Why Invent A New Form Of Justice?

My nephew was murdered on 9/11 in the World Trade Center with almost 3,000 others. Families like mine are still waiting for justice…13 years later.
Guantanamo opened 12 years ago to hold and try those responsible. But here we are, over a decade late, with military commissions formed specifically to carry out this charge.  Instead they have been stumbling along trying to invent a parallel form of justice, parallel to avoid the Constitution and the laws of the land, which have been used and tested in federal courts for 200 years.
Why invent a new form of justice? Guantanamo was set up to avoid the Constitution and international law, to avoid the fact that the Bush administration authorized kidnapping and torture of the men sent there, hiding them from principled Americans’ eyes.
Pandering to the politics of fear, Congress has barred Guantanamo prisoner transfers to federal courts. This must change.
And meanwhile, we wait in frustration and pain.
But we are no the only families waiting. Our pain is not unique, nor does it trump the pain of the Muslim families who wait for their fathers, brothers and sons languishing in Guantanamo. Many have been cleared for release, but don’t the families of even those self-professed as guilty deserve the knowledge that justice is being done?
The handful recently released are a paltry number compared to what is necessary – the complete and urgent closure of Guantanamo.
Although conditions there have improved in recent years, the advent of Col. John Bogden was Warden has seen that turned back, with genital searches, isolation and brutal forced-feedings of hunger strikers. I join the defense lawyers in calling for Bogden to be relieved of his position.
Is this American exceptionalism? Is Guantanamo’s message who we are?
It’s not what I learned growing up in America. This festering sore has killed the inspiration that once permeated the world, and turned allies against us.  It’s provided radicals everywhere with strong recruitment propaganda.
Guantanamo should now be called “Blowback.”
There is an inscription on an historic court building in New York that says, “Every law not based on wisdom is a menace to the state.”
This is true for the laws and edicts that set Guantanamo up and the restrictions Congress has placed on the transfer of prisoners. Both the laws and the place must be abolished.
Mr. Obama, when will we see real justice?  The recent release of a handful of prisoners has some saying closure is imminent.
As a family member of a victim murdered in 9/11, I reject congratulating this administration and ask…when will we see justice and the end of this shameful gulag?  Where is restitution for those released without charges?
Current prisoners could have been tried and judged fairly in federal courts long ago.  The prisoners are all Muslims, and Muslims are being targeted by drone strikes in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan, energizing those who say America is waging a religious war.
Isn’t it time we Americans resolve to close Guantanamo now and make amends to live peacefully with our neighbors on this small planet?

Statement by PT member, Valerie Lucznikowska, delivered at the demonstration held outside the White House on the 12th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo on January 11, 2014

 

Filed in: Guantanamo & Military Commissions, Home, Restoring Rule of Law, Rule of Law: Guantanamo and Civil Liberties, Valerie Lucznikowska

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