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Debate: Guantanamo Bay detention center

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====Yes==== ====Yes====
-*'''Guantanamo Bay deters terrorists with the possibility that they will be imprisoned there.''' This coupled with the lack of a trial adds to the fear of the place and thus denounces terrorism. What is a deterrent and why is it necessary? A deterrent is something which persuades someone not to act in a certain way. Similar to the accumulation of nuclear missiles actually deterring a war between large nations, a deterrent can be created around something deemed morally wrong (a prison which may/may not breech human rights) and yet help the greatest number of people and is, thus, justifiable. The whole basis of terrorism is formed upon an ideology and stems from indoctrination. If there is a seed of doubt then it is likely that the person in question will not commit so called "acts of terror". This is supported by President Bush's quote below +*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo detainees are not being tortured| Guantanamo detainees are not being tortured]]'''
-*'''Holding terrorists and extracting information is vital to the war on terror.''' Firstly it must be regarded that any important gains in intelligence are not likely to be passed to the public but instead the CIA and the seeming "lack of success" yielded through Guantanamo can never be argued due to this point. The recent successes on the war on terror were recounted by President Bush 29months after September 11th: ''"Over the last 29 months, many terrorists have learned the meaning of justice. Nearly two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed. The terrorists are on the run, with good reason to fear what the night might bring." Similarly the Pentagon says the prison still serves a "vital purpose" in the war against terrorism.'' +*'''[[Argument: Conditions at Guantanamo are very good for detainees| Conditions at Guantanamo are very good for detainees]]''' - Prisoner conditions at Guantanamo have actually improved substantially in President Bush's second term (04-08). This incremental change is largely due to the negative attention surrounding Guantanamo. It means that it may no longer be necessary to close down Guantanamo. In general, such opportunities for positive reform should be considered before closure.
 +*'''Terrorists do not deserve luxury treatment.''' Many believe that due to the psychological separation between terrorists and the rest of society, whose doctrines they threaten, and evident pathological and intolerable nature of their actions they should not be treated the same as other citizens. To do so would be to justify their existence and coupling their crimes with those of robbery. Surely attempted mass murder and religious infanticide is grounds for treating detainees differently. Providing their is sufficient evidence that these inmates are terrorists and do pose an immediate threat to society then Guantanamo is not only justified but recommended.
-*'''Guantanamo Bay helps disrupt terrorist groups.''' Putting an important section in that group in prison obviously stops the coordination and the indoctrination of younger members. This makes it harder for terrorist groups to operate effectively. The presumption is that during that time the USA will have gathered adequate intelligence and information upon which to destroy the group and the war on terror is that little bit nearer to ending.+*'''Justification for detention is the nature of the alleged crimes committed.''' President Bush declared that the prisoners – henceforth to be referred to only as “detainees” – were amongst the “worst of the worst,” President Bush insisted that he had the right to hold them not as prisoners of war protected by the Geneva Conventions, but as “unlawful enemy combatants,” who could be imprisoned indefinitely without charge or trial.
-*'''[[Argument: Terrorist interrogations must be performed, why not at Guantanamo?| Terrorist interrogations must be performed, why not at Guantanamo?]]''' Many terrorists need to be interrogated in order to obtain information that can help save lives. Interrogations cannot and shouldn't occur at ordinary prisons, where the purpose of imprisonment is very different. Therefore, a special detention facility does need to exist to allow for these interrogations to take place. Why shouldn't it remain Guantanamo, even if certain modifications to the facility and practices there need to be made. +*'''Statistics show that the camp is moving toward holding a smaller number of detainees.''' 60% of the original 800 have been either freed or relocated in a slow attempt to change the status of the camp. The Bush administration is pursuing allegations of war crimes of at least 80 of the detainees which shows a positive and lawful move.
-*'''[[Argument: If released, many Guantanamo detainees will return to terrorism| If released, many Guantanamo detainees will return to terrorism]]''' Many of the terrorists that have been released from Guantanamo have returned to terrorism. The Washington Post reported in 2005 that at least 10 of the 202 detainees released from Guantanamo were later captured or killed while fighting U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is a relatively high number, given the fact that only a small percentage of those that returned to terrorism would later be caught or killed. Clearly, there is a reason why these terrorists are being held; to protect the world from their aggression.+*'''Closing Guantanamo could lead to breaches of human rights''' Many of the detainees, at least 70, cannot be returned to their country of origin due to the regimes in place there. The result would be torture. Although the government is currently pushing through "memoranda of understanding" with these regimes -China, North African, this is little guarantee for their safety.
 + 
 +*'''Certain human rights can be breached for the highest national security reasons.''' As these human rights are what define America and set it apart from nations it condemns it would seem prudent, to say the least, to shut the camp down unless sufficient and noticeable gains are made. However if gains are made then the existence of the camp is justified as, to use an analogy, the possession of a gun for self-defense in the most extreme circumstances is justified.
Line 102: Line 105:
====No==== ====No====
