Posted Under: Afghanistan,Criminal Justice,Obama,Terrorism
We were all so glad to hear Obama’s announcement that he would shut down Guantanamo. We all thought that this would be the beginning of the end of torture, holding prisoners without charge, and extraordinary rendition, but as we have positive news from Guantanamo, hitting the media here with the release of Binyam Mohammed, a British Resident, something rather underhand seems to be going on in Afghanistan. Obama, it seems, is not only defending keeping open the prison for “enemy combatants” at Bagram, but is going further by giving it more funding to the tune of sixty million bucks, enabling the US government to hold over a thousand more detainees at the site.
The battle for justice for those people locked up in Guantanamo has been hard-fought, but this new announcement about Bagram would suggest that rather than closing it down because he agrees with the arguments against it, Obama was bowing to media pressure. Of course, we shouldn’t be expecting honesty from the US government, who still use tactics of torture and extraordinary rendition to secret prisons around the world, but one wonders why they are able to be so brazen about the further funding of other prisons in which people are being held without any legal rights of appeal, hearing, or any possibility of release.
We should not be letting Obama play some swapshop game in which he pays off the left by closing down Guantanamo while appeasing the right by continuing the unjust and unacceptable oppression of prisoners. The closure of Guantanamo should be a matter of principle rather than popular support, and this news, just a month into the presidency, would suggest that the use of so-called principles in Obama’s election campaign were no more than a means to the popular support that he values far more highly.