Guantanamo Prisoners to be Held "Indefinitely"

January 1, 2011

In a December 26 interview with CNN, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted that many of the 174 prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay will be held without trial "indefinitely" and that the Guantanamo prison itself will remain open for the forseeable future.

According to Gibbs, "There are prohibitions legislatively on the transfer of some of the prisoners that are there into some part of this country, some would be tried in federal courts as we've seen done in the past, some would be tried in military commissions, likely spending the rest of their lives in a maximum security prison that nobody, including terrorists, have ever escaped from and some regrettably will have to be indefinitely detained, I say regrettably not because it's a bad thing necessarily for them in terms of the fact that they're very dangerous people and we have to make sure that even if we can't prosecute them, we're not putting them back out on the battlefield."

In addition, an executive order currently being prepared would institute "prolonged detention" of some prisoners who would be held in Guantanamo or other prisons without being put on trial. All along Obama has relied on increased "executive powers" established under the Bush administration to declare anyone an "enemy belligerent" and then trample on his/her rights in the name of "fighting terrorism." From the beginning, Obama's policy of working to overcome the U.S. government's growing isolation over its program of rendition by promising to "close Guantanamo" has been a smokescreen and a part of continuing that very same program.

The Obama administration's arbitrary detention of the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay violates both international law and the U.S. constitution. Amongst other things, the prisoners have been detained for years on end without charge and denied the right to habeas corpus. (The right of habeas corpus is the right to judicial review of detention; since the Magna Carta of 1215 this right has been considered the cornerstone of western law protecting people from arbitrary arrest, disappearance and indefinite detention without charge.)

In 2001, the U.S. government began kidnapping prisoners and detaining them at the Guantanamo prison – many of the detainees have been incarcerated there for as long as 8 years. The U.S. has violated their most elementary human and legal rights including by the widespread use of torture. Unknown numbers have been "disappeared."

In addition to the nearly 200 prisoners at Guantanamo, the U.S. has imprisoned tens of thousands of people since starting its "war on terrorism" – in Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and dozens of other countries to which the C.I.A. has secretly kidnapped people in order to torture them.

This fascist, arbitrary imprisonment, brutalizing, torturing and murder shows that it is U.S. imperialism which is the real international terrorist. U.S. imperialism refuses to be restrained either by international law or the most elementary demands of humanity and democracy. Its assertion is that its military might gives it the right to be judge, jury and executioner of the entire human race and to commit any crimes against the people.

This fascism must be stopped!