Another Guantánamo prisoner death highlights Democrats’ hypocrisy September 11, 2012
| Filed under: Politics, Rights and tagged with: Democrats, Glenn Greenwald, government, prison, war on terror
A detainee at Guantánamo was found dead in his cell on Saturday, according to camp officials. He is the ninth person to die at the camp since it was opened more than ten years ago. As former Gitmo guard Brandon Neely pointed out Monday, more detainees have died at the camp (nine) than have been convicted of wrongdoing by its military commissions (six). This is the fourth detainee who has died at the camp since Obama’s inauguration. Although the detainee’s identity has not been disclosed, a camp spokesman acknowledged that he “had not been charged and had not been designated for prosecution”. In other words, he has been kept by the US government in a cage for many years without any opportunity to contest the accusations against him, and had no hope of leaving the camp except by death.
Indeed, dying in due process-free captivity now appears to be the only way for many of these detainees to leave. The last person to leave the camp via death was a 48-year-old Afghan citizen, Awal Gul, who died in February 2011 of an apparent heart attack. Gul, the father of 18 children, was accused by the US of being a Taliban commander – a charge he vehemently denied because, as his lawyer put it, “he was disgusted by the Taliban’s growing penchant for corruption and abuse.” But the due process-free indefinite detention policy still in place at the camp meant that those conflicting claims were never resolved, and he died after more than nine years in captivity –thousands of miles from his family, in the middle of a foreign ocean – despite never having been convicted of anything.
In the hierarchy of evil, consigning someone who has been convicted of nothing to a cage year after year after year, until they die, is high up on the list. And in that regard, this latest episode demonstrates not only the ongoing travesty of the US’s war on terror policies, but also the dishonesty of the attempt to exonerate Obama for those policies.