The injustice of Guantánamo Bay
If The Guardian is to be believed, some are being transferred from Camp X-Ray to Camp Six, ‘where inmates are locked in windowless cells with steel walls for 23 hours a day’. They sound like animals awaiting vivisection. They are force-fed when necessary, some have committed suicide, and ‘their sole contact with the outside world comes from yelling through the food slots of their cell doors’. The isolation endured by the Guantánamo prisoners is deemed to be ‘maddening’, with some now undergoing treatment in the mental health unit of the camp after suffering breakdowns.
These men have now been held for five years. No nation has persuaded the United States of the moral repugnance of Guantánamo, not even the United Kingdom, when the US Government arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned even British nationals as part of the ‘war on terror’. The possession of a British passport used to mean something. It demands ‘in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary’. The pleas of Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State fell on deaf ears.
The Constitution of the United States is conveniently codified, and emanates from the 18th-century English mind. It resonates with the rights of ordinary people to be protected from the acts of an overbearing, tyrannical government. The ‘land of the free’ is fully cognisant of clause 39 of Magna Carta, which states:
No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or outlawed or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.
In Guantánamo there is no trial by one’s peers, no Habeas Corpus, no presumption of innocence, and therefore no hope. If freedom is ‘the gift of God Almighty to each and every person in the world’, this barbarous inquisition must be terminated.