5
Jun
2005

Guantanamo: Our Own Devil's Island?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Wayne Smith or Tiana Gierke
Center for International Policy
(202) 232 -3317
Fax (202) 232-3440
tiana@ciponline.org
//www.ciponline.org

Abuses at Guantanamo and the Administrations Misrepresentations

Washington D.C., June 3, 2005 -

Today the Center for International Policy (CIP) is releasing a report entitled "Guantanamo: Our Own Devil's Island?" It is based on a conference held in April dealing with the abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo and the fact that in turning the base into a detention center, the U.S. is in flagrant violation of the international treaty on which its presence at Guantanamo is based. Participants in the conference were Wayne Smith of Center for International Policy, Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Wendy Patten of Human Rights Watch, and Robert Muse of Muse & Associates.

CIP also wishes to take sharp issue with statements over the past few days by senior members of the Bush administration to the effect that there have been no abuses at Guantanamo and that any reports to the contrary are "ridiculous". "Referring to an Amnesty International report dated May 25 of "atrocious human rights violations" at Guantanamo and other U.S. detention centers, Vice President Cheney on May 30, for example, said the Amnesty accusations were "lies."

Detainees at Guantanamo, the vice president went on, have been "well treated, treated humanely and decently".What we are doing down there has, I think, been done perfectly appropriately."

But this statement is as false as the vice president's flat assertion on August 26 of 2002 that: "We now know that Saddam Hussein has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons."

And President Bush on May 31 dismissed the Amnesty report as "absurd" and said it was based largely on the stories of "people who hate America," i.e., the detainees.

But reports of abuses come not just from detainees and former detainees, they come also from the eye-witness accounts of members of the International Red Cross and FBI agents who were on the base (and surely FBI agents do not "hate America"). In other words, the president's statement was also false. As false as his insistence before he invaded Iraq that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction ready to fire. Or as false as his statement on July 14, 2003, that we had given Hussein "a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a responsible request, we decided to remove him from power."

This, of course, was an outright falsehood, as President Bush had to have known as he spoke those words. The inspectors had been allowed back in and wanted to press ahead with their work. But Bush at the time insisted the threat was so imminent that we didn't have time to wait for inspections, and so we went to war.

General Richard B. Meyers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also got into the act. The Amnesty report, he said on May 29, was "absolutely irresponsible. We struggle with how to handle [the detainees], he said, but we've always handled them humanely and with the dignity they should be accorded."

Always? The evidence indicates otherwise, as is made clear in our just-issued IPR described above.

If you wish to receive a hard copy of "Guantanamo: Our Own Devil's Island?" please contact us at cubaintern@ciponline.org or 1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 801, Washington, DC 20036. Provide a return address so we can mail the report and a check or money order for $2.50. Free downloads are available at //ciponline.org/cuba/IPR_Guantanamo.pdf


Informant: Walter Lippman


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