-*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo bay's existence fuels terrorist causes| Guantanamo bay's existence fuels terrorist causes]]''' The existence of Guantanamo Bay is cited by terrorists as a tool of "the great Satan" and is seen by Muslims in general as a demonstration of US disregard for their dignity. It is, in turn, an effective tool used by terrorists and Jihadists to bring recruits on-board.+*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo detainees have been tortured| Guantanamo detainees are being tortured]]'''
-*'''It is impossible to statistically confirm that Guantanamo Bay has a deterrent effect on terrorists.''' This is mainly due to the fact that terrorists' feelings or fears in regards to the Guantanamo Bay prison cannot be statistically gathered. Similarly, the terrorists posing a threat to the safety of Western Nations are typically so ideologically fanatical and assured that their path is the righteous one, that there is nothing that would persuade them otherwise, including the risk of imprisonment at Guantanamo. A case study to show the lack of effectiveness of detaining prisoners can be seen in Northern Ireland. There the detainment of "unsavory characters" during the crisis coincided with an increase in the number of IRA members and attacks. The detainment without trial adopted by the government at the time seemed to fuel the fire of fanatics.+*'''[[Argument: US definitions of torture to not comply with international definitions| US definitions of torture to not comply with international definitions]]'''
-*'''Information gathered from prisoners at Guantanamo cannot be relied on.''' Intelligence gathered over WMD in Iraq was clearly wrong. Therefore, one has to question the methods by which this information is extracted and formulated. High ranking US military officials ''"have gone public saying that the interrogations at Guantanamo have yielded no valuable intelligence."''[http://www.phoblacht.net/rod1201053g.html]. Guantanamo Admiral Mike Mullen (even with his knowledge) stated to Joint Chiefs of Staff in October, ''“I’d like to see it shut down.”'' Surely this is proof that little is gained through Guantanamo.+*'''[[Argument: Bush administration policy creates exceptions to Geneva Convention on torture| Bush administration policy creates exceptions to Geneva Convention on torture]]'''
-*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo bay's existence alienates potential intelligence sources| Guantanamo bay's existence alienates potential intelligence sources]]''' The highly unpopular existence of Guantanamo Bay makes it more risky for intelligence sources to come out and provide useful information that they might otherwise be willing to provide.+*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo detainees are abused| Guantanamo detainees are abused]]''' Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, to name but one of several outspoken plutocrats, is vehemently opposed to the detention facility arguing that it is against human rights and what the American Constitution stands for. In the Canadian Foreign Affairs department review on tortuous nations specific mention was made of Guantanamo Bay, where, to drive the point home, the manual noted specific “US interrogation techniques,” including “forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation.”
 + 
 +*'''A psychological analysis of an inmate numbered 063 reveals human rights breaches.''' (see bottom of page for link) revealed "He was kept awake with music, yelling, loud white noise or brief opportunities to stand. He then was subjected to eighty hours of nearly continuous interrogation until what was intended to be a 24-hour “recuperation.” This recuperation was entirely occupied by a hospitalization for hypothermia that had resulted from deliberately abusive use of an air conditioner." If these policies were adopted on American prisoners every effort would be made to stop it. A superpower committing such atrocities is no excuse for not taking appropriate actions.
 + 
 +*'''Information for the book "THE GUANTANAMO FILES" shows human rights breaches and improper conditions at "Gitmo".''' Held without charge, without trial, and without any way of knowing when, if ever, they will be released, the detainees are cut off from their families, are mostly held for 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, and are not even granted the meagre pleasures that are enjoyed by the most hardened convicted criminals on the US mainland. It’s also known that some prisoners have been held in solitary confinement for several years, and that dozens of long-term hunger strikers continue to be force-fed twice daily in a brutal manner. Held in restraint chairs, using 18 separate straps, they are fed through a thick tube inserted into the stomach through the nose, which is removed after each feeding in a deliberate attempt to “break” their will.
 + 
 +*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo abuses include the desecration of the Koran| Guantanamo abuses include the desecration of the Koran]]''' Guards have intimidated and demoralized detainees by, for example, allowing attack dogs to destroy versions of the Koran.
 + 
 +*'''[[Argument: Conditions at Guantanamo Bay are harmful to detainee mental health| Conditions at Guantanamo Bay are harmful to detainee mental health]]'''
-*'''[[Argument: Past Cuba-US treaties forbid the current use of Guantanamo| Past Cuba-US treaties forbid the current use of Guantanamo]]''' When the United States occupied Cuba in 1903 it established a treaty that gave the United States authority to operate Guantanamo, "exclusively as coaling or naval stations, and for no other purpose." In 1934, the treaty was modified, but specified that "the stipulations of [the 1903] agreement with regard to the naval station of Guantánamo shall continue in effect." The use of Guantanamo for other purposes, the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, seems to clearly violate these exclusive purposes. 
-*'''[[Argument: Closing Guantanamo bay would symbolize US willingness to change course| Closing Guantanamo bay would symbolize US willingness to change course]]''' In the world and in the United States, there is a desire to see the United States change course in the war on terror, adopting perhaps a "softer" approach "winning the hearts and minds", and closing Guantanamo Bay has the potential to convey such a shift. 
-*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo Bay alienates US allies| Guantanamo Bay alienates US allies]]''' Many of the United State's allies do not support Guantanamo Bay. It becomes difficult for them to continue their support in the war on terror when they and their people condemn Guantanamo. By closing Guantanamo Bay, the United States would make it easier for its allies to support the war on terror. 
|- |-
