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Guantánamo Bay legacy of failed “War on Terror”

28th Jan 2022
Guantánamo Bay legacy of failed “War on Terror”

Hooded, shackled, and wearing orange jumpsuits are the notorious symbols of some 779 Muslims, arbitrarily detained as trophies of the failed “War on Terror”.

The ignominious internment camp was built by the US as a military prison within its Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, deliberately outside its official jurisdiction. President Joe Biden, like his predecessor Barack Obama, had claimed he wanted to close the discredited facility. Instead, as it dishonourably marks its 20th anniversary, it is to extend it with a new $4m courtroom, according to the New York Times.

The camp was linked with what was termed ‘extraordinary rendition,’ often described as the ‘state-sponsored forcible abduction’ of so-called ‘enemy combatants’ to another jurisdiction and transfer to a third state.

The purpose of the US-led program was to circumvent the country’s laws on interrogation, detention, extradition and torture, though not all ended up being transported elsewhere. The barbaric practice was started under the administration of George W Bush following the invasion of Afghanistan, who has since been declared the worst-ever US President.

In effect, Guantánamo is not just symbolic of illegal torture methods practised out of sight as if they didn’t exist. Instead, it is symbolic of arbitrary detention and the reinterpretation of laws of war applied without human rights or accountability.

It was a novel framework for asymmetrical conflict under the guise of combating terrorism, regardless of how extreme the execution was. Despite its replacement by so-called targeted killings and state assassinations, which the UK has shamefully supported, it adds to the list of brutal oppression that the world’s strongest power needs to purge.

Not only should the internment camp be closed to end another scurrilous chapter in US history, but Guantánamo should be opened up as a museum, like the worst excesses of World War Two in Europe have been, as a continuing reminder to never carry out such atrocities again.

The stain ought to hang around the necks of the American Government like Vietnam and other inhumane transgressions committed.

Photo: Protest in front of the White House on the 17th anniversary of Guantanamo Bay, January 11, 2019 (Credit: Victoria Pickering/Flickr)

 

Guantánamo ‘gulag of our times’, says former illegal detainee

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