Dead in Custody:
Three Reported Suicides at Guantanamo
C. L. Cook
June 10, 2006
American authorities assure, the bodies of the dead men were treated "with the utmost respect." Better treated in death apparently than they were in life. The "treatment" of those held at Guantanamo has included: No hope of a fair trial; barred communication with their families; religious persecution; denial of the guarantees afforded Prisoners of War, as defined by international law and the Geneva Convention.
Of the reported 460 men and boys languishing, some more than four years, despite little, or no evidence of any connection to the Taliban, or the Afghan resistance to the U.S. invasion of their country in 2001, only ten have been charged, while none have had their day in court.
The bombing campaign and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan was an illegal act, under international law, but that mattered little to the United States and its "coalition of the willing," those nations, including Canada, that have worked hand in glove to prosecute a 'War on Terror' predicated on Taliban involvement in the 9/11 attacks of 2001; allegations never tried, based on suspect assertions made by the Bush administration.
Irregardless of the Taliban's relationship with the alleged mastermind of 9/11, Saudi national, Osama bin Laden, America's invocation of United Nations' Article 51, a nation's right to retaliate against foreign attack, was a thin justification for what followed, and continues for those deemed neither soldiers, nor civilians deserving legal representation, or the basic human rights the U.S. and its coalition partners willingly ratified, but now ignore.
George W. Bush opined yesterday, he understood "concerns" about the prison expressed by the leaders of nations, like Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, currently on a State visit to Washington, saying he; "assured him [Rasmussen] that we would like to end Guantanamo."
But, it's clear; "ending" Guantanamo will not mean an end to the unjust ordeal these men and boys have endured.
For some, it means being delivered into the hands of America's willing collaborators, singular noted in some quarters for their agreement with America's number one law man, and architect of the legal language allowing Guantanamo, Bagram, and the plethora of secret "prison facilities" currently serving surrogate for America's endless 'War on Terror,' Alberto Gonzales, that international law, and Geneva specifically, are "quaint" notions better left to the dustbin of history.
Left behind to moulder in neglected history tomes too, the reminders of another regime that observed no law, and is remembered best today as a criminal enterprise whose monuments attest mass unprovoked war against its neighbours, and the systemic murder of millions behind the barbed wire of their network of concentration camps.
Chris Cook is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and host of Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.
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