|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"| |colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
-===Detainee treatment: Are detainees treated adequately in Guantanamo Bay?===+===War on terror: Does Guantanamo aid America's war on terror?===
|- |-
Line 125: Line 133:
====Yes==== ====Yes====
-*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo detainees are not being tortured| Guantanamo detainees are not being tortured]]'''+*'''Guantanamo Bay deters terrorists with the possibility that they will be imprisoned there.''' This coupled with the lack of a trial adds to the fear of the place and thus denounces terrorism. What is a deterrent and why is it necessary? A deterrent is something which persuades someone not to act in a certain way. Similar to the accumulation of nuclear missiles actually deterring a war between large nations, a deterrent can be created around something deemed morally wrong (a prison which may/may not breech human rights) and yet help the greatest number of people and is, thus, justifiable. The whole basis of terrorism is formed upon an ideology and stems from indoctrination. If there is a seed of doubt then it is likely that the person in question will not commit so called "acts of terror". This is supported by President Bush's quote below
-*'''[[Argument: Conditions at Guantanamo are very good for detainees| Conditions at Guantanamo are very good for detainees]]''' - Prisoner conditions at Guantanamo have actually improved substantially in President Bush's second term (04-08). This incremental change is largely due to the negative attention surrounding Guantanamo. It means that it may no longer be necessary to close down Guantanamo. In general, such opportunities for positive reform should be considered before closure.+*'''Holding terrorists and extracting information is vital to the war on terror.''' Firstly it must be regarded that any important gains in intelligence are not likely to be passed to the public but instead the CIA and the seeming "lack of success" yielded through Guantanamo can never be argued due to this point. The recent successes on the war on terror were recounted by President Bush 29months after September 11th: ''"Over the last 29 months, many terrorists have learned the meaning of justice. Nearly two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed. The terrorists are on the run, with good reason to fear what the night might bring." Similarly the Pentagon says the prison still serves a "vital purpose" in the war against terrorism.''
-*'''Terrorists do not deserve luxury treatment.''' Many believe that due to the psychological separation between terrorists and the rest of society, whose doctrines they threaten, and evident pathological and intolerable nature of their actions they should not be treated the same as other citizens. To do so would be to justify their existence and coupling their crimes with those of robbery. Surely attempted mass murder and religious infanticide is grounds for treating detainees differently. Providing their is sufficient evidence that these inmates are terrorists and do pose an immediate threat to society then Guantanamo is not only justified but recommended. +
-*'''Justification for detention is the nature of the alleged crimes committed.''' President Bush declared that the prisoners – henceforth to be referred to only as “detainees” – were amongst the “worst of the worst,” President Bush insisted that he had the right to hold them not as prisoners of war protected by the Geneva Conventions, but as “unlawful enemy combatants,” who could be imprisoned indefinitely without charge or trial.+*'''Guantanamo Bay helps disrupt terrorist groups.''' Putting an important section in that group in prison obviously stops the coordination and the indoctrination of younger members. This makes it harder for terrorist groups to operate effectively. The presumption is that during that time the USA will have gathered adequate intelligence and information upon which to destroy the group and the war on terror is that little bit nearer to ending.
-*'''Statistics show that the camp is moving toward holding a smaller number of detainees.''' 60% of the original 800 have been either freed or relocated in a slow attempt to change the status of the camp. The Bush administration is pursuing allegations of war crimes of at least 80 of the detainees which shows a positive and lawful move. +*'''[[Argument: Terrorist interrogations must be performed, why not at Guantanamo?| Terrorist interrogations must be performed, why not at Guantanamo?]]''' Many terrorists need to be interrogated in order to obtain information that can help save lives. Interrogations cannot and shouldn't occur at ordinary prisons, where the purpose of imprisonment is very different. Therefore, a special detention facility does need to exist to allow for these interrogations to take place. Why shouldn't it remain Guantanamo, even if certain modifications to the facility and practices there need to be made.
-*'''Closing Guantanamo could lead to breaches of human rights''' Many of the detainees, at least 70, cannot be returned to their country of origin due to the regimes in place there. The result would be torture. Although the government is currently pushing through "memoranda of understanding" with these regimes -China, North African, this is little guarantee for their safety. +*'''[[Argument: If released, many Guantanamo detainees will return to terrorism| If released, many Guantanamo detainees will return to terrorism]]''' Many of the terrorists that have been released from Guantanamo have returned to terrorism. The Washington Post reported in 2005 that at least 10 of the 202 detainees released from Guantanamo were later captured or killed while fighting U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is a relatively high number, given the fact that only a small percentage of those that returned to terrorism would later be caught or killed. Clearly, there is a reason why these terrorists are being held; to protect the world from their aggression.
- +
-*'''Certain human rights can be breached for the highest national security reasons.''' As these human rights are what define America and set it apart from nations it condemns it would seem prudent, to say the least, to shut the camp down unless sufficient and noticeable gains are made. However if gains are made then the existence of the camp is justified as, to use an analogy, the possession of a gun for self-defense in the most extreme circumstances is justified. +
Line 142: Line 147:
====No==== ====No====
