Follow Barack Obama prior and during his tenure as the 44th President of the United States. Read about my personal observations along with every day facts as they happen. This blog will only submit factual information about the first black President, now in his 2nd term of office.


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Is Guantanamo Really Bad?

Monday, May 4, 2009

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Is Guantanamo Really Bad?

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Guantanamo Bay Prison is a United States prison located in the south east part of Cuba. It's part of the larger Guantanamo Bay Naval Base which has been there for over 100 years.  In fact, it is the oldest US Navy Base outside of the United States. Ironically, we don't even have official relations with Cuba.

The prison has been operating since around 2002 as a detention camp for those who are labeled as enemy combatants. Really, it's more like unlawful enemy combatants but that just doesn't sound right. This is a tricky word game that makes these detainees have no legal status neither as an enemy soldier or civilian but stuck somewhere in the middle. This is partially the reason why the US is legally allowed to detain these dangerous criminals as long as they want and technically employ techniques that many would call torture such as water boarding. These detainees have suspended legal rights, that is they no longer have habeas corpus.

In a documentary Roger Moore tried to bring people to this military base to get health care treatment for US citizens. He was obviously denied access.

President Obama has declared that the prison will be shut down within a year but there's still a lot of debate over what will happen exactly to the detainees. Will they return home and let free? Will we prosecute them in US jails? Or will countries abroad take them?

This prison, often termed "gitmo", will probably go down in the history books although it's unclear how exactly. The use of torture has recently been revealed by the CIA notes that President Obama gave to the public recently. Very chilling indeed.

This entire thing poses many difficult moral dilemmas. When can we say that a nation is sufficiently endangered that it can suspend the rights of people without due process including its own citizens? Can a nation ever do?  Do you side with the ideals or the physical survival? The Supreme Court  had two cases, the first was Ex Parte Quirin that supported the juridical decision and rights of the US military tribunal in 1942. The second, more recent case in 2004, was Hamdi vs Rumsfeld (does anyone remember that guy?) where the Supreme Court ruled that US citizens who are detained has the right to hold his case before an impartial judge.


Senate GOP Leader argues against closing Guantanamo
April 21, 2009, NY Times
Congress is back from the Easter recess and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, used his opening speech this morning to voice concerns about the Obama administration’s plans to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Obama's Closing of Guantanamo is Raising Concerns with Foreign Leaders who Supported It
January 24, 2009 LA Times
President Obama's decision to close the much-reviled detention center at Guantanamo Bay has drawn uneasy attention, both in Pakistan and in Afghanistan, to government entanglement in the Bush administration's harsh treatment of terror suspects.

Wikipedia Page for Guantanamo Prison

Argument on a Blog on Why It Should Stay Open

A Study by Brookings on the Guantanamo Population

Human Rights Watch Page on Guantanamo

UC Davis' Center for Human Rights in the Americas: The Guantánamo Testimonials Project


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