Friday, July 31, 2009

Torturing Children...

Mohamed Jawad was ordered released from Guantanamo Prison today. You should know who this person is, because there are a great number of people around the world who do, and many of them understandably hate our country for the way we've treated him.

Jawad is an Afghan citizen, who was picked up by the Afghan military in 2003. After being told by his Afghan captors that, unless he confessed to throwing a hand grenade at US troops, he would be killed, and then his whole family would be killed, he confessed.

He was then given to US forces, who accepted this confession without question, and was shipped to Guantanamo Bay Prison, where he was then literally kept in a cage for the next 6 years (he's still there) and unquestionably tortured. (More details here.)

He was tortured, as the torture defenders say, because it was vital to get national security information from him. A 12 year old boy? Vital to the national security of the United States? This rationale is so ludicrous that it barely merits repeating, and yet it is repeated by people daily in the highest levels of our government.

He was finally ordered released today by a federal judge, who ruled that not only was there insufficient evidence to convict him, but there was insufficient evidence to even detain him, although the United States has in fact caged and tortured this boy for 6 years.

The saddest and most outrageous part of this habeas corpus hearing was when the Obama administration (that is not a typo; I did not mean to say Bush) actually argued that the court should rely upon the confession; a confession given by a 12 year old, under extreme duress, who was told that if he did not confess to this act, he would killed! And they would kill his mother, and father, and brothers and sisters too!

This is the confession that the Obama administration wanted to use to convince the judge that they could lock this boy away literally for the rest of his life, without another hearing, without a trial, without any sort of most basic legal protection that any civilized country on earth would give an adult defendant in a case with actual evidence.

If you are still operating on the assumption that the Obama administration is fundamentally different from the Bush administration on basic human rights, then you clearly have not been paying attention to what has happened since the election. The only difference is that Obama is claiming powers that Bush didn't dare to ask for. If this boy had an Obama "Hope" poster on the wall of his cage for inspiration and the hope that one day he would be freed, it should be torn down today.

It is imperative that we defend our civil rights, and those of others. It will not compromise our national security; in fact, our national security is compromised by our horrific treatment of others. And a nation that treats people in this way deserves no security at all.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this one, Pete. Actually, thank you for all of these... posts.