Guantánamo – America’s shame

Posted by admin | September 12, 2012 1

Adnan Latif

Yesterday, Adnan Latif – the Face of Indefinite Detention – Died a sad and lonely death at Guantánamo, America’s illegal prison kept out of reach of American territory and legal overview. Latif, a 32-year-old from Yemen, had been held at Guantánamo without charge since January 2002. He had spent almost a third of his life at Guantánamo, where he repeatedly went on hunger strike and once slashed his wrist and hurled the blood at his visiting lawyer. He also received some mental health treatment at the detainee hospital, according to his lawyers and court records. The government accused him of training with the Taliban in Afghanistan but he had never been charged and the military said there were no plans to prosecute him. Indeed he had been scheduled for release since 2009 but America has a policy of not repatriating any prisoners to the Yemen, where he came from.

Guantánamo was obtained from newly “Independent” Cuba after the Spanish – American war in 1898 which allowed temporary American control of Cuba and, following their purchase from Spain, indefinite colonial authority over Puerto RicoGuam, and the Philippines.

The shame which is Guantánamo is what happens when a nation with a reputation for morality and justice acts out of impulse and fear. The terrorist suspects became guinea pigs in a vast experiment of methods to crack the human soul. And for years the obvious immorality and hypocrisy of  Guantánamo has given America’s enemies a stunning propaganda coup which will continue to resonate long after this rat hole has been closed.

Here is the statement from The Center for Constitutional Rights on the shabby death of Adnan Latif.

CCR Blames Courts and Obama for Tragedy

“September 11, 2012, New York – The Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement in response to the Defense Department’s announcement today of the death of Adnan Latif at Guantanamo—the ninth man to die since the prison opened, and the fourth on President Obama’s watch.

“Adnan Latif is the human face of indefinite detention at Guantánamo, a policy President Obama now owns. Mr. Latif, HELD WITHOUT CHARGE OR TRIAL, died a tragic and personal death—alone in a cell, thousands of miles from home, more than a decade after he was abducted and brought to Guantánamo Bay. Like other men, Mr. Latif had been on hunger strike for years to protest his innocence. His protests were in vain.

Adnan Latif was indeed innocent of any wrongdoing that would have justified his detention. President Obama’s Justice Department knew he was innocent but appealed a district court order directing his release rather than send him home to Yemen. The president has imposed a moratorium on all transfers to Yemen, which is why more than half of the remaining detainees are Yemenis.

Adnan Latif was held indefinitely and ultimately for life because of his Yemeni citizenship, not his conduct.

When the D.C. Circuit overturned the order for Adnan Latif’s release, a strong dissenting opinion criticized the majority for not just “moving the goal posts, [but calling] the game in the government’s favor.” At the end of the day, the U.S. Supreme Court remained locked away in its ivory tower, ignoring an innocent man’s plea and its own promise of “meaningful review.” They all share in the responsibility for this innocent man’s fate.

Adnan Latif’s death is a stark reminder that locking up someone for more than a decade with no foreseeable end has irreparable human consequences. More men will die needlessly unless President Obama finally closes the prison. Adnan Latif’s death must be a clarion call to resume transfers and end this dark period.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for the last 10 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that nearly all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts. In addition, CCR has been working through diplomatic channels to resettle men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.”

11 September 2012


September 11, 2012

“Adnan spent more than ten years in Guantánamo — nearly a third of his life — but, like most Guantánamo detainees, he was never charged with a crime or accused of violating any law.

Adnan was slightly built and gentle, a husband and a father. He was a talented poet, and devoutly religious. The Administration cleared him for transfer back in 2009, but he was a Yemeni, and the Obama Administration will not send Yemenis home — even if, like Adnan, they have been cleared for transfer by a unanimous decision of all responsible agencies after a comprehensive review of the evidence.

Because Adnan was from Yemen, he remained imprisoned for three more years after being cleared — not for anything he supposedly did, but simply because of where he came from.

Adnan spent more than ten years in a foreign land separated from his family, his loved ones, and his home. He was charged with no crimes. He was cleared for transfer because the government did not believe his detention was necessary for our national security.

Yet he could see no end to his confinement.

However he died, Adnan’s death is a reminder of the injustice of Guantánamo, and the urgency of closing the prison. May this unnecessary tragedy spur the government to release the detainees it does not intend to prosecute.

David Remes (Contact: 202-669-6508/ )

Below is an extract from “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” This is a documentary film, directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, telling the story of Guantánamo (and including sections on extraordinary rendition and secret prisons) with a particular focus on how the Bush administration turned its back on domestic and international laws, how prisoners were rounded up in Afghanistan and Pakistan without adequate screening (and often for bounty payments), and why some of these men may have been in Afghanistan or Pakistan for reasons unconnected with militancy or terrorism (as missionaries or humanitarian aid workers, for example).

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One Response

  • The USA has no shame. It is a rogue state which has abandoned the hard won right of habeas corpus even for its own citizens, never mind a Yemeni.

    The buck stops with Obama. What a git.