After the tragic events of September 11, 2001 , the United States government has imprisoned many suspected Al Qaeda terrorists and members of Afghanistan ’s Taliban regime at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba. The purpose of this movement was to interrogate these suspects and find out whatever information they could gather to stop future terrorist attacks and crack down on other known accomplices. Since 9/11, the inhumane treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is one of the most pressing problems that have emerged in the war on terror. The escalation of problems began when Guantanamo opened in 2002.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved special interrogation methods that were meant to force the detainee to reveal secret intelligence which is imperative in preventing attacks on U. S. soil. The methods included putting hoods on prisoners while chaining them excessively, stripping detainees naked while being shackled ,and exposing them to excessive humiliation. With the cruel torture of detainees exposed to the media, Guantanamo Bay was subjected to intense criticism by human rights activists, pacifists, and congressional legislators for mistreating prisoners.
The maltreatment of these detainees should be addressed because the United States government is mandated to respect prisoners’ rights under the Constitution. Representative Louie Gohmert from Texas introduced the bill which transports detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Washington , D. C. where the United States Supreme Court will be able to effectively manageand hold detainees. This proposal best solves the problem of inhumane treatment because by granting detainees their constitutional rights, they are treated fairly under the law and not subjected to unnecessary torturers.
By transporting these prisoners to U. S. soil, they are placed in a more secure and safe environment not intimidated by torture. H. R. 6615 will address the human rights violation and unlawful treatment of prisoners by providing shelter on Supreme Court building grounds including adequate amount of food and water provided by the guards until their trial. It will also provide more oversight for the United States Supreme Court to avoid torture and closely monitor actions of prisoners. This is not costly to the United States government because there is already an existing site to house the prisoners.
Although Congress is controlled by Democrats, the approval of this policy will require bi-partisan support in order for the bill to pass. Currently, it is still being evaluated and revised by the Committee on Armed Services. The Guantanamo Bay Detention Center has been operated by a U. S. military task force in the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. It has a total of three camps in the base: Camp Delta , Camp Iguana , and Camp X-Ray . On December 2, 2002 , Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved special interrogation methods that were “aimed at breaking down the silent detainee”.
They were used specifically on Mohamed Qahtani, the alleged 20th hijacker in the 9/11 attacks. Methods included forcing a detainee to wear women’s underwear on the head, threatened prisoners with military working dogs, chained excessively and placing hoods on them, being held on leashes, or in painful and sexually humiliating positions. According to the Washington Post, these same interrogation techniques were also used in the Abu Ghraib prison which indicates that the United States government had been using these abusive methods in Guantanamo Bay several months before invading Iraq .
In December of 2005, Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act which prohibited inhumane treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay . The problem with this act was that federal courts were ordered to strip Habeas Corpus petitions by prisoners, allow the Central Intelligence Agency ( CIA ) to bypass this act and freely torture detainees, and put trials in the hands of military tribunals. Only military interrogators were restrained in implementing torture and interrogation, and trials held by military tribunals greatly limited the detainee’s defense ability to bring in evidence and appeal their ruling to federal courts.
Some may believe, just as Rumsfield has said, that Guantanamo holds the worst of the worst and those who are all detainees were at one point planning to attack US soil. This is mainly false because there have been numerous reports that only a small percentage of the detainees have any link, whatsoever, to Alqueda or any other terrorist group. Take Sgt. Erik Saar for example, a soldier who spent three months in the interrogation rooms at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. “I think the harm we are doing there far outweighs the good, and I believe it’s inconsistent with American values,” says Saar. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that it’s the moral antithesis of what we want to stand for as a country. ” Saar volunteered for Guantanamo Bay in 2002. He was a U. S. Army linguist, an expert in Arabic, with a top-secret security clearance. He was assigned to translate during interrogations. The prisoners, about 600 in all, were mostly from the battlefields of Afghanistan. And Saar couldn’t wait to get at them after what the administration said: the men were “among the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth. ” With that in mind, Saar went to work, but he was surprised by what he found.
How many prisoners did he think were the worst of the worst – real terrorists? “At best, I would say there were a few dozen,” says Saar. “A few dozen [out of 600]. ” Who were the rest of the guys? “Some of them were conscripts who actually were forced to fight for the Taliban, so actually had taken up arms against us, but had little or no choice in the matter,” says Saar. “Some of them were individuals who were picked up by the Northern Alliance, and we have no idea why they were there, and we didn’t know exactly what their connections were to terrorism. However they got there, Saar and the rest of Guantanamo’s intelligence personnel were told that the captives were not prisoners of war, and therefore, were not protected by the Geneva Convention. “Your training in intelligence had told you what about the Geneva Conventions? ” asks a reporter. “That they were never to be violated,” says Saar. “As a matter of fact, the training for interrogators themselves, their entire coursework falls under the umbrella of you never violate the Geneva Conventions. “When asked,”If the rules of the Geneva Convention did not apply, what rules did apply? “I don’t think anybody knew that,” said Saar. And so, Saar said, some U. S. military intelligence personnel used cruelty, and even bizarre sexual tactics against the prisoners. Since the opening of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the use of certain interrogation tactics against detainees which include the notorious waterboarding, upside down hanging, stripping, electric shocks, and excessive force causing prisoners to become weaker and less resistant to the demands of the interrogators.
