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As Long as Guantanamo Exists, Trump Has a Torture Chamber Ready to Use
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=50738"><span class="small">Maha Hilal, In These Times</span></a>   
Tuesday, 07 May 2019 13:08

Hilal writes: "There are few things that could give the Guantanamo Bay prison a more horrific reputation for violence than it already has."

Detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (photo: John Moore/Getty Images)
Detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

As Long as Guantanamo Exists, Trump Has a Torture Chamber Ready to Use

By Maha Hilal, In These Times

07 May 19

The administration has discussed warehousing refugee children at the notorious prison.

espite nearly 18 years of near constant controversy — up to and including an order by the Obama administration to close it — the prison looks more likely to be expanded than closed.

There are few things that could give the Guantanamo Bay prison a more horrific reputation for violence than it already has.

From indefinitely detaining a Muslim population (many for years after being cleared for release) to charging Omar Khadr (a child detained and tortured at the age of 15) with war crimes, there are few surprises when it comes to the lengths to which the U.S. government will go to inflict violence on vulnerable communities.

Yet, according to one rumor, the Trump administration has just delivered a shock: Numerous reports coming out of the administration suggest that this notorious prison has been considered as a site to imprison migrant children.

For more cynical observers, this proposal for asylum seekers is no surprise at all. After all, it was roughly a year ago that the Trump administration adopted a policy of separating families, and has since detained thousands of children in remote desert facilities. In many cases those separations weren’t temporary but permanent, given the fact that the administration lost tabs on many of those children, or deported their parents.

The legality of the administration’s immigration detention policies has been fiercely debated. But Guantanamo has long been a site where the lawlessness maintained by the state remains, as the proverb says, out of sight, out of mind.

In fact, the prison has been used to house asylum seekers before. In 1994, Haitian children were held at the prison in “Camp Nine” — a site reserved exclusively for them. It was “catastrophic,” TIME reports. “Older children staged hunger strikes to protest their incarceration. ‘Houseparents’ who lived in the camps described the children as deeply traumatized, often screaming and sobbing as they lay awake at night. Reports of abuse proliferated.”

The government has dismissed similar complaints about its present camps, sugar-coating the conditions under which children have been held. They get pizza and ice cream and soccer fields, spokespeople say.

For all these supposed comforts,  numerous asylum-seeking children have died in U.S. custody with zero accountability, suggesting that the range of possible outcomes for migrant children includes detention at best, and death at worst. Being detained at Guantanamo, a military prison notorious for indefinite detention and torture, may collapse this bleak range even further — and even more insidiously, make it exponentially more difficult to track what happens to these children.

For now, the reports suggest that the administration has held off on transferring children there, reportedly over concerns about the optics of detaining children near “terror suspects.”

But the danger of Guantanamo isn’t just what happens to the people inside the prison — it’s how their imprisonment there appears to people outside the prison. Today, migrant children might be housed next to “terror suspects.” But, like so many Muslim prisoners who were summarily abducted and imprisoned without any evidence of connection to terrorism, it may be only a matter of time before others imprisoned there — even children seeking asylum — ­­become presumed “terror suspects” themselves. After all, prison bars don’t just prevent movement. They also lock away narratives that counter the U.S. government’s. 

That may help explain the notorious prison’s extraordinary resilience. Despite nearly 18 years of near constant controversy — up to and including an order by the Obama administration to close it — the prison looks more likely to be expanded than closed.

Over his two years in office, Trump has signed an executive order to reverse Obama’s, advocated for the return of torture,  hampered a detainee art program after a successful traveling exhibit humanized the prisoners, and eliminated the Special Envoy for the closure of Guantanamo. And while former prisoners had few resources to help them restart their lives even before Trump, any lucky enough to be released now are all but guaranteed to be sent to third-party countries, with no support system to help rebuild their lives.

What Guantanamo’s continued operation demonstrates is that if its legacy of imprisonment without charge, indefinite detention, and torture is not confronted directly, this and future administrations will only dream up ever more sinister uses for it.

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0 # lorenbliss 2019-05-08 00:21
What more can one expect from a nation founded by a "revolution" -- actually a violent coup -- the sole purpose of which was the preservation of slavery?

(See for example "Slave Nation," Alfred, Ruth and Steven Blumrosen; Sourcebooks: 2005.)

Wake up, people: the U.S. is the de facto Fourth Reich -- which (though it was founded before there was such a name) -- is precisely the Manifest Evil its slavemaster owners intended it to be from the very beginning.

Thus the Trump/Pence Regime is literally the final fulfillment of the founders' true intent.

In fact, that is the only significance of the Regime: the final, ultimate and everlasting triumph of the Confederate States of America, the eternal victory of slavery and the unspeakably malevolent bigotry and sadism that has always been and always be the sole defining trait of the United States, its global empire and its deliberate policies of ecocide and genocide.

Abetted by a population so irremediably stupid it still believes in "American democracy," the biggest most apocalyptic Big Lie in all human history, USian tyranny is forever – that is, until it exterminates our species and destroys our planet.
+1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-08 07:10
Trump is a supporter of torture. He campaigned with this policy. He does not seem to know or care that torture is illegal under several US laws as well as international laws. This is an issue on which Trump should be impeached and criminally indicted.

Obama may have pretended he opposed torture just like Bush did, but both of them presided over a government that used torture on a massive scale.

Guantamamo is just one of very many CIA run torture camps. It is probably the least criminal since it is known about a little bit. Many others are totally unknown. Some reports have said that the CIA runs as many as a hundred of these torture camps.

The CIA has been specializing in torture since the 1950s. It recruited ex-Nazi torture specialists to help with its research on torture.

It is not just the CIA. The State Department also have its torture programs. Dan Mitrione, a friend of GHW Bush, was the State Department's "professor of torture." He trained torturers all over Latin America while working for the State Department's Office of Public Safety.

The last paragraph of the article above is correct. We need full exposure of the current torture programs of the US government. We need the major media to run stories on US torture every day.