Sunday, June 04, 2006

Further Demands to close Guantanamo Bay

[as Torture Awareness Month proceeds ...]

Spain and Italy are two countries that sport a long and bleak history when it comes to torture and prisoner abuse. They know well of what they speak. They also know how counter-productive it can be to the cause for which it is often employed. Which is why it is significant that prominent magistrates from those two countries, among others, have called out the Bush administration regarding its policies of indefinite, secret detentions at Guantanamo Bay.

Following somewhat on the heels of Lord Goldsmith's public denouncement of the Guantanamo Bay detention center comes news that, at a counterterrorism conference in Italy, Spain's "most prominent investigative magistrate" has requested that the Bush administration close the notorious base. Baltasar Garzón said that,
A model like Guantánamo is an insult to countries that respect laws. It delegitimizes us. It is a place that needs to disappear immediately.

I have as much interest as you do in wanting the problem of terrorism to be resolved. But if we continue along these lines, we are on the road to committing crimes against humanity. And it will move from the people who perpetrated the crimes to the people who authorized them.
This not-so-veiled slight of the Bush adminstration and its horrendous record of abrogating international law and convention appears to miss the crucial point -- or perphaps Garzón is being diplomatic -- that the White House has already moved to becoming "the people who authorize" crime. If Guantanamo demonstrates anything, it is this.

Italy's own investigative magistrate, Armando Spataro, the man who opened a criminal investigation into a case of rendition allegedly perpetrated CIA agents, added his criticism to Garzón's when he said,
We in Italy knew fascism for many years. We know it's a great mistake to fight terrorism in this way, the way of Guantánamo, the way of renditions. It's extremely damaging to all our efforts to integrate our Muslim communities who see these practices as unjust.
That's putting the situation rather mildly, I'd say.


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