It was not until the media coverage of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that the general public became aware of these interrogation tactics incognizant that these tactics were already being used in Guantanamo Bay long before the U. S. invasion of Iraq . Undoubtedly, military investigators and interrogators deemed these tactics as aggressive and creative, and fall outside the category of torture. These tactics were said to be general and standard procedure for interrogators.
Major General Geoffrey Miller, who commanded the detention facility at Guantanamo at the time was reprimanded by higher military command for his involvement in mistreatments of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay , but later he was exonerated of the charges. There have also been many allegations by the FBI that military as well as hired private interrogators had mistreated detainees. Investigators described instances such as threats by military interrogators to kill detainees and hurt their families if they refuse to cooperate and the use of duct tape to silence detainees.
Still, military commanders were persistent in their positions that these interrogation methods were humane and reasonable, adhering to the interrogation tactics outlined in the Army’s field manual. Recently, Congressional Democrats have been upset that Miller and other military interrogators were not held accountable for prisoner abuses at Guantanamo Bay . Some may say that closing Gitmo would be a problem due to relocation. This should, in fact, be one of the least of our worries. The US can subject those who have plead innocence to a fair trial first.
Those who are found innocent, which will be a large number of detainees, can return to their mainland. Meanwhile, those found guilty should be sent to prison and serve a fair punishment. Torture-free. It should not be a surprise that the United States military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been holding prisoners from the invasion of Afghanistan and the war on terror since early 2002 There are over 520 prisoners from many countries still being held at Guantanamo Bay and the United States government has maintained that the detainees have either fought alongside the Taliban during the U.
S. invasion of Afghanistan or have direct links to Al Qaeda. Between 2005 and 2006, all 3 branches of the United States government tackled over issues regarding the status and treatment of detainees. With that being said, Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 which became controversial among congressmen and human rights advocates. The act prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and requires military interrogators to follow the guidelines of the United States Field Manual for Human Intelligence Collector Operations.
Although the act states that there is a prohibition of inhuman treatment, the DTA prohibits detainees in Guantanamo Bay from applying for a writ of Habeas Corpus, that is, a person’s right to seek relief from unlawful detention. In addition, the accused cannot fully defend himself as there are limits to what evidence can be brought in and there are no appeals for the defendant. Trials are in the hands of military tribunals which rule in favor of the prosecution the majority of the time, making defendants sometimes wrongfully accused for their crimes.
In any case, civilians are increasingly being taken over into Guantanamo as suspected terrorists without strong evidence, as is the case of Abassin Sayed. He is from Afghanistan and a local taxi-driver and was captured and taken by American soldiers without Miranda rights or warrants. He described his detention at Guantanamo : “It was the act of an animal to treat a human being like that”. The fact is that not much is known about the imprisoned in Guantanamo and what crimes, if any they have committed. According to U. S. ntelligence, dozens of prisoners are farmers, taxi drivers, laborers, and shoemakers. In reality, the Detainee Treatment Act does not really have any power in stopping unnecessary torture by the United States government. The International Committee of the Red Cross believes that many prisoners are suffering mental deterioration as a result of maltreatments in prison. Effects of mental deterioration can sometimes lead to prisoners giving false testimonies or information which are considered detrimental to the U. S. military.
The causes of these psychiatric disorders are rooted in interrogators’ coercive interrogation techniques which then can lead to the mental disorders of the detainee. Seven years after the 9/11 attacks that shook our nation, the Bush Administration and the Pentagon are trying to prosecute six individuals who were said to be suspected conspirators of the plotted terrorist attacks, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a close aide to Bin Laden. Just recently, the driver of Osama bin Laden was convicted by a military jury in Guantanamo Bay and sentenced to 5 ? years imprisonment.
With all the fear-mongering and false alarms ofHomeland Security and other intelligence agencies, President Bush is trying to portray his image as “fighting the bad guys and keeping us safe” in the last months of his presidency by bringing justice to these six 9/11 suspects and attempt to establish his credibility on National Security and safety in our country. Since the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center has taken a lot of criticism from human rights organizations and Congressional Democrats, President Bush wants to make certain that these suspects will be punished according to U.
S. law and to reassure the public that Gitmo has been fair in its rulings. President Bush is trying to diffuse world criticisms of U. S. handling of Guantanamo residents by expediting trials of detainees and allowing them due process of law. Many human rights organizations including Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and those in Congress are working hard to solve the ongoing problem which is the violation of human rights at Guantanamo Bay .
Some have advocated closing the detention center, prominently Senator Harkin, Democrat from Iowa , who proposed the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility Closure Act of 2007. This proposal was primarily opting for the closure of Guantanamo Bay . Further details like prisoner transfer and trials were not well substantiated. That subdued enthusiasm among some legislators. Legislative action must be impeccably introduced now to guarantee the human rights of prisoners especially those detained at Guantanamo Bay . Unless this is done immediately, a great majority of inmates will simply be detained without trial for the foreseeable future.