-*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo detainees have been tortured| Guantanamo detainees are being tortured]]'''+*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo bay's existence fuels terrorist causes| Guantanamo bay's existence fuels terrorist causes]]''' The existence of Guantanamo Bay is cited by terrorists as a tool of "the great Satan" and is seen by Muslims in general as a demonstration of US disregard for their dignity. It is, in turn, an effective tool used by terrorists and Jihadists to bring recruits on-board.
-*'''[[Argument: US definitions of torture to not comply with international definitions| US definitions of torture to not comply with international definitions]]''' +*'''It is impossible to statistically confirm that Guantanamo Bay has a deterrent effect on terrorists.''' This is mainly due to the fact that terrorists' feelings or fears in regards to the Guantanamo Bay prison cannot be statistically gathered. Similarly, the terrorists posing a threat to the safety of Western Nations are typically so ideologically fanatical and assured that their path is the righteous one, that there is nothing that would persuade them otherwise, including the risk of imprisonment at Guantanamo. A case study to show the lack of effectiveness of detaining prisoners can be seen in Northern Ireland. There the detainment of "unsavory characters" during the crisis coincided with an increase in the number of IRA members and attacks. The detainment without trial adopted by the government at the time seemed to fuel the fire of fanatics.
-*'''[[Argument: Bush administration policy creates exceptions to Geneva Convention on torture| Bush administration policy creates exceptions to Geneva Convention on torture]]'''+*'''Information gathered from prisoners at Guantanamo cannot be relied on.''' Intelligence gathered over WMD in Iraq was clearly wrong. Therefore, one has to question the methods by which this information is extracted and formulated. High ranking US military officials ''"have gone public saying that the interrogations at Guantanamo have yielded no valuable intelligence."''[http://www.phoblacht.net/rod1201053g.html]. Guantanamo Admiral Mike Mullen (even with his knowledge) stated to Joint Chiefs of Staff in October, ''“I’d like to see it shut down.”'' Surely this is proof that little is gained through Guantanamo.
-*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo detainees are abused| Guantanamo detainees are abused]]''' Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, to name but one of several outspoken plutocrats, is vehemently opposed to the detention facility arguing that it is against human rights and what the American Constitution stands for. In the Canadian Foreign Affairs department review on tortuous nations specific mention was made of Guantanamo Bay, where, to drive the point home, the manual noted specific “US interrogation techniques,” including “forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation.”+*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo bay's existence alienates potential intelligence sources| Guantanamo bay's existence alienates potential intelligence sources]]''' The highly unpopular existence of Guantanamo Bay makes it more risky for intelligence sources to come out and provide useful information that they might otherwise be willing to provide.
- +
-*'''A psychological analysis of an inmate numbered 063 reveals human rights breaches.''' (see bottom of page for link) revealed "He was kept awake with music, yelling, loud white noise or brief opportunities to stand. He then was subjected to eighty hours of nearly continuous interrogation until what was intended to be a 24-hour “recuperation.” This recuperation was entirely occupied by a hospitalization for hypothermia that had resulted from deliberately abusive use of an air conditioner." If these policies were adopted on American prisoners every effort would be made to stop it. A superpower committing such atrocities is no excuse for not taking appropriate actions.+
- +
-*'''Information for the book "THE GUANTANAMO FILES" shows human rights breaches and improper conditions at "Gitmo".''' Held without charge, without trial, and without any way of knowing when, if ever, they will be released, the detainees are cut off from their families, are mostly held for 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, and are not even granted the meagre pleasures that are enjoyed by the most hardened convicted criminals on the US mainland. It’s also known that some prisoners have been held in solitary confinement for several years, and that dozens of long-term hunger strikers continue to be force-fed twice daily in a brutal manner. Held in restraint chairs, using 18 separate straps, they are fed through a thick tube inserted into the stomach through the nose, which is removed after each feeding in a deliberate attempt to “break” their will. +
- +
-*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo abuses include the desecration of the Koran| Guantanamo abuses include the desecration of the Koran]]''' Guards have intimidated and demoralized detainees by, for example, allowing attack dogs to destroy versions of the Koran.+
- +
-*'''[[Argument: Conditions at Guantanamo Bay are harmful to detainee mental health| Conditions at Guantanamo Bay are harmful to detainee mental health]]'''+
 +*'''[[Argument: Past Cuba-US treaties forbid the current use of Guantanamo| Past Cuba-US treaties forbid the current use of Guantanamo]]''' When the United States occupied Cuba in 1903 it established a treaty that gave the United States authority to operate Guantanamo, "exclusively as coaling or naval stations, and for no other purpose." In 1934, the treaty was modified, but specified that "the stipulations of [the 1903] agreement with regard to the naval station of Guantánamo shall continue in effect." The use of Guantanamo for other purposes, the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, seems to clearly violate these exclusive purposes.
 +*'''[[Argument: Closing Guantanamo bay would symbolize US willingness to change course| Closing Guantanamo bay would symbolize US willingness to change course]]''' In the world and in the United States, there is a desire to see the United States change course in the war on terror, adopting perhaps a "softer" approach "winning the hearts and minds", and closing Guantanamo Bay has the potential to convey such a shift.
 +*'''[[Argument: Guantanamo Bay alienates US allies| Guantanamo Bay alienates US allies]]''' Many of the United State's allies do not support Guantanamo Bay. It becomes difficult for them to continue their support in the war on terror when they and their people condemn Guantanamo. By closing Guantanamo Bay, the United States would make it easier for its allies to support the war on terror.

