Friday, February 17, 2006

Rumsfeld Sees No Problem With Holding Gitmo Detainees Forever

From Voice of America:

Mr. Rumsfeld says the Guantanamo Bay detention Center is being run as well as possible and any allegations of torture or abuse of prisoners are being handled through appropriate military procedures. Almost 500 prisoners in the war on terror have been held without trial at the base.

Rumsfeld says calls to close the center by critics and some human rights groups are unrealistic and would open the gates to terrorists. He says at least 15 prisoners who have been released have returned to the battlefield where they have been killed or captured. He also disagreed with the remark by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the United States will have to close the center "sooner or later."

"We have several hundred terrorists, bad people. If they went back out on the field they would try to kill Americans," said Mr. Rumsfeld. "That is just a fact. To close that place and pretend that there is no problem just is not realistic. Second, he has never been to Guantanamo Bay."

Someone explain this logic to me:

Fifteen former Gitmo detainees out of somewhat over 500 detainees were subsequently captured or killed "on the battlefield."

How does that make those 15 former detainees "terrorists"? What act of terrorism did they commit? They were fighting U.S. soldiers in their home countries, not in the United States. Maybe the experience of being arbitrarily detained and tortured in Guantanamo made them more eager to fight Americans "on the battlefield" in their own countries.

And regardless, how does 15 former Gitmo detainees found on the battlefield justify holding the rest of the 500-plus detainees at Guantanamo?

I suppose one could make an argument that the Gitmo detainees have become a danger to U.S. national security even if they were not so before their detention, because of the unjust and illegal treatment they have received from the Bush administration. But that is hardly a moral argument; in fact, it's rather like a tyrannical leader who keeps an iron control over his people because he knows they hate him enough to kill him.

And how can over 500 people who have never been charged with or tried for a crime be referred to as "terrorists, bad people"? If they're terrorists, why has the government refused to say what, if any, evidence it has against them; why haven't any of them been told the specific acts of terrorism they committed to have ended up in that hellhole?

And here's what I most need to have explained to me: How is it that Donald Rumsfeld, or anyone else in the Bush administration, can continue to insist that the United States is the world leader in human rights and the global model for democracy, while simultaneously claiming the "right" to imprison hundreds of people indefinitely, with no legal rights and no protections against physical and psychological mistreatment?

1 comment:

cspanjunky said...

The problem with Democracy is, We need more Democracy.

The problem with C-SPAN is, We need more C-SPAN.

To: U.S. Congress and the FCC

We, the undersigned, while believing in the importance of a Free Market and Freedom of Speech, also believe in the importance of The Public Airwaves to be used as mandated by the FCC "...In the Public Interest, Necessity, and Convenience." We believe the use of The Public Airwaves is crucial to spread knowledge, culture, and civics. We therefore write to petition you to consider major changes in the allocation of the Broadcast Spectrum.

The Public Airwaves are a Vast Toxic Wasteland.
Congress needs to hold hearing on THE STATE OF THE AIRWAVES.
They would find:

1) That the Broadcast and Cable companies have not lived up to using the Public Airwaves, as the FCC mandated "... in the spirit of Public Interest, Necessity, and Convenience."

2) That the FCC and Congress have " given away, rent free", the Public Airwaves.

3) That the Broadcast and Cable companies have "... made so much money doing IT'S worst, IT can't afford to do better."

In the 1990's the FCC, with much support from the Congress, auctioned off portions of the Broadcast Spectrum. One portion of the Spectrum that was being auctioned would potentially reach 16 million customers (citizens). Almost as many people as the population of the state of Texas.

That particular portion sold for $3.00. Three dollars! When former FCC chairman Reed was asked to comment, he said "...I wish I had three dollars".

This cavalier policy and stewardship of the Public Airwaves has been good for the Broadcast and Cable companies, and their stock holders. And absolutely hideous for Civics, Public Affairs, and Democracy.

Before 2009, the FCC will give away more of the Public Airwaves, worth between 80-100 billion dollars. Once again, the Public will be outside, looking in, as the Broadcast Spectrum goes to the highest campaign contributors.

What does the Public receive from the License holders, for their use of the Broadcast Spectrum? Inexpensive Cable and Satellite packages? Intellectually stimulating programs broadcast into our homes at no charge? Choices and Diversity? Event coverage and programming with redeemable qualities? Or is it "...500 channels and still there's nothing worth watching".

There are many Independent, Grassroots, and Localized ways to use the Broadcast Spectrum. But on the National level, the Country needs more Public affairs, more Civics. The unedited, undefiled paradigm C-SPAN has perfected, is the only thing We can all agree on. It promotes Democracy and Participation. Not even the corporate media conglomerates can be against Democracy.

We therefore call on the Congress, and the FCC, to hold hearings on the benefits of more C-SPAN. And to take steps to move forward with the endeavor of creating more C-SPAN Companion Networks. When there is more than enough Broadcast Spectrum to dedicate to Civics, Culture, History and Democracy, We should not allow greed to get in the way of the Public Interest, Necessity and Convenience.

Put the Public back in the Public Airwaves.