by Paul Craig Roberts
“Remember when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told the world that Guantanamo Prison held “the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth” and gave assurances that nevertheless “we’re treating these people as if the Geneva Convention applied?” The files on each prisoner, leaked by a US government whistleblower to Wikileaks and now available to the world, prove beyond all doubt that Rumsfeld was lying as was President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney when they repeated the lies.
The successor Obama administration in Washington, after the release of 607 of the “most dangerous men on earth” for lack of any evidence that represented any kind of danger at all, many after being tortured and abused, now claims that the remaining 172 are too dangerous to release, despite the lack of any evidence that would allow the government to try them.
Since the US government admits it was wrong in 78 percent of the cases, how do we know that the government is right about the remaining 22 percent? Astonishingly, the government is afraid to attempt to try more than 40 of the remaining prisoners even in its special kangaroo courts – Military Tribunals – set up specially for the purpose of trying people with secret, non-declared evidence. That leaves 132 to be held in prison for their lifetimes without any evidence ever being presented against them – not even show trial “evidence.” Even Joseph Stalin’s victims got a show trial.
The Guantanamo prisoners were a collection of the most unlikely “dangerous people in the world.” How dangerous is an 89-year old villager suffering from senile dementia or a 14-year-old boy who had been kidnapped? Many prisoners were not even suspected of being al Qaeda, Taliban, or anything other than a possible source of information. One British citizen was held for years simply because he had been captured and imprisoned by the Taliban, and the Americans thought he could tell them about Taliban interrogation techniques. A cameraman for the Arab News Service, Al Jazeera, was held in order to question him about the news service, which is based in Qatar, an American puppet state. Most of the prisoners were simply people kidnapped by warlords and sold to the gullible Americans for the bounty that the US paid for “terrorists.”
Obviously, President Bush’s assurance (September 6, 2006) that “we have in place a rigorous process to ensure those held at Guantanamo Bay belong at Guantanamo” was just another lie. It turns out that the only evidence that the Americans had of “dangerous men” were the inventions conjured up by men under torture or by men producing “evidence” against others in exchange for their own release. Having violated all known laws in order to hold the prisoners, the US government was desperate to produce evidence that the prisoners were dangerous men.
Yemeni prisoner, Yasim Basardah, invented information against 135 of the Guantanamo prisoners. Abu Zubaydah, described by the Americans as the third-ranking leader of al Qaeda, turned out to be a lowly car pool driver, but nevertheless produced “evidence” against 100 other prisoners after being water-boarded 83 times. Even the prison camp commander realized that the “evidence” was bogus.
The sordid truth of Guantanamo is that the US government needed examples to justify the massive “terrorist threat” that it declared with alert set on orange, one step below red, as a permanent fixture of American life. Like Stalin, earlier, who needed examples of “enemies of the people,” the US government conducted “street sweeps,” which was the way the Soviet secret police produced “enemies of the people.” The Soviet police would just go out in the streets and arrest everyone there. The Americans took people out of Taliban prisons, university libraries, and paid bounties for kidnapped victims. These people became “the most dangerous men on earth.”
The lawlessness and brutality associated with Guantanamo were pointless. The US government destroyed the reputation of the United States and the rule of law for nothing. It is a terrible experience to have years of one’s life stolen and to be tortured into false confession, but the price that Americans will pay will be much higher.
The Obama regime has endorsed the Bush regime’s violation of the US Constitution. It has made indefinite detention in concentration camps an enduring American institution. Habeas corpus, due process, and the right to an attorney are now dead-letter legal rights for anyone accused with or without evidence of being a “suspect.” The rule of law has been murdered. The routine abuse of citizens by unaccountable powers – such as air travelers forced by Transportation Safety Administration to submit to radioactive scans or endure intrusive gropes – is seeping into all aspects of American life. The latest manifestation is the practice of state police downloading all information from motorists’ cell phones when they are stopped for traffic violations.
A government based on fear of terrorism, whose executive claims power not limited by the Constitution or Congress for the duration of an open-ended “war on terror,” will create a state of tyranny. Only a highly aroused people who refuse to submit can escape the coming tyranny.”