Revision as of 19:19, 29 September 2008

Is Guantanamo Bay's existence justified, or should it be closed?

Editing tasks you can help with

  • This article could use more quotations on the debate page. Many of them are tucked away in argument pages. A balance of quotations and argument summaries on the debate page is important.
  • This article could also use a pro/con video section at the bottom, with videos.

Contents

Background and Context of Debate:

The Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba is operated by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo of the American Armed Forces. It currently holds approximately 355 inmates. The inmates were originally supposed to be solely "enemy combatants" but as the war on terror escalated so too did the definition of enemy combatant. It has recently come to encompass "terrorist suspects" as well as those deemed a danger to the USA i.e. terrorist sympathizers.

The controversy over Guantanamo's existence came to light following the surge of allegations in February 2006 claiming torture and breeches of the Geneva Convention. On the one hand of the debate, supporters of the camp claim that it is a necessary evil that acts not only to deter terrorist activities, but also to disrupt the coordination of their various splinter groups. On the other hand, the camps effectiveness may not justify the numerous breaches of human rights and the violations of international law that have been claimed against it.

Questions over whether the detainees can bring forward a writ of Habeas Corpus to force a hearing on their state are also intrinsic to the debate. Additional questions include whether the detention of foreign nationals on the basis that they are a threat to America is sufficient justification for Guantanamo’s permanent presence. Similarly, it can be asked whether the human rights allegations are simply part of 21st Century politics or if Guantanamo truly does resemble the concentration camps the Americans condemned just 60 years before in Nuremburg.

For more in-depth history and background, see Wikipedia: Guananamo Bay detention camp

Judicial process: Do Guantanamo courts provide adequate judicial process?

