Guest Blogger

Guantanamo Bay: Against the tenets of democracy

Filed By Guest Blogger | January 11, 2008 9:15 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: ACLU, civil liberties, Gitmo, Guantanamo Bay, orange, protest

[EDITOR'S NOTE:] In solidarity with the ACLU, we've turned the blog orange today to protest the 6th anniversary of the first detainees arriving at Guantanamo Bay. This guest post is from Jenny Egan, Advocacy Coordinator for the ACLU's National Security Project.

Jenny EganOn January 11, 2002, 20 prisoners were led off a C-141 transport plane from Afghanistan and onto awaiting buses at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. From there, they were loaded onto a ferry and finally driven into the now-notorious Camp X-Ray.

A month later, the Defense Department released the first photos and they shocked the world. We saw the first searing photos of men in orange jumpsuits, turquoise facemasks and giant headphones being forced to kneel in the gravel, a line of 6-by-8 foot outdoor wire cages in the distance.

There are few things that are more anathema to the ideals of American democracy than the prospect of indefinite detention. Being jailed without trial goes against the essential tenets of our democracy.

Detainees at Guantanamo BayToday, January 11, marks the six-year anniversary of the U.S.-run prison camp. In that time, Guantánamo has become a symbol of national disgrace — representative of America's willingness to torture prisoners and detain them for indefinite periods of time. Boys as young as 13 and men as old as 98 have been at Guantánamo and four men have died. 775 people have been imprisoned at Guantánamo, but not one trial has ever been completed.

The ACLU and many other organizations have declared today a day of protest to raise awareness about the issue and help drive the movement to close Guantánamo. We’re calling on people of conscience everywhere to wear orange today, because orange has become synonymous with the jumpsuits worn by prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. We have over 30 events going on around the country. From Raleigh to Boise, Seattle to Tampa. (My favorite is probably the “Orange You Mad Un-Happy Hour” in LA) People in Paris, Brisbane, and London are holding rallies and protests.

But today is just the start. Our Close Guantánamo campaign will be ongoing. We’re asking people to continue to wear an orange ribbon every day until Guantánamo Bay is closed and the U.S. denounces its twin policies of cruel treatment and indefinite detention.


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Time to break out the Orange in support of the
Republic and the ideals we use to stand for.

This is sure a good time to be over fifty.
Based on my family heritage i only have another
forty years to put up with this crap before i
move on.

Take care
Sue

Guantanamo is a national disgrace. I can only hope our next President will shut it down permanently.

(1) The GITMO prisoners are not US citizens, so they are not protected under the US Constitution.

(2) The GITMO prisoners are not "prisoners of war", thus they are not protected under the Geneva Conventions.

(3) The GITMO prisoners are not subject to humanitarian inspections by the American or International Red Cross.

(4) Some how --- the reasoning escapes me --- the GITMO prisoners apparently are not protected by the United Nations Declaration of Universal Human Rights ... or maybe it just boils down to the fact that Dubya has a military force that dwarfs any military force that the UN can pull together.

Conclusion: Dubya has successfully carved out a legal netherworld where his human captives do not need to be treated like humans.

Before Dubya, the United States was the leader of the world in regard to the protection of human rights. Post-Dubya, post-Abu Graib, and post-GITMO, we are globally regarded as a human rights disgrace.

I think that's why Kafka's writing is such an institution in post-modern Western culture - in our value system, locking up individuals for no reason and giving them no chance to get out is the scariest scenario possible.

In other words, I can't think of anything that goes against the basic beliefs of Americans more than a situation like Gitmo. Allen has it right - every text that could possibly help these people has been subverted.

It's all very hard to comprehend, for me, how we got here.