Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of the opening of the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It is an anniversary I had hoped would never happen. Most people thought Guantanamo would close after President Obama announced on his second day in office that he would shutter the prison within a year. He repeated his pledge to close the prison three more times during his tenure. Yet, today, Guantanamo continues to be a black stain on America and negates our claim to be a global leader in human rights and the rule of law. When America accuses other countries of human rights violations, their leaders point to Guantanamo in response.
Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of the opening of the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It is an anniversary I had hoped would never…
‘I hope the lessons learned I will always have and I hope my ‘old me’ a big part of that, I can have back…but it takes a lot longer than I had thought.’
The U.S. Government recently issued a security alert amid increasing fears that ISIS will initiate a terrorist act here at home, in America.
We’re sitting there looking at [a huge map on the wall of the conference room] and I remember one person from DoJ said ‘What about Guantanamo?’ And I remember thinking about it and I said, ‘go on.’”
Honigsberg disputed the claim that placing convicted terrorists in federal prisons in the U.S. would create a significant new security risk. ‘The fact is that our ‘supermax’ prisons in America already house many convicted terrorists and other enemies of America,’ he said. ‘If the men are convicted of a crime, we can be assured that they will be locked up in these maximum security prisons.’
‘The Geneva Convention requires that prisoners be released at the end of hostilities,’ wrote Honigsberg. ‘Obama should declare that, after more than 14 years, hostilities with Afghanistan are over. He can then release the men in Guantanamo who have not been charged back to their home countries or to third countries. And, he can prosecute the men who have been charged with war crimes.’
Recently, a local high school girl I will call Lisa interviewed me for a report she was doing on torture. I am the founder and…
It is despicable that Syria allegedly used chemical weapons, and that more than 1000 people died in horrible, writhing deaths. And, chemical weapons are outlawed by international law, as well as customary law and norms. However, we live in a global community.
‘[Guantanamo] is a stain that is very clear on America,’ said Honigsberg. ‘The best thing to say would be: ‘We made a mistake and we acknowledge that mistake and we take some accountability for that mistake and we will move on.”
Why does Aamer remain in Guantanamo when the other 15 detainees from the UK were released years ago? One theory is that the UK does not want Aamer to publicly repeat the story that a UK intelligence agent from MI5 was present when a U.S. interrogator smashed his head against a wall in Bagram Air Force Base.
‘Many of the former detainees now live in third party countries — not their homeland — and lead difficult lives, stained by financial hardship and psychological scars,’ Honigsberg said. ‘The government, I feel, has an obligation to assist these men to get back on their feet and have some life going forward,’ he said.
I have spent over 12 years searching for the person who suggested that the term enemy combatant be adopted by the Bush administration. Now I know.