Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Too many wrongs don't make a right, just one dizzy.

I've pasted a Truthout translation of Gaudemar's essay as it appeared in Liberation. This is a sobering reminder that our government is digging holes on too many fronts to count. I almost forgot about this horror of illegal detention. It is depressing to realize that Abramoff's troubles like all the other crap W's methods and madness have brought us to contemplate have only diverted our attention from bad news with more bad news. 

Oh to be diverted by the truth that we have stopped spinning and corrected these wrongs! 

    By Antoine de Gaudemar in Libération Thursday 12 January 2006 

    Four years after its creation, Guantánamo prison camp remains faithful to its sinister reputation. More than five hundred men of about thirty different nationalities are still rotting there, and not all of them were made prisoner in 2002 in Afghanistan during the American military intervention in that country. Some of them were arrested in the course of illegal kidnappings in third countries. This scandal is only the first in a long list: as of today only nine detainees have been charged; not one has been tried. In spite of a decision by the United States Supreme Court - which has still not ruled on the legality of the military tribunals headquartered on the Cuban base - arbitrary action and abusive treatment continue to reign there: although a few prisoners have been able to meet their lawyers, they denounce the inanity of procedures that change constantly. Neither the families, nor NGOs - with the exception of the Red Cross - can visit the precincts where hunger strikes are on the increase. This opacity makes us fear the worst about the conditions of detention inside the camp, fears confirmed by the new testimonies of torture Amnesty International published yesterday. The only glimmer of light in this nightmare is the drip drop of detainee releases after months and months of imprisonment, most of the time for nothing. Along with the tortures practiced in Iraqi jails and secret CIA prisons, Guantánamo symbolizes what is most hateful about the George Bush regime: the desire to be above its own laws as well as international law and a total sense of impunity. Because the fight against terrorism does not require that we use the same weapons it does, the very existence of Guantánamo is a most serious defeat for democracy. 

Translation: t r u t h o u t French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher.

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