Yes

  • Enemy combatants can be held without trial until hostilities cease It is fair to hold someone without charge or trial, under the terms of a military order initiated in November 2001, as “enemy combatants.” This is similar to holding prisoners of war until hostilities cease, in which it is not legally necessary to provide the prisoners with recourse to judicial process. It is merely necessary to wait until hostilities cease. Under the same logic, "enemy combatants" can be held without judicial recourse until hostilities in the war on terror or the war against Al Qaeda cease.
  • A poor judicial process is no reason to shut down Guantanamo; it can be reformed. There have been steady improvements in the judicial processes involved at Guantanamo Bay. For sure, the newness of the war on terror and the new legal concept of "enemy combatants" makes it unsurprising that difficulties in legal processes have arisen. But, these problems are being solved, and they should not give rise to calls for the closure of Guantanamo. Rather, Guantanamo should be reformed and improved.
  • Guantanamo's legal processes were justified by legal rulings and legislation. The legal definition of "enemy combatants" has been affirmed by American judges in court rulings. This created a unique category of conditions for the treatment of detainees and constraints on their habeas corpus rights. If this category and rulings are determined to be false or legally thin in some ways, than, certainly, elements of Guantanamo Bay do not make sense, and the camp should be changed. Yet, until the notion of "enemy combatants" is shown to be faulty, there is a sound legal basis for Guantanamo Bay's existence.



No

  • The Bush administration's legal system at Guantanamo is faulty - Congressional testimony on July 26, 2007 by Lt. Col. Stephen E. Abraham indicates that the legal system established at Guantanamo has relied on shaky evidence and has led to officials being pressured to rush cases. Guantanamo Bay, therefore, should be closed to restore judicial integrity in the States and to restore international trust in the US court system.



Detainee treatment: Are detainees treated adequately in Guantanamo Bay?

Yes

  • Conditions at Guantanamo are very good for detainees - Prisoner conditions at Guantanamo have actually improved substantially in President Bush's second term (04-08). This incremental change is largely due to the negative attention surrounding Guantanamo. It means that it may no longer be necessary to close down Guantanamo. In general, such opportunities for positive reform should be considered before closure.
  • Terrorists do not deserve luxury treatment. Many believe that due to the psychological separation between terrorists and the rest of society, whose doctrines they threaten, and evident pathological and intolerable nature of their actions they should not be treated the same as other citizens. To do so would be to justify their existence and coupling their crimes with those of robbery. Surely attempted mass murder and religious infanticide is grounds for treating detainees differently. Providing their is sufficient evidence that these inmates are terrorists and do pose an immediate threat to society then Guantanamo is not only justified but recommended.
  • Justification for detention is the nature of the alleged crimes committed. President Bush declared that the prisoners – henceforth to be referred to only as “detainees” – were amongst the “worst of the worst,” President Bush insisted that he had the right to hold them not as prisoners of war protected by the Geneva Conventions, but as “unlawful enemy combatants,” who could be imprisoned indefinitely without charge or trial.
  • Statistics show that the camp is moving toward holding a smaller number of detainees. 60% of the original 800 have been either freed or relocated in a slow attempt to change the status of the camp. The Bush administration is pursuing allegations of war crimes of at least 80 of the detainees which shows a positive and lawful move.
  • Closing Guantanamo could lead to breaches of human rights Many of the detainees, at least 70, cannot be returned to their country of origin due to the regimes in place there. The result would be torture. Although the government is currently pushing through "memoranda of understanding" with these regimes -China, North African, this is little guarantee for their safety.
  • Certain human rights can be breached for the highest national security reasons. As these human rights are what define America and set it apart from nations it condemns it would seem prudent, to say the least, to shut the camp down unless sufficient and noticeable gains are made. However if gains are made then the existence of the camp is justified as, to use an analogy, the possession of a gun for self-defense in the most extreme circumstances is justified.


