Thursday, February 16, 2006

UN calls for Guantanamo closure

UN human rights investigators have called for the immediate closure of the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.

A UN report on conditions in the Cuba camp says the US should try all inmates or free them "without further delay".

Some aspects of the treatment of the 500-strong camp population amount to torture, the UN team alleges.

The US has rejected the closure call, with White House spokesman Scott McClellan saying that the facility houses "dangerous terrorists".

US officials have dismissed most of the allegations as "largely without merit", saying the five investigators never actually visited Guantanamo Bay.

One of the five investigators responsible for the report, UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak, said the detention of inmates for years without charge amounted to arbitrary detention.

"Those persons either have to be released immediately or they should be brought to a proper and competent court and tried for the offences they are charged with," he told the BBC.

Read the whole article...

Yet again the US flouts international law and opinion, by subsequently rejecting the UN's report. The Pentagon's excuse is that the UN were given an opportunity to visit the camp and refused. The only problem with tthe US' offer was the stipulation that the inspectors would not be given access to the prisoners themselves. What??!! So what were they going to be shown? Were they proposing a tour of the grounds and the staff quarters?? Well, what were those inspectors thinking? They missed an opportunity to get a real insight into what goes on in Guantanamo.

While visiting and posting on various forums I have come across a mixture of views. The views that express support for Guantanamo are extremely misguided and led by the bias spin of the propaganda machine. They seem to ignore glaring obvious facts which

  • The very location of the camps - Guantanamo Bay - Jurisdictional Limbo. Why set up the camp there unless planning illegal actions? (ie: contravening the Geneva Convention and Human Rights Laws)
  • No charges against the overwhelming majority of the detainees.
  • The invention of a new term to describe these prisoners - 'illegal combatants' so once again international laws can be bypassed
  • The fact that these 'illegal combatants' are not even being told what they are being held for, to me, beggars belief. We are setting the scene for the breakdown of the justice system as we know it - the ushering in of totalitarianism in the name of fighting terror.


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