“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” -Voltaire
A little over four years have passed since 86 of the present 166 Guantanamo detainees have been cleared to go to their home country, or another country willing to accept them, yet they continue to remain. Even if one assumes that every man held within Guantanamo committed crimes worthy of the time they served, their continued illegal captivity tarnishes every message of peace and liberty America preaches to the world. Whether or not these men deserve the right to their freedom, the system has deemed that they should be released. The act of continuing their imprisonment four years after they are cleared to be set free, shows the world that the American government does not practice what they preach.
The United States had been detaining suspects indefinitely since 2001. They have been doing so on the vague authorization by Congress to “use military force” against the perpetrators of the September 11 terrorist attacks and those who helped them. The text defining who could be detained went beyond Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It covered those who substantially supported terrorist groups or their collaborates. It was not explained what actions would qualify, nor did it state whether American citizens or others arrested on domestic soil could be detained. The vaguely written statute makes it so the terms can be manipulated to mean whatever or whomever they choose.
When the government first set up this “detention facility” it was done so outside the United States with the direct intention of rights being non-existent. Prisoners are held indefinitely; sometimes for crimes they were going to commit. Not a single one of these men has been afforded the right of an impartial court. Some of the inmates have taken to refusing food as a way of protest and as a result have been subjected to force feeding where tubes are extended down their nasal passage to the stomach. This new system of justice allows a certain lawlessness and forces the uncertain citizens of this country to have faith in the unfaithful. The American people are being required to assume that the appropriate evidence necessary to detain these men is held by the executive branch. Simply based on this nation’s history, that is a hard pill to swallow.
On Wednesday the 24th at 2pm, the senate will convene an urgent hearing–its first since 2008–on closing Guantanamo Bay. The government is convening an urgent legal hearing on an illegally sanctioned prison with below the law tactics, which is still holding prisoners released four years ago. Ironic is the correct word. Assuming anything of value comes of this urgent (five-year in the making) meeting, G-bay’s history of following the directives passed in D.C. are non-existent. Why would an institution that has not worked within the law thus far, feel obligated to adhere to the stipulations passed in Washington? Furthermore, if decisions were made to close or alter regulations of said institution, the very same men who allowed this detention center to continue, will be the men charged with making sure it comes down. The level of corruption has become typical.
The nation has decided over many years that determining one’s guilt can only be placed in the hands of impartiality; a collective of peers, chosen to fulfill their civic duty, charged with deciding the fate of an individual based on an assortment of facts and conjecture. The Constitution was created to safeguard the rights of American citizens from tyranny and oppression. The government is currently tasked with upholding these rights. To allow them complete and absolute authority over who to detain, if they’re guilty, and how to punish them, is the complete and utter breakdown of the American way of law. The men that have been chosen to protect this country’s way of life have failed in the most devastating way. If the people allow these detention centers to exist they are accepting that the US is no longer the country that once defined freedom for the world. It is only a matter of time until non violent protest is made impossible. Peaceful rebellion made illegal. Enemies to this new way of life indefinitely detained.