Indefinite Detention Now the Law of the Land

Weeping for our country…

ON Wednesday, America’s detention camp at Guantánamo Bay will have been open for 10 years. For seven of them, I was held there without explanation or charge. During that time my daughters grew up without me. They were toddlers when I was imprisoned, and were never allowed to visit or speak to me by phone. Most of their letters were returned as “undeliverable,” and the few that I received were so thoroughly and thoughtlessly censored that their messages of love and support were lost.

Some American politicians say that people at Guantánamo are terrorists, but I have never been a terrorist. Had I been brought before a court when I was seized, my children’s lives would not have been torn apart, and my family would not have been thrown into poverty.

My Guantanamo Nightmare — Lakhdar Boumediene

and weeping again:

I LEFT Guantánamo Bay much as I had arrived almost five years earlier — shackled hand-to-waist, waist-to-ankles, and ankles to a bolt on the airplane floor. My ears and eyes were goggled, my head hooded, and even though I was the only detainee on the flight this time, I was drugged and guarded by at least 10 soldiers. This time though, my jumpsuit was American denim rather than Guantánamo orange. I later learned that my C-17 military flight from Guantánamo to Ramstein Air Base in my home country, Germany, cost more than $1 million.

When we landed, the American officers unshackled me before they handed me over to a delegation of German officials. The American officer offered to re-shackle my wrists with a fresh, plastic pair. But the commanding German officer strongly refused: “He has committed no crime; here, he is a free man.”

I was not a strong secondary school student in Bremen, but I remember learning that after World War II, the Americans insisted on a trial for war criminals at Nuremberg, and that event helped turn Germany into a democratic country. Strange, I thought, as I stood on the tarmac watching the Germans teach the Americans a basic lesson about the rule of law.

Notes from a Guantanamo Survivor — Murat Kurnaz

And now it’s the law:

…there’s one thing that everyone in our government agrees on:

It’s time to suspend our constitutional right to due process.

Specifically, it’s time to give the government the power to detain people indefinitely, without evidence, judge or jury, or trial.

According to the terms of the new National Defense Authorization Act, which was drafted with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Obama, if someone in the government decides that someone is a Really Bad Person (a terrorist or friend of terrorists), well, then, that’s it–they can just lock ’em up and send ’em to Guantanamo.

No trial.

No evidence.

No due process.

or here, from the ACLU

Glenn Greenwald lays bare the decision and excoriates certain Dems who would “minimize” the importance of the issue.

But there are those, who have not given up, even though the President has….

The specter of an orange clad, black hooded human being cowering behind iron bars is drawing a lot of attention at the White House this week. On Saturday, January 7, members of Witness Against Torture carried a reproduction of a Guantanamo cell over barricades surrounding Lafayette Park and deployed it in front of the White House.

“We plan on being here, in the cage, twenty-four hours a day, until January 11,” said Beth Brockman, a human rights advocate and mother of two from Durham, North Carolina. “We have dubbed January 11 a Day of National Shame. Ten years ago on this date, the first plane load of twenty men arrived at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. And this new architecture of torture, abuse and indefinite detention that is now known as GITMO began. We are here– as we have been for the last six years– to say no with our voices, our bodies and our hearts.”

The 92-hour vigil in front of the White House comes little over a week after President Barak Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which essentially makes Guantanamo permanent by barring the transfer of detainees to the United States, severely restricting transfer to third-party countries, and potentially grants the Executive the power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens.

Fasting for Justice

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