Guantanamo disgrace

“No question,” President Bush said June 14, “Guantanamo sends, you know, a signal to some of our friends — provides an excuse, for example, to say, ‘The United States is not upholding the values that they’re trying to encourage other countries to adhere to.’”

No kidding.

In the Bush administration’s view, at Guantanamo, international law, and even U.S. law, can be thrown out the window. Prohibitions against torture? Right to know what you are charged with, and a speedy trial? Forget about it.

Bush went on to say that Guantanamo will not be closed, because people there are just “too darned dangerous.” In this administration’s twisted view, the detainees, many of them seized in random “sweeps” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, are not entitled to any judicial process whatsoever. It’s perfectly OK to keep these human beings in captivity and abuse them as long as George W. Bush says so.

The United Nations, Human Rights Watch and many others concerned with human rights have all called for shutting down Guantanamo.

Of the hundreds of people held on that stolen piece of Cuban territory, only 10 have been charged with anything since the detention camp was set up four years ago. It is widely agreed that many if not most of the prisoners have no real connection with terrorism. These people have been snatched up from their home countries, locked up for years in a faraway land, tortured physically and mentally and given no hope of ever being released. It is hard to imagine the profound despair that such unimaginable treatment must provoke.

It is no surprise that, on June 10, three detainees committed suicide. What other method of escape did they have?

U.S. officials compounded their callous inhumanity by brushing off the suicides as “a good PR move.”

This criminal prison camp should be shut down immediately. The detainees should either be charged with specific crimes and given prompt access to lawyers and judicial process, or they should be immediately released and compensated for the years taken away from them and the abuse they have suffered. Those responsible — including President Bush — must be held accountable for their crimes against humanity.