[Ppnews] Welcome to Guantánamo - Congress agrees to torture

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Sep 29 12:09:09 EDT 2006

Posted on Fri, Sep. 29, 2006

Editorial | We're Glad You're Here!

Welcome to Guantánamo

New arrivals at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention 
camp look up from their chained wrists and ankles 
as the official greeting crackles over the loudspeakers:

"Welcome to the American gulag.

"You have been declared 'unlawful enemy 
combatants' by President Bush. As such - and with 
the full consent of the Republican-controlled 
U.S. Congress - you can be imprisoned indefinitely. Until death.

"Your interrogations will begin almost 
immediately. Remain standing. You may be subject 
to harsh 'alternative' tactics by CIA personnel 
or U.S. military. Again, each of these tactics 
has been fully approved by Congress. (No whining. 
You could be in one of the CIA's secret, foreign jails. No picnic, those.)

"Rest assured that no interrogation measures will 
constitute 'grave breaches' of the Geneva 
Conventions' ban on 'outrages upon personal 
dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading 
treatment.' Of course, the main judge of what's 
an outrage is our president, who - thanks to 
Congress - is empowered to 'interpret the meaning 
and application' of the conventions.

"Most of you will never face trial. Just look 
around at the hundreds of men locked up here for 
nearly five years. You can call this a 'black 
hole' and a 'twilight-zone existence' if it makes 
you feel better, but it won't make any difference in your fate.

"Listen, don't ever forget that some of you are 
really bad, bad guys who have plotted or executed 
harm on American citizens. No sympathy for you. 
Others of you, of course, may not be. You may 
have been swept up in the chaos of war, or been 
the victim of mistaken identity or informers with 
agendas. That's a tough break for you, but it's 
really too much trouble for us to sort it out.

"Periodically, you will be brought before a 
Combat Status Review Tribunal, where a 
perfunctory recitation of the charges against you 
will be read, and which you will have no 
meaningful means of refuting. Your counsel is 
warned not to refer to these reviews as 'show trials.'

"Whatever happens here, there is almost no 
recourse to the U.S. courts - despite a U.S. 
Supreme Court ruling that enemy combatants have 
such a right. As to what you may have heard about 
the great writ of habeas corpus on unlawful 
detention stretching back 900 years to the Magna 
Carta, well, that's inoperative here.

"Those few of you who are brought to trial before 
our military commissions will face evidence that 
may come from hearsay statements, or even coerced 
testimony produced by torture. If our prosecutors 
refuse to disclose evidence that would reveal 
state secrets, they may withdraw charges. Don't 
imagine you'll go free, however. You may still be 
detained for as long as we deem fit.

"During your imprisonment, your contact with the 
outside world will be minimal. But should you be 
granted any calls or messages, the National 
Security Agency will be listening. Until now, its 
sweep of international communications may have 
been an illegal, warrantless fishing expedition. 
But soon it will have congressional approval.

"Another warning: Under the vastly expanded 
definition of 'enemy combatants' - again, 
Congress' doing - there is a good chance you will 
be joined by many more detainees. Again, we're 
not going to be too particular about whether they 
really belong here. So welcome them kindly.

"Those are the rules. For now, this is the 
American way - at least until the American people 
wake up and decide they're appalled by the way 
their nation's human-rights ideals and its 
Constitution have been trampled underfoot by post-9/11 panic.

"Have a nice day."

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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