Friday, April 27, 2007

Security theater

Call me cynical. I see a clear connection between 1) the recent New York Times and Washington Post stories about our government's moves to further limit contacts between Guantanamo prisoners and their lawyers, 2) recent Senate efforts to restore prisoners' habeas rights, and 3) today's big splash: 'Al Qaeda Suspect Caught, Sent to Guantanamo'.

Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi has apparently been held for months now in one of the CIA's many secret prisons around the world. His very public transfer to Guantanamo is meant to reinforce the picture the government wants to paint of that prison as holding "the worst of the worst," a term that might be fairly applied to up to thirty detainees there.

Today's news, like the ruling regime's efforts to hamstring and stigmatize defense and human rights lawyers, is part of an ongoing effort to obscure the disgraceful reality: We are holding hundreds of men in living coffins. Most have been there for years without being charged with any crime; indeed, most probably never will. They have never had anything remotely resembling a fair process to determine the basis on which we are holding them. The question faces us: will we hold them forever?

Fine with the senior senator from my state: "What is the hurry?" Sen. John Warner, R-Va., asked at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing."

[Further detail from one of the lawyers affected in comments at Jim Henley's blog.]

Update: 27 April, 2:45 pm - Jan in San Francisco has an excellent roundup of the Democratic presidential candidates' statements on the subject of closing Guantanamo.

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At 7:31 PM, April 27, 2007, Blogger janinsanfran said...

I did think Warner's comment was particularly disgusting.

At 1:19 AM, April 28, 2007, Blogger Thomas Nephew said...

Thanks for tracking this, Nell. Just to clarify: I take it you're saying the Al Qaeda guy transfer is meant to undermine the Senate hearings.

"What's the hurry?" What a thing to say.

At 10:22 AM, April 28, 2007, Blogger Nell said...

To undermine the Senate hearings and any efforts to show Guantanamo and our still-expanding torture prison network for what it is.

Just as another example of an unfolding disaster to which most of the west seems blind: The brutal war in Somalia that we're sponsoring has resulted in 1500 deaths in the last month alone, and hundreds of thousands of refugees.

As they stream into Kenya, operatives of the U.S. government are taking some of them captive and sending them to ...? Many are ending up in Ethiopian prisons, where State Department spokespeople claim to be helpless to effect their release. Maybe so, but it's not the Ethiopian government they're unwilling to cross. It's an Other Government Agency.

At 4:55 PM, May 10, 2007, Blogger Nell said...

For more on our country's newest endless war, in and around Somalia, see Chris Floyd's posts at Empire Burlesque: May 8 and several preceding.


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