A day that should live in infamy

January 12, 2012, is the 10th anniversary of the day when terrorism suspects were subjected to indefinite incarceration in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, generally in the absence of any charges or trial.

U.S. authorities admit to the detention of 779 detainees, at least 12 of whom were younger than 18 when detained. Eight died while in detention, six purportedly by suicide.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the detainees “had the right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention,” but by then over 500 of them had been transferred out of Guantanamo, according to an Amnesty International media briefing, 16 December 2011. Wonder why?

Most Americans have probably heard that detainees at Guantanamo were subjected to many forms of assault identified as torture in international law, plus what the military calls “soft torture”—for example, incessantly blasting the prisoners with loud rock songs such as (please pardon the shocking verbatim quote) “Fuck Your God.”

Think of waterboarding, hanging victims by their wrists for hours, terrifying them with vicious dogs. What would you want to do if someone did that to your friends, or family, or members of your community?

A boston.com article about President Obama on January 22, 2009, said that “He signed executive orders to shut down the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center within a year and to ban harsh interrogations…” The article also reported that Obama’s incoming director of national intelligence, Retired Admiral Dennis Blair, told Congress that the detention center is “a damaging symbol to the world [and] a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment and harmful to our national security.”

Good ideas, but the detention center still has more than 100 prisoners. Time for a change? This coming Wednesday, January 11, will be a National Day of Action to Close Guantanamo; there will be nonviolent actions across the country, with a major demonstration planned in Washington, DC. Please support these efforts in mind and heart if not in action.

For additional resources, see:

Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology

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4 Responses to A day that should live in infamy

  1. T.Paine says:

    here’s a link to another Guantanamo story about the miscarriage of justice published in the Sunday Times.

  2. Gold Dust Twin says:

    This thought came to me when I first woke up this morning: The scenes in the film are an example of sanctified CIA bullying carried to an excruciating extreme.

  3. Rose says:

    I find myself becoming more and more disappointed with international order the deeper I involve myself with history education. I have seen a pattern of politicians using peace as bait to attracted positive attention, but with no reason to actually pursue their claims. To me, that is an insult to the concept and is disrespectful to its meaning.

    A country looks good if it claims to be against the use of torture. I have recently been learning, however, that a claim hold very little honesty. America, for example, which according to a BBC global pole, 58% of Americans believe that torture shouldn’t be something that America does. However, America has been found inflicting water boarding on its prisoners, something truly horrific.

    To me, torture is the biggest cop out in getting something that we want. Instead of creating negotiations or even military strategies, a country chooses to put an entire countries fate into an individual. It is cruel to harm someone for information. I read part of a book called, “Shock Doctrine,” which, talks about the psychological acts of torture that America uses. They spoke heavily on feeding drugs to prisoners like acid so they would speak the truth.

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