For those readers, 'sans blog', who browse and lurk through sites and leave no trail of comments; this is also directed to you..denounce torture!
A little less than a week away June Torture Awareness month is set to begin but participating bloggers have already written plenty of highlighting and critical posts.
Here below is a fact sheet of some of the terms you have read in any of these posts. Italics and bold and questions added by yours truly. Thank you Matt Cowel from Roadside Attractions
for sending it to me.Who are the Guantanamo detainees?
Over 750 men from more than 40 countries have been held at Guantanamo since the first transfer of detainees in January, 2002. Some were detained by US forces engaged in battle in Afghanistan, but the majority were picked up elsewhere. Many were sold to the United States by Northern Alliance warlords and Pakistani authorities for $5,000 a head
. Others were transferred to Guantanamo after being detained in countries such as Thailand, Bosnia and Gambia. There are currently approximately 490 detainees in Guantanamo according to the Department of Defense, and approximately a third of the population is scheduled to be transferred to the custody of their home counties with a much smaller number scheduled for release. When the US government first transferred detainees to Guantanamo, they asserted that Guantanamo was beyond the reach of US and international law, creating a law free zone
. There have been numerous allegations of torture and inhuman treatment in Guantanamo including beatings, prolonged isolation and religious persecution.
(QUESTION: If the Northern Alliance got paid $5000 per person, I am suspicious of the fact that that was easy money for them. Knowing of their brutalities, what would you bet that there are plenty of innocents that have been sold?)
(QUESTION: Does it not make your hair stand up straight to see how purposely the US Government has circumvented being held accountable for anything? What about that pledge of allegiance
that sounds so honourable? Does it only apply to good little American citizens?What are Combatant Status Review Tribunals and Administrative Review Boards?
In June, 2004, the Supreme Court ruled in “Rasul v. Bush”
that detainees in Guantanamo did
have access to federal court. In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, the administration set up “Combatant Status Review Tribunals.” The purpose of the tribunals was to determine whether or not an individual was an “Enemy Combatant.” “Enemy Combatant” is not a term that previously existed in US or international law with a set definition that carries certain rights and restrictions.
It is a term that the US government began using in reference to detained persons alleged to have ties to terrorism to distinguish them from prisoners of war, who do have a defined status under the Geneva Conventions. Detainees had no legal representation and a federal court ruled that the process did not give adequate due process to detainees. That ruling is awaiting a decision from the appeals court.
(COMMENT: Shafiq Rasul was one of the "Tipton Three"
, chronicled in the upcoming film "The Road to Guantanamo"
(QUESTION: enemy combatant, another legality to get away with checks and balances?)Administrative Review Boards
(ARBs) are similar to a parole hearing except that the detainees facing ARBs have not been convicted of anything. The panel considers three factors: 1) Whether the person is charged with a crime (those facing trial by military commission are not eligible for an ARB); 2) Whether the detainee still poses a threat; and 3) Whether the detainee was found to have “continued intelligence value.” If the answer to all three questions is no, then the detainee may be transferred off of Guantanamo. Detainees currently slated for release or transfer were approved through the ARB process.What are Military Commissions
Pursuant to the President’s Military Order of November 2001, foreign detainees can be tried for alleged war crimes by military commission. The process is a system that is created and run exclusively by Executive branch of government who writes the laws, charges the detainees, chooses the panel that hears the case and has ultimate review of the panel’s decision.
For these and other reasons, Amnesty International has found the proceedings do not meet the most minimal
fair trials standards. Currently, only 10 out of the approximately 490 detainees have been charged and face trial by military commission. None have gone to trial and the Supreme Court is currently considering
the fairness of the proceedings.
(QUESTION: these particular military commissions are not even meeting the most minimal
fair trial standards? That is strong language. And that is also very disturbing.)
(QUESTION: how long will the Supreme Court be 'considering' this? While it is being 'considered', pondered, mulled over, people are still being tortured..tick tock tick tock people!) What is extraordinary rendition?
Some of the detainees were not brought to Guantanamo directly but instead rendered to a third country for detention and interrogation. Extraordinary rendition is the forcible extralegal transfer of a person to a country with dubious human rights record for the purpose of detention and interrogation
. Detainees in Guantanamo have been rendered to places like Egypt, Morocco and Jordan
before being taken back into US custody and sent to Guantanamo. They have reported beatings, electric shocks, and being cut with a razor.
(QUESTION: where does it end? Outsourcing torture because they do it so much better? What is the rationale for that? So the next time the US supposedly commends Egypt for their strides towards democracy, are you going to scoff like me? What about the bloggers that were arrested a while ago? How can 'a' government that participates, condones torture, critize another while they are using of their services in the meantime?)
Amnesty International believes that the US government should close the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay immediately. Those currently in custody should either be charged with a recognizable crime and tried in an established court or released unconditionally.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! Learn more and take action at http://denouncetorture.amnestyusa.org.