No

  • Guantanamo detainees are abused Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, to name but one of several outspoken plutocrats, is vehemently opposed to the detention facility arguing that it is against human rights and what the American Constitution stands for. In the Canadian Foreign Affairs department review on tortuous nations specific mention was made of Guantanamo Bay, where, to drive the point home, the manual noted specific “US interrogation techniques,” including “forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation.”
  • A psychological analysis of an inmate numbered 063 reveals human rights breaches. (see bottom of page for link) revealed "He was kept awake with music, yelling, loud white noise or brief opportunities to stand. He then was subjected to eighty hours of nearly continuous interrogation until what was intended to be a 24-hour “recuperation.” This recuperation was entirely occupied by a hospitalization for hypothermia that had resulted from deliberately abusive use of an air conditioner." If these policies were adopted on American prisoners every effort would be made to stop it. A superpower committing such atrocities is no excuse for not taking appropriate actions.
  • Information for the book "THE GUANTANAMO FILES" shows human rights breaches and improper conditions at "Gitmo". Held without charge, without trial, and without any way of knowing when, if ever, they will be released, the detainees are cut off from their families, are mostly held for 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, and are not even granted the meagre pleasures that are enjoyed by the most hardened convicted criminals on the US mainland. It’s also known that some prisoners have been held in solitary confinement for several years, and that dozens of long-term hunger strikers continue to be force-fed twice daily in a brutal manner. Held in restraint chairs, using 18 separate straps, they are fed through a thick tube inserted into the stomach through the nose, which is removed after each feeding in a deliberate attempt to “break” their will.



War on terror: Does Guantanamo aid America's war on terror?

Yes

  • Guantanamo Bay deters terrorists with the possibility that they will be imprisoned there. This coupled with the lack of a trial adds to the fear of the place and thus denounces terrorism. What is a deterrent and why is it necessary? A deterrent is something which persuades someone not to act in a certain way. Similar to the accumulation of nuclear missiles actually deterring a war between large nations, a deterrent can be created around something deemed morally wrong (a prison which may/may not breech human rights) and yet help the greatest number of people and is, thus, justifiable. The whole basis of terrorism is formed upon an ideology and stems from indoctrination. If there is a seed of doubt then it is likely that the person in question will not commit so called "acts of terror". This is supported by President Bush's quote below
  • Holding terrorists and extracting information is vital to the war on terror. Firstly it must be regarded that any important gains in intelligence are not likely to be passed to the public but instead the CIA and the seeming "lack of success" yielded through Guantanamo can never be argued due to this point. The recent successes on the war on terror were recounted by President Bush 29months after September 11th: "Over the last 29 months, many terrorists have learned the meaning of justice. Nearly two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed. The terrorists are on the run, with good reason to fear what the night might bring." Similarly the Pentagon says the prison still serves a "vital purpose" in the war against terrorism.
  • Guantanamo Bay helps disrupt terrorist groups. Putting an important section in that group in prison obviously stops the coordination and the indoctrination of younger members. This makes it harder for terrorist groups to operate effectively. The presumption is that during that time the USA will have gathered adequate intelligence and information upon which to destroy the group and the war on terror is that little bit nearer to ending.
  • Terrorist interrogations must be performed, why not at Guantanamo? Many terrorists need to be interrogated in order to obtain information that can help save lives. Interrogations cannot and shouldn't occur at ordinary prisons, where the purpose of imprisonment is very different. Therefore, a special detention facility does need to exist to allow for these interrogations to take place. Why shouldn't it remain Guantanamo, even if certain modifications to the facility and practices there need to be made.
  • If released, many Guantanamo detainees will return to terrorism Many of the terrorists that have been released from Guantanamo have returned to terrorism. The Washington Post reported in 2005 that at least 10 of the 202 detainees released from Guantanamo were later captured or killed while fighting U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is a relatively high number, given the fact that only a small percentage of those that returned to terrorism would later be caught or killed. Clearly, there is a reason why these terrorists are being held; to protect the world from their aggression.


No

  • Guantanamo bay's existence fuels terrorist causes The existence of Guantanamo Bay is cited by terrorists as a tool of "the great Satan" and is seen by Muslims in general as a demonstration of US disregard for their dignity. It is, in turn, an effective tool used by terrorists and Jihadists to bring recruits on-board.
  • It is impossible to statistically confirm that Guantanamo Bay has a deterrent effect on terrorists. This is mainly due to the fact that terrorists' feelings or fears in regards to the Guantanamo Bay prison cannot be statistically gathered. Similarly, the terrorists posing a threat to the safety of Western Nations are typically so ideologically fanatical and assured that their path is the righteous one, that there is nothing that would persuade them otherwise, including the risk of imprisonment at Guantanamo. A case study to show the lack of effectiveness of detaining prisoners can be seen in Northern Ireland. There the detainment of "unsavory characters" during the crisis coincided with an increase in the number of IRA members and attacks. The detainment without trial adopted by the government at the time seemed to fuel the fire of fanatics.
  • Information gathered from prisoners at Guantanamo cannot be relied on. Intelligence gathered over WMD in Iraq was clearly wrong. Therefore, one has to question the methods by which this information is extracted and formulated. High ranking US military officials "have gone public saying that the interrogations at Guantanamo have yielded no valuable intelligence."[1]. Guantanamo Admiral Mike Mullen (even with his knowledge) stated to Joint Chiefs of Staff in October, “I’d like to see it shut down.” Surely this is proof that little is gained through Guantanamo.
  • Past Cuba-US treaties forbid the current use of Guantanamo When the United States occupied Cuba in 1903 it established a treaty that gave the United States authority to operate Guantanamo, "exclusively as coaling or naval stations, and for no other purpose." In 1934, the treaty was modified, but specified that "the stipulations of [the 1903] agreement with regard to the naval station of Guantánamo shall continue in effect." The use of Guantanamo for other purposes, the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, seems to clearly violate these exclusive purposes.
  • Guantanamo Bay alienates US allies Many of the United State's allies do not support Guantanamo Bay. It becomes difficult for them to continue their support in the war on terror when they and their people condemn Guantanamo. By closing Guantanamo Bay, the United States would make it easier for its allies to support the war on terror.


