‘Gitmo: National security threat’

As long as the infamous prison in Guantanamo Bay is open it remains a symbol of lawlessness and harms the US’s reputation, says Human Rights Watch Counter-Terrorism Counsel Andrea Prasow.

She told RT that Guantanamo is “a national security threat” as it provides terrorist recruiters with the opportunity to picture the US as a villain.

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She argues the lawlessness is never an option in fighting terrorism, unlike prosecuting people in the US federal courts. “Safe, lawful, humane interrogation techniques are what actually work,” she said.

Prasow stressed that there is no evidence that the interrogation of suspects helped to bring any significant achievements. “When you obtain information through harsh interrogation techniques or through torture, very, very often it’s completely false.”

Pardiss Kebriaei, a lawyer from the Center for Constitutional Rights from the International Action Center, believes the infamous prison remains open due to Obama’s repeated failures of leadership.

She explained that the closure of the prison has become extremely difficult after Obama’s recent signing of Nation Defense Authorization Act that codified continuous legal restrictions on the transfer of anyone out of Guantanamo.

Not only human rights activists, but US officials themselves admit that most of the men in Guantanamo did not belong there, Kebriaei added. “They were not involved in any fighting. They were in fact running from the fighting. There was complete lack of information and chaos about who the hundreds of men were.”

Guantanamo actually does not have anything to do with national security, because most of the men there were never a threat to the United States,” she said.

Thomas Wilner, defense counsel for Guantanamo Bay detainees, told RT that the prison is a “challenge to democracy and a stain on the reputation of the United States.”

Under US law, evidence given under torture cannot be used, he explained. “It’s unreliable, it stains everyone.” Any torture, any abuