Editorial: Perpetuating Guantánamo’s Travesty (“It is long past time to shut down a prison that has deservedly brought America international scorn.”)
There is a bill circulating by power elite Senate War Hawks, notably Kelly Ayote (NH), Lindsey Graham (SC) and, of course, what war hawk bill would be complete without the John Hancock of John McCain. Notwithstanding the fact that in almost 15 years of Gitmo’s existence most of the population remains imprisoned and uncharged, these people feel a bill is needed now because Obama might release some prisoners at some point. Forget the fact that if Obama were intent upon releasing prisoners, he would veto the bill. War Hawks gotta war Hawk and such.
here is my obligatory 9/11, terrorists are more dangerous to the USA now statement, for “Fair and balanced” blogging.
For McCain, a former prisoner of war, this position on Gitmo is new, and supposedly related to recent events in Paris and Yemen. Under a year and a half ago he read a letter from 38 retired GEnerals on the floor of hte Senate: “Guantánamo is a betrayal of American values,” the former military officers wrote. “The prison is a symbol of torture and justice delayed. More than a decade after it opened, Guantánamo remains a recruiting poster for terrorists, which makes us all less safe.” Everyone always stops short of calling Gitmo detentions “war crimes.” It’s a fair debate to have.
Nor, according to the New York Times, is recidivism a large concern for Gitmo releasees:
[T]he recidivism rate of former detainees has dropped considerably. Out of the 88 prisoners who have been released since January 2009, six are known to have become involved with terrorist or insurgent groups, and one is suspected of having done so, a 6.1 percent recidivism rate. During the Bush years, more than 33 percent of the 532 detainees released were confirmed or suspected to have rejoined the fight, according to statistics released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence last September. The Obama administration is looking for countries willing to take 54 prisoners who have been cleared for release by a team of American national security agencies and is evaluating how many of the remaining detainees could be safely freed. Only 10 of the prisoners currently at Guantánamo, which was established in January 2002, have been prosecuted; seven of them are facing charges in military commissions, and three have been convicted and are either serving sentences or awaiting sentencing.
It is long past time for American officials to do the right thing: prosecute suspected terrorists in American courtrooms and shut down a wartime prison that has deservedly brought the United States international scorn. Besides moral and strategic considerations, shutting Guantánamo would make fiscal sense. Currently, the United States spends $3 million a year to hold each detainee.
The alternative, as articulated by Mr. [Senator Lindsey] Graham, is a travesty. “This is a war without end,” he told reporters. “You don’t release prisoners until the war is over. I would argue the war is in many ways just starting.”
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[Ventura County, California criminal defense lawyer and State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist Jay Leiderman provides defense of cases involving oppression leveled against activists and hacktivists. He does all types of cases involving the digital revolution, civil rights, political dissent, emerging tech issues in the courts, piracy, Search and seizure issues, freedom on the internet, fighting against unjust systems, governmental and prosecutorial overreach, medical marijuana, and overall injustice. Jay fights for the underdog. Jay is a lifetime member of the NORML Legal Committee. Jay is pro-privacy for hte individual and believes in transparency for hte state and large corporations. He is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), The National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG), The California Public Defender’s Association (CPDA) and is also a lifetime member of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ). He is admitted to practice in state and federal courts.]