“I’m not a criminal, I’m not a terrorist,” said Joshua Brown, BC student, “and the idea of this place makes me scared. I don’t think I need to be a bad person to be frightened, and people who equate fear to guilt should read more Orwell. If the government can decide who is guilty and who deserves to go free without trial and without peers, then the people in this country should, as the freedom lovers they proclaim to be, be appalled.”
Brown is, of course, talking about the infamous and unconstitutional Guantanamo Bay, the American detention camp located on Cuban soil for those who have been accused of terrorism. Since 2002, America has officially used this detention camp as a way of imprisoning those who are considered too dangerous to be allowed in the country itself. It has since been repeatedly regaled as wholly unlawful, unconstitutional and hypocritical by international attorneys, world leaders and the general populace of the globe.
It is a terrifying place. Most recently the prisoners have begun a widespread hunger strike, refusing to eat in protest to the unethical treatment of their persons and religions, citing enhanced searches of their Qurans for contraband as the most immediate cause of upset.
Of the 166 total prisoners there, the military has released statements that 28 are on hunger strike and that 10 are subject to regular force-feeding in order to keep them alive.
4 have been hospitalized. Attorneys speaking on behalf of the prisoners openly claim that the official numbers are lies, figments from the American military, and that the majority of prisoners are involved.
It is not the first time that the Guantanamo detainees have gone on hunger strike, though never to such a widespread extent. It’s also not the first time that the nation has moved to shut down the facility.
Congress has tried and quite apparently failed. It was one of Obama’s greatest campaign promises, becoming as inseparable to him as the striking red and blue ads with the little “Yes we can!” slogans. He actually did sign a presidential decree stating that the bay must be closed, at most, one year after signing. That was 2008. He has since signed several documents that circumvent the closure, and today Guantanamo still stands.
Cuba itself doesn’t believe that America has legal grounds to stay there and, since the Cuban revolution, has adamantly claimed that America is violating international law by refusing to disband the lease.
Many of the prisoners have been cleared of charges. It has been proven that a significant number have simply been falsely accused. In fact, they have been all but set free. But there’s nowhere to put them. Congress refuses to budge on laws allowing them to move into America, and other countries will no longer take them.
It is likely that hardship will follow them for their entire lives because they have been accused of something they never did, when, and if, they are ever even allowed to leave the prison in the first place. That does not mean the freedom-loving people of America should abandon the innocent people they have enslaved and embittered.
To be quite honest, I’m quite surprised we haven’t figured that out by now.
This opinion does not represent the opinion of the Watchdog staff