Posted by on January 09, 2012 in Blog

Last Saturday The New York Times ran an informative Op-Ed written by Lakhdar Boumediene, a former Guantanamo detainee held without trial at the prison camp for seven years. In 2002 Boumediene, a Bosnian citizen working as the Red Crescent Society’s director of humanitarian aid for Bosnian children, was accused by U.S. intelligence officers of plotting to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo. The accusation prompted an investigation by a Bosnian high court which acquitted Boumediene after no evidence supporting the allegations was found. Despite the court’s ruling, U.S. intelligence officers kidnapped Boumediene and shipped him to Guantánamo Bay. Boumediene was detained until a U.S. court granted his freedom in 2009. Today, eighty-seven out of 171 prisoners at Guantánamo have been cleared for release by a joint review conducted by the CIA, Department of Homeland Security and FBI; however, they remain in captivity. In his article, Boumediene laments the situation of the eighty-seven men still in custody, one of which was brought in with him:

Some of them are from countries like Syria or China — where they would face torture if sent home — or Yemen, which the United States considers unstable. And so they sit as captives, with no end in sight — not because they are dangerous, not because they attacked America, but because the stigma of Guantánamo means they have no place to go, and America will not give a home to even one of them.

Wednesday will mark ten years since Guantanamo was opened. With so much damage done to our civil liberties over the past ten years, it is hard to imagine that things could get any worse. But for Americans, Guantanamo set a dangerous precedent that the government need not apologize for any measure it rationalizes in defense of the state. That precedent is coming full circle and has already helped create a political culture which produced last year’s National Defense Authorization Act containing provisions sanctioning the indefinite detainment of Americans. If you don’t think Boumediene’s story applies to you, think again. 

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