Sunday, December 8, 2013

Consistently Inconsistent

So President Obama has decided to send to prisoners from GITMO to their home country of Algeria.  It's nice that he seems to be doing something about the population in that prison since he couldn't deliver on his stated desire to close it down, right?

The two Algerians had been imprisoned in that black hole without charges for over 11 years by the government which likes to prance around the globe touting the sanctity of human rights and uses the issue as a political tool in its little box of propaganda that is employed against those whose "standards" just aren't the same as Washington's.  Never mind that the Guantanamo base is basically a piece of occupied territory in a nation which has made it clear that it does not want the base there.  Its use in the supposed war on terror was cleverly devised as some sort of loophole to the US Constitution so that lawyers could construct arguments somewhat along the lines that it somehow is outside the reach of the judicial branch.  That alone isn't a "standard" that anyone should be proud of.

The United States in this situation hasn't failed its own standard of being consistently inconsistent.  The US certainly strives to be a world leader in hypocrisy.  The two men were sent against their will to Algeria where they feared persecution by militants.  No big deal since they must have been terrorists since we decided to keep them in GITMO for so long and who thinks that prisoners should get to decide on their place of retirement, right?  But it's not that simple.  The United States had other options.  Luxembourg was willing to accept them and allow them to resettle there.  They would likely be safer in that country since it really hasn't been known as a hotbed for militant groups.  But alas, that would make too much sense so off to Algeria they go.

But here's the kicker.  The State Department's report on Algeria claims that their are many concerns that may cause Washington to reconsider it as a destination for these deportees.  The report states Algerian security forces operated "unrecognized detention centers where detainees were at risk of torture or other ill treatment."  It's no secret that throughout this war on terror that the US has sent people to countries known to employ torture so that information could be extracted by others with "lower standards" for Washington's benefit.  But this all leads to the inconsistencies of US actions, consistently.

US actions are far removed from the lofty declarations about human rights, democracy, and everything else beautiful.  Luis Posada Carriles, an boastful terrorist who has bombed civilian airliners and hotels and has been involved in countless other unconscionable acts, is living freely in Miami although his extradition has been requested by Venezuela.  To its credit, the US government has allegedly sought to send him somewhere, anywhere, but not to the country that is requesting him!  Why not Venezuela one might ask?  The obvious reason is international politics and the fact that Venezuela's independent government isn't willing to bend to the will of Washington and has pursued its own path.  (You could make the argument that Washington is tortured by this fact!)  Posada Carriles is not eligible for asylum since the US doesn't grant it to terrorist suspects so he should be deported to Venezuela, but the US has refused to do so citing their concern that he might be tortured there by Venezuelan authorities.  The same State Department that claims that torture goes on in Algeria also claims that torture is carried out in Venezuela.

I personally don't put full faith in the State Department since it is highly politicized.  But wouldn't the US government have faith in its own departments?  If the US finds it too risky to send a man, ineligible for asylum based on him being a terrorist suspect, to a country that it claims employs torture, how does it decide to send two men  who it must have believed to be terrorist suspects (having imprisoned them for 11 years for just that) to another country that it claims employs torture?

The only logical explanation for such a decision would be the unwavering US policy of consistent inconsistency.      

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