Image/relations: Does Guantanamo's existence aid US international relations?

Yes

  • Guantanamo should not be closed to placate international opinion Throughout time there have been various ideas that have been openly criticised yet with the benefit of hindsight they have been seen to be very successful and necessary. The most obvious examples are those of earth orbiting the sun and being spherical instead of flat. The premise follows that the existence of Guantanamo may breech human rights but it also may save several thousands of lives a year. Therefore it is better to help the greatest number of people. Perhaps international opinion of the USA has fallen, but is this a major issue? Other nations cannot afford to neglect the USA in anyway due to its dominance as the world's main superpower and thus if Guantanamo is truly helping, as the Pentagon claims then it should remain there.
U.S. President George W. Bush says he pays no attention to polls and other measures of public opinion when formulating policy. This sticking to your laurels approach gains respect and even though people may disagree, at least you have faith in your convictions. Vice President Dick Cheney minimizes the impact of the Iraq war and the Guantanamo controversy on world opinion. "Does this hurt us from the standpoint of international opinion? I frankly don't think so," he said.[2]
  • Publics recognize that terrorists deserve few protections. It is broadly felt that terrorists should not be treated with the same dignities as an ordinary prisoner. Due to their nature and the dangers and atrocities they force other citizens to go through, terrorists detach themselves of basic human rights. To act in a civilised manner is a privilege and ultimately our views on right and wrong is what makes us human-by having a conscience. We act in this way because of the society we are brought up in, but if a terrorist threatens this society our response should be tailored to the criteria that we will do the same to them, that is, no longer treat them as human beings. Many feel that detaining these terrorists in different ways to ordinary prisoners shows the separation of a terrorist and a normal person, and that is is subsequently is justified.


No

  • Guantanamo bay tarnishes the image of the United States A survey conducted by Pew Research Centre for People and the Press has found that American Reputation has suffered as a direct result on the war on terror and questionable policies created to combat terrorism. According to the survey, many Muslims polled view Americans as immoral. Surely this is not the image they want to be portraying when the US is trying to work with local Muslims. Of the Americans surveyed, 70 percent told Pew pollsters that they understand their country is disliked in many areas of the world.
  • US rejections of UN calls to close Guantanamo look very bad. The US has rejected calls made by the United Nations in a 2006 report to close Guantanamo bay "immediately". Rejecting the United Nations in this way just confirms the growing international impression that the United State disregards international rules and norms.
  • Closing Guantanamo would help the US reclaim its image as human-rights bearer Guantanamo's existence is hypocritical on the part of the United States, whom decries foreign abuses. The fact that the American Administration openly condemns acts of those nations which engage in torture and intimidation, but subsequently follows suit so close to home, is hypocritical. Can a western nation, the economic leader of the world, be associated with such conflicting policies and still maintain legitimacy as a global, political leader?
  • Guantanamo leaves a black mark on the USA’s “world policing” legitimacy. If the United States wants to act as the "world police" in some capacity, than it ought to maintain a moral high ground that empowers it to do so legitimately. Guantanamo undermines the moral high ground of the United States and any legitimacy it could claim as a "world policeman". Polls show that many in the Middle East were pleased by the Bush administrations overtures for "democracy", but now, with such liabilities as Guantanamo, such notions of spreading democracy seem hypocritical and untrustworthy.



Pro/con resources

Yes


No


Videos: Videos pro and con in this debate

Yes

Senate Judiciary Hearing on Guantanamo

No

"Close Guantanamo! Amnesty Speaks Out". Posted January 12, 2007[3]


References:

Related pages on Debatepedia:

Although a normal public trial is not possible for security reasons, detainees' rights are still respected

Debate:Security vs. Liberty

Civil rights

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