Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sad anniversary; sad capitulation

The U.S. prison at Guantanamo enters its 10th year today. Witness Against Torture will be protesting at the White House and the Department of Justice. There are still people in this country who condemn indefinite imprisonment and abuse without trial or recourse.

Adam Server tracks civil rights, human rights and criminal justice at a blog at the American Prospect. On Friday, he concluded that President Obama has "surrendered".

The president's signing statement on the ban on Defense Department funds [in the Defense Authorization Bill] for trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees suggests he won't be taking the route offered by the ACLU and defying the ban by using funds from other agencies to facilitate federal criminal trials. ...

It sounds to me like the White House just gave up on closing Gitmo and trying the 9/11 conspirators in civilian court. Anytime this administration makes vague promises to "fight" anything, it means they've already given up. They could have fought this by fighting it. They had the last two years to "fight" this. They curled up in a fetal position and let themselves get pummeled to death, all before being unable to prevent a Democratic Congress from severely constraining the president's ability to permanently incapacitate terrorists.

Not with a bang, but a whimper.

My emphasis.

Remember the artist Shepard Fairey, he of the iconic red, white and blue 2008 Obama portrait? These days he's making art to remind us of the evil that is Guantanamo and all the other law-free lockups our rulers persist in creating. These posters are available on eBay as a benefit for Witness Against Torture.


Darlene said...

I am finally easing back into blogging.

I didn't realize that this was the anniversary of Guatanamo. I was under the impression that Obama was unable to get Congress to okay holding the trials here and that was the reason the base has not been closed. There is no country that will accept the prisoners.

janinsanfran said...

Unhappily, the Obama administration seems to have given up on closing Guantanamo. They are likely to create some sort of mickey mouse "procedure" that enables the executive to hold, indefinitely, prisoners who have never had any kind of legal determination of "guilt". This is the behavior of an authoritarian empire; my Revolutionary-era ancestors would be horrified because they knew all too well that such claims to exercise arbitrary authority tended to only grow wider over time.

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