy suspects to hidden locations since its inception. Certainly, an increase of 600 prisoners or so wouldn't have caused much of a stir if they were tucked away in some remote corner of the earth. But, that's not the purpose of Guantanamo. Guantanamo is intended to send a message that the internationally accepted norms of justice have been rescinded. From now on, all law proceeds from Washington.
The world seems oddly bewildered by this development. Individuals have protested the particularly heinous aspects of the new system, like the use of torture, or detention without charges. But, these are just the trimmings and don't get to the heart of the matter. Guantanamo is a deliberate effort to overturn every legal protection that safeguards the individual from the arbitrary actions of the state. Simply put, it is the end of the law.
What is it that we fail to grasp about Guantanamo? Are we so blinded by the assuring narrative of democracy and personal freedom that we don't recognize the symbols of tyranny when we see them? The reality of Guantanamo is quite stark; a dull-gray world of cinder-block and wire situated beyond the reach of any law or regulation. Is their some doubt about what this really means?
Just yesterday the Washington Post reported that the "Bush administration is preparing plans for possible lifetime detention of suspected terrorists, including hundreds whom the government does not have enough evidence to charge in courts." Isn't this conspicuous power grab by the president enough to awaken even the most blasé observer? Remember, these prisoners have never been charged with a crime and, yet, the administration is paving the way for permanent incarceration.
The Washington Post report comes on the heels of last week's article by the ACLU which confirmed that "President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq."
So, now there's a paper trail connecting the President directly to the torture that was "systematically" conducted at Guantanamo.
Torture? Permanent imprisonment without charges? These are the most fundamental violations of the law. How can we continue to ignore the gravity of this situation?(...)
By the way, do you recall how strange and alien the concept of a "gulag" was when you first read about it? Was it Nabokov's writing, or some other amazed observation by an American reporter, perhaps, who was incredulous at ther bestiality and feudalism embraced by those thick-skulled Commies. Remember? That was so different than the way we handled things in our proud country, where we had principles....