The sooner they close Guantanamo, the better..

This yesterday from Reuters, reporting from London:

Abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has worsened sharply since President Barack Obama took office as prison guards “get their kicks in” before the camp is closed, according to a lawyer who represents detainees.

Abuses began to pick up in December after Obama was elected, human rights lawyer Ahmed Ghappour told Reuters. He cited beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-forcefeeding detainees who are on hunger strike.

The Pentagon said on Monday that it had received renewed reports of prisoner abuse during a recent review of conditions at Guantanamo, but had concluded that all prisoners were being kept in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

“According to my clients, there has been a ramping up in abuse since President Obama was inaugurated,” said Ghappour, a British-American lawyer with Reprieve, a legal charity that represents 31 detainees at Guantanamo.

“If one was to use one’s imagination, (one) could say that these traumatized, and for lack of a better word barbaric, guards were just basically trying to get their kicks in right now for fear that they won’t be able to later,” he said.

“Certainly in my experience there have been many, many more reported incidents of abuse since the inauguration,” added Ghappour, who has visited Guantanamo six times since late September and based his comments on his own observations and conversations with both prisoners and guards.

He stressed the mistreatment did not appear to be directed from above, but was an initiative undertaken by frustrated U.S. army and navy jailers on the ground. It did not seem to be a reaction against the election of Obama, a Democrat who has pledged to close the prison camp within a year, but rather a realization that there was little time remaining before the last 241 detainees, all Muslim, are released.

“It’s ‘hey, let’s have our fun while we can,'” said Ghappour, who helped secure the release this week of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident freed from Guantanamo Bay after more than four years in detention without trial or charge. ..

Read this entire article…

New Attorney General Eric Holder just returned from a visit to Guantanamo, saying he saw “nothing to support allegations by a human rights lawyer that abuses by guards had increased since President Barack Obama’s inauguration in January”, but saying that he remains determined to close it.

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2 thoughts on “The sooner they close Guantanamo, the better..

  1. We saw this yesterday, when the very first comment on the Think Fast thread at TP, was a troll trying to rub our nose in this very story. It was making some kind of claim that Obama was responsible personally for the increase in violence. I went back to look, and they deleted the comment with the link. I looked in my history and this is the same story.

    I made the comment that under Bush they were afraid to report the abuse.
    Certainly, under Bush, no one was asking prisoners about treatment, and guards were reluctant to implicate their coworkers.

    “…a realization that there was little time remaining before the last 241 detainees, all Muslim, are released.”

    I was under the impression these detainees would transfer to military facilities within the US and there would be real hearings.
    Why don’t they identify these guards and reassign them, plus get them some therapy?

  2. Since President Obama is in charge now, it is his responsibility to clean the joint up. I can understand (just barely) that it may take a bit to figure out the right way to handle what will be done with the detainees in the long term but short term is easy. Get the thugs out of there and run the place openly and decently.

    That much he has to do and quickly.

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