10 June 2005


Irene Khan of Amnesty International compares Guantánamo Bay to a gulag.
In the US, almost a year after the Supreme Court decided that detainees in Guantánamo should have access to judicial review, not one single case from among the 500 or so detained has reached the courts because of stonewalling by the Administration.

Under this agenda some people are above the law and others are clearly outside it.

Guantánamo has become the gulag our times, entrenching the notion that people can be detained without any recourse to the law.

If Guantánamo evokes images of Soviet repression, "ghost detainees" --- or the incommunicado detention of unregistered detainees --- bring back the practice of "disappearances" so popular with Latin American dictators in the past.

According to US official sources there could be over 100 ghost detainees held by the US.

Donald Rumsfeld disagrees with this characterization.
no force in the world has done more to liberate people that they have never met than the men and women of the United States military. Indeed, that's why the recent allegation that the U.S. military is running a gulag at Guantánamo Bay is so reprehensible. Most would define a gulag as where the Soviet Union kept millions in forced labor concentration camps, or I suppose some might say that -- where Saddam Hussein mutilated and murdered untold numbers because they held views unacceptable to his regime. To compare the United States and Guantánamo Bay to such atrocities cannot be excused.

Free societies depend on oversight, and they welcome informed criticism, particularly on human rights issues. But those who make such outlandish charges lose any claim to objectivity or seriousness. The Washington Post, to its credit, rejected the comparison between Guantánamo and a gulag in a recent editorial.

On this blog, I myself have referred to the US constructing a gulag archipelago. But in deference to our Defense Secretary's objections, I will turn to the wisdom of Fafblog's Medium Lobster.
Stringing together Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram Airbase creates the Freedom Archipelago.
"Freedom Archipelago." It has a nice ring to it.

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