Andy Worthington Reports: UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Condemns US Treatment of Ammar Al-Baluchi at Guantánamo, Says All Prisoners Arbitrarily Detained

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention {as reported by my friend, Andy Worthington (the best, most indefatigable, source on Guantanamo I know; happy birthday, Buddy!)}, "stated that, from September 2006 to April 2008, when al-Baluchi was held without charge (until he was first charged in the military commissions under George W. Bush), and from January 2010 to May 2011 (from when the charges were dropped under President Obama until they were reinstated), his imprisonment was “a violation of [his] right under articles 9 (2) and 14 (3) (a) of the Covenant to be promptly informed of the charges against him, as well as a failure to invoke a legal basis to justify his detention.” The reference to “the Covenant” refers to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in force since 1976, which commits its signatories, including the US, to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including their rights to due process and a fair trial."

That's right, the US is a signatory, which makes it the law of the land, the US, under the US Constitution. We are violating al-Baluchi's US Constitutional rights.

Did you think rights under the US Constitution only apply to US citizens or those legally in the US proper? Those are typical errors of those who've not studied International Law in conjunction with the US Constitution. The Constitution expressly states that international law we sign onto is US law (just as if it were written word-for-word right into the main body/text of the Constitution document). Plenty of International Law "experts" and US Constitutional scholars and lawyers, also completely mess up when it comes to this plain and simple conjunction. It's typically not even something pointed out in law courses. It wasn't when I studied Constitutional and International Law and still isn't. Let's see to fixing that gross error.

By the way, don't fall for neocons who come out of the woodwork after I post this and say that I'm wrong. Of course, they won't dare name me or link to this. They never do. That's because with equal megaphones, they've lost before they start. It's their whole point of marginalizing those who protest and dissent: don't let the People hear them or we'll lose power because the People will learn that we are evil, liars, hypocrites, etc.

President Trump Tweeted the question of whether we (the US) still has due process. Well Mr. President, I also saw where you fully support not only keeping Guantanamo prison but furthering it. That's hypocritical of you, Mr. President. You should correct that mistake of yours. You have full authority. You could order Guantanamo prison and all associated aspects to be transformed so all of it would completely meet proper due-process standards. You don't need anyone else's consent. The Constitution makes that perfectly clear. You've been given power. Use it correctly or be prepared to lose it. You might also check the law concerning whether the US Guantanamo base is even legal. The government of Cuba (flawed as it is) certainly doesn't think so, and neither do I.

Al-Baluchi may or may not have been a terrorist. If he ever was one, he may or may not still be one. We, the People, do not know. That's the case despite the fact he's been tortured and locked up so much and for so long. It's the case because he has been denied due process of law. We don't afford people due process because we are afraid we'll let the guilty go free. We afford people due process because we're afraid we'll hold the innocent. We care because it could happen to us. We truly care because we have both sympathy and empathy for others who may be innocent and who are being held.

That is critically important, but it's far from the entire concern. We should never torture anyone, ever, for any reason; and that includes waterboarding. We should always work extremely diligently, intelligently, morally, and ethically to rehabilitate the guilty.

The Guantanamo prison was, and remains, a sin against truth.

Read (PDF): "Advance Edited Version, Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its eightieth session, 20–24 November 2017, Opinion No. 89/2017 concerning Ammar al Baluchi (United States of America)."

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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