Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Eyesore Of The World

Four large wind turbines stand atop John Paul Jones Hill. The highest point in the area, the place named after one of our Revolutionary War heroes looks out over almost the entire affront to decency and freedom called Guantanamo Bay. Once a proud U.S. Naval Base, standing tall in the face of Castro's dictatorship, the site has become synonymous with torture and human rights abuses.

When President Bush announced his war on a noun to the world, he and others within in his administration knew that in order to pretend to be producing results they would have to start taking prisoners, it was decided by the fascists in charge that those prisoners could not be brought back to the American mainland. Many arguments have been made as to the reasons that Guantanamo was chosen, but the main thinking behind the choosing of housing the prisoners at 'Gitmo' was that whatever actions taken there would be beyond the purvey of the U.S. legal system. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In 2002, Brown and Root Services was awarded a multi million dollar no bid contract to build the facilities that would house the prisoners taken in the then only theater of war, Afghanistan. Brown and Root, a subsidiary of KBR, itself no longer a subsidiary of Halliburton (wink wink), originally built the facilities to house only a couple of hundred prisoners. The criteria to be eligible to become a detainee at Gitmo were so vast and far reaching, such as just being a foreign national, that Brown and Root were subsequently awarded even larger no bid contracts to build more and ever expanding facilities.

Going from just one camp that housed about one hundred high value detainees to eleven official camps and one 'unofficial' holding facility, the hell on earth known as Gitmo now boasts the capacity to indefinitely keep without charges, over 10,000 detainees. In the 'unofficial' camp, the one that our government denies even exists, it is alleged by both prisoners and human rights groups that torture occurs here, way beyond what is commonly known as 'waterboarding'.

Once an area of the world that was known for it's quick response to refugees seeking asylum from brutal dictatorships in the Caribbean, such as the Haitian and Cuban escapees, the very word Gitmo has come to be associated with terror and torture, and the place where another brutal dictator allows for the flouting of both U.S. and International law.

On the U.S. mainland, including Alaska and Hawaii, even now, prisoners have certain rights. Such as the right to a speedy trial by a jury of one's peers, the right to an attorney, the right to have contact with the outside world, the right to humane treatment, and the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. But according to the Bush White House, and both the current and former Secretaries of Defense, these rights don't apply to the Gitmo detainees, nor for that matter to those kidnapped by the U.S. and brought to Abu Gharib, due to what they say is the fact that the installations are not based on U.S. soil.

It is interesting to note this argument made by the administration as well as other Americans without any sense of honor or decency due to the fact that International law declares that all embassies, military bases, consulates, or other leased facilities are the sole sovereign territory of the nation that owns or leases the areas from the host country. In other words, Guantanamo Bay is officially U.S. soil, therefore subject to U.S. law.

Knowing this, and for years now muddying up the waters, the Bush administration has been hard at work trying to confuse the issue with the People, fighting every step of the way any oversight, or inspections of it's illegal operations and abuses of prisoners at the Gitmo horror house. The ACLU has fought for five years to have access to records. Judicial Watch has filed Freedom of Information Act after Freedom of Information Act requests for year after year to no avail. If all was above board and is as the Bush people claim, why the urgent secrecy?

Because they know as well as the majority of us know, the entire Gitmo fiasco was a fraud from the beginning and completely Unconstitutional. U.S. soil is U.S. soil, because if you believe the Bushie arguments, then we must say that Cuba has control over the Gitmo base, and allow them to retake their sovereign territory. If we aren't going for that, then we must at long last admit that Gitmo is subject to the laws of the U.S., the Military Commissions Act was illegal and Unconstitutional, and allow the detainees to have their day in an open and public arena, with witnesses and evidence that isn't little more than a hearsay argument.

There isn't even any room for debate on this issue any longer. No less than the Supreme Court of the United States has issued two separate rulings against the Bush administration concerning the status of detainees at Gitmo, but as with everything else done by this above the law devil in the White House, the rulings have been completely ignored. Where is the cowed and bowed media when it comes to the Gitmo issue? Off chasing Britney Spears at her custody hearing. But at least she gets a hearing. That's more than thousands upon thousands of Gitmo detainees will ever receive so long as Bush, Gates, and Rice are in office. The time has come to force the maniacs in charge to close this eyesore of the world and close it now.

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