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June 13, 2005


Guantánamo Update

So what's been going on in Guantánamo lately? Well, human rights lawyers poking around down there have determined that there could be as many as 6 detainees who were minors at the time of their incarceration. "One lawyer said that his client, a Saudi of Chadian descent, was not yet 15 when he was captured and has told him that he was beaten regularly in his early days at Guantánamo, hanged by his wrists for hours at a time and that an interrogator pressed a burning cigarette into his arm."

But can we be held accountable for how we treat minors in captivity? Or can we even be expected to know how old our detainees are? "They don't come with birth certificates," said the chief public affairs officer at the camp. Military authorities say they released all the minors they were holding, three of them, in January 2004. Officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross think these three were ages 12 to 14 at the time of their release.

Let's look at some tactics used on one detainee, 14 at time of capture, that he reported to his lawyer: "He describes being shackled close to the floor in an interrogation room for hours with music blaring and lights in his face. He also said he was shown a room with pictures of naked women and adult videos and told he could have access if he cooperated. His description fits the account of former guards who described such a room and said it was nicknamed 'the love shack.'"

Offering porn to pre-pubescent boys! It's an American tradition.

Lucky for us, we don't have to feel uncomfortable or guilty about how we're treating our detainees, because they are all bad people. Or teenagers, rather. That's what Cheney tells us today in an interview: "The important thing here to understand is that the people that are at Guantánamo are bad people. I mean, these are terrorists for the most part. These are people that were captured in the battlefield of Afghanistan or rounded up as part of the al-Qaida network."

Some Republican Senators have been calling for the closing of Guantánamo, including Chuck Hagel, who said yesterday that the US was "losing the image war around the world."

"We do need some kind of a facility to hold these people. But this can't be indefinite. This can't be a situation where we hold them forever and ever and ever until they die of old age," Mr Hagel told CNN.

Which could be a really long time for some of them.

categories: Politics, War and Security
posted by amy at 1:16 PM | #

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