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Few Americans ever took in the vastness of the prison outsourcing system the administration of George W. Bush set up from Afghanistan to Iraq, Thailand to Poland, the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. In those years, I began referring to that global network of prisons as our... Read More
What the Paintings by Its Prisoners Tell Us About Our Humanity and Theirs
We spent the day at a beach in Brooklyn. Skyscrapers floated in the distance and my toddler kept handing me cigarette filters she had dug out of the sand. When we got home, I checked my email. I had been sent a picture of a very different beach: deserted, framed by distant headlands with unsullied... Read More
Will Washington Never Learn?
Eight years ago, when I wrote a book on the first days of Guantanamo, The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo’s First 100 Days, I assumed that Gitmo would prove a grim anomaly in our history. Today, it seems as if that “detention facility” will have a far longer life than I ever imagined and that it,... Read More
Karen Greenberg first arrived at TomDispatch in January 2005 in tandem with defense attorney Joshua Dratel. Their book The Torture Papers was just being published and they were asking questions. Thirty-seven of them, to be exact, all pointed, all uncomfortable, all directed at then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, all focused on the Bush administration’s torture... Read More
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The Story That Never Was
In the spring of 2016, I asked a student of mine to do me a favor and figure out which day would be the 100th before Barack Obama’s presidency ended. October 12th, he reported back, and then asked me the obvious question: Why in the world did I want to know? The answer was simple.... Read More
Here’s a little fact of our age: Rear Admiral Peter Clark is the 16th commander of America’s notorious prison complex at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, opened in January 2002, and it seems he won’t be the last. As the New York Times recently reported, the Trump administration is already readying a draft executive order that would... Read More
With only nine months to go, in the fashion of modern presidents, Barack Obama is alreadyplanning his post-presidential library, museum, and foundation complex. Such institutions only seem to grow more opulent and imperial as the years and administrations pass. Obama’s will reportedly leave the $300 million raised for George W. Bush’s version of the same... Read More
What Really Stands in the Way of Closing Guantánamo
Can you believe it? We’re in the last year of the presidency of the man who, on his first day in the Oval Office, swore that he would close Guantánamo, and yet it and everything it represents remains part of our all-American world. So many years later, you can still read news reports on the... Read More
Over at FireDogLake, Jeff Kaye has a good summary of the unrest at Guantanamo, where the US government is trying to keep a lid on the protests and hunger strikes roiling the Cuban headquarters of our global experiment in illegal offshore detention. “Keeping a lid on” as in forced feeding, night raids, and keeping reporters... Read More
Everybody breaks under torture. From Winston Smith to Jason Bourne. Torture would work on me, for example. If somebody starts crushing my fingertips with a pair of pliers, I’m going to tell them my ATM PIN, Batman’s secret identity, whatever. But if you asked me where Bin Laden was, then I'm not the only person... Read More
January 2012 marks the 10th melancholy anniversary of the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay; if polling is correct, it will also mark the end of Newt Gingrich’s presidential ambitions, as the immense, gas-filled Hindenburg of his ego approaches its Lakehurst in South Carolina.The two intersect in remarkable fashion. Gingrich was key to igniting the... Read More
The latest Wikileaks revelations relating to the Guantanamo prison tell one a great deal about the biases of the mainstream media covering the story. Driving into the office this morning I heard NPR talk about recidivism, that 42 out of the more than 700 inmates who had been released had returned to some form of... Read More
It's interesting that the pro-torture lobby didn't push for more enhanced interrogation of those 10 Russian agents. Everybody seemed to be in a rush to dismiss those folks--especially that cute girl--as harmless dingbats. Doubtless, the Obama administration soft-pedalled the case so it wouldn't throw a spanner into the U.S.-Russia reset. Also, of course, Russia was... Read More
America’s torture dilemma boils down to three letters: CAT. They stand for the "United Nations Convention Against Torture", a treaty that the United States ratified and made part of U.S. law under Statute 2340. Under U.S. law, the United States is obligated to prosecute its torturers. The door is also open for other nations to... Read More
I wrote an article Uyghurs Sold Out by the US for Asia Times Online. It describes how the Republican counterattack on President Obama’s Guantanamo policy torpedoed the simultaneous release of 17 Uyghur detainees at Guantanamo to destinations in the United States and Europe. The release was closer than most people realize. There are indications that... Read More
And What About the 17 Uighurs at Guantanamo? Dana Rohrabacher is an ardently anti-Chinese Communist California Republican congressman. He’s also the ranking Republican member of the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight. Mr. Rohrabacher used that bully pulpit to call attention to the plight of the Uighurs in western China. He also... Read More
LONDON — Two cheers to President Barack Obama for ordering the closure of the US prison at Guantanamo, Cuba. But why is it to be done over a year? Justice delayed is justice denied. Obama also ordered CIA's network of secret, or "black," prisons closed — we hope for good — and the use of... Read More
Let Them Die or Let Them Go
I have a word of advice I would like to offer Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon chieftains who currently preside over the 200 or more hunger-strikers at Guantanamo Bay, 20 of whom are near death. For God's sake, let them die. What more could you possibly want from them? They've already provided you with the... Read More
Injustice as State Policy
The prison facility at Guantanamo Bay is the brightest star in the Bush firmament. It towers over the political landscape like a monument to human cruelty. That's why the administration chose to slap it up in full view of the world. It's their way of announcing that the fundamental rules of the game have changed.... Read More
PastClassics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?