The Guantanamo Scandal

The International Herald Tribune, May 16, 2003
http://www.iht.com/
Friday, May 16, 2003

For a year and a half, the United States has held hundreds of people captured during the war in Afghanistan as prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, without access to family, lawyers or any semblance of due process. Another small group was shipped home recently, and there are reports that military trials for some prisoners may start soon. But that does not alter the fact that the detentions insult some of America’s most cherished ideals and harm the national interest.

Information about U.S. human rights violations and related issues is included in Religion News Blog for the following reasons:

Apologetics Index deals with cults, sects, and related issues – including religious freedom and other human rights.

America’s goverment frequently accuses countries (including, for example, France and Germany) that protect their citizens against destructive and/or fraudulent cults of violating ‘human rights.’ In addition, the USA even threathens those countries with economic boycotts should they not accept America’s views on these issues.

This makes the USA the only country in the world that attempts to strong-arm other countries into accepting its views on the cults it supports – a primary reason why this issue is addressed by the publishers of Apologetics Index.

Ironically, while America chides other countries for alleged human righs violations, Washington consistently and deliberately refuses to address America’s dismal record of human rights violations. The Bible condemns the use of such differing measures.

et2 –>As Christians, the publishers of Apologetic Index believe that they (and other Christians) should address human rights issues.

The publishers of Apologetics Index agree with those who believe that America’s attitude toward international law – including its fight against the International Criminal Court, its use of torture, and its inconsistent application of the Geneva Conventions – presents a serious threat to the international community.

et4 –>As members of Amnesty International, the publishers of Apologetics Index are outspoken critics of America’s manifold human rights violations. They encourage their fellow Christians to address these issues, keeping in mind the Bible’s two great commandments.


U.S. HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Last month, Secretary of State Colin Powell advised Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that he was encountering growing complaints from the countries whose citizens are among the prisoners. The cynical response by Rumsfeld – that the problem is the slowness of the many intelligence agencies that need to interrogate prisoners – only makes things worse.

The extraordinary attacks of Sept. 11 clearly demanded extraordinary measures. All reports, moreover, indicate that the prisoners have not been physically mistreated. But the United States vowed after Sept. 11 that the terrorists would not be allowed to drag Americans down to their level. Meanwhile, the Department of Defense has held more than 600 men, some as young as 13, of 42 nationalities – including citizens of our closest allies – in a concentration camp. They have been declared “unlawful combatants” in order to deny them the protection of the Geneva conventions. They have been incarcerated on a naval base on Cuba, over which Cuba has no control, to put them beyond the reach of the law. The military set no limit on their detention, and it declared that if they were brought to trial, the proceedings would be before special military tribunals, which can act in secret, and their only appeal would be to the president – who stripped them of their rights in the first place.

No doubt some of the prisoners are members or leaders of Al Qaeda. Some may have been in the Taliban; some may have done terrible things. Many were probably just caught up in the tribal chaos of Afghanistan. Whoever they are, their treatment should be a demonstration of America’s commitment to justice, not the blot on its honor that Guantánamo has become. The Guantánamo prisoners need immediate access to their governments, families and lawyers and deserve some tribunal in which to contest their confinement. They deserve real, open justice without further delays or excuses.

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