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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 1/9/12

Guantanamo, that "place of suffering and injustice"

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Yesterday, the New York Times published in its "Sunday Review" an essay titled, "My Guantanamo Nightmare" written by Lakhtar Boumediene (originally written in the Arabic and translated by Felice Besri for the Times).

It should be required reading. [1]

In it Boumediene briefly outlines the 7 years he was held in detention at Guantanamo "without explanation "and why he was being imprisoned", for something he and 5 others never did but were still being held for. He relates, "News reports at the time (October 2002) said the United States believed that I was plotting to blow up its embassy in Sarajevo" (something we later discover in his essay was found to be completely bogus).

After years of torture, forced feeding for two years (while on a hunger strike in protest against his imprisonment), his demand for legal redress finally made it all the way to the Supreme Court which in 2008 ruled "despite the serious accusations against him, he had a right to a day in court" (something even the Roberts led Court had come to realize) and in the words of Boumediene, "the government makes mistakes.". The Court said, "Because the consequence of error may be detention of persons for the duration of hostilities that may last a generation or more, this is a risk too significant to ignore."

Five months later, Judge Richard J. Leon of the Federal District Court in Washington ruled, "seven years of waiting for our legal system to give them an answer to a question so important is, in my judgment, more than plenty." Boumediene, along with four other men were released on May 15, 2009. Most interestingly, the government dropped its claim of an embassy bomb plot just prior to Judge Leon hearing it, (a clear but unstated admission that the government had no factual basis for detaining him in the first place).

What was done to Boumediene in 2002, taken by force by American agents (presumably the CIA) in extra-ordinary detention without charges, tied up and flown to Guantanamo, held without explanation, and tortured over 7 plus years was a reprehensible and despicable act authorized by our government.

Meanwhile 171 men still languish at Guantanamo, many completely innocent of any wrongdoing and "90 prisoners who have been cleared for transfer out of Guantanamo, yet sit as captives with no end in sight, not because they attacked America, but because the stigma of Guantanamo means they have no place to go and America will not give a home to even one of them."

It is hard to describe the utter contempt one feels toward those who authorized these policies of rendition, indefinite detention and suspension of habeas corpus (to name just a few of the contemptible policies these "leaders" authorized and had carried out even to this day). They make a mockery of their oath to defend the Constitution and shreds' the fallacy we are nation upholding the rule of law where "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy trial (the 6 th Amendment) and no "cruel and unusual punishments be inflicted" (the 8 th amendment).

Shame is not something this writer easily ascribes to. But in this case (and others like it) shame is the appropriate term that accurately describes what our government has done and is doing.

Who are those that can still say in all honesty, "My country right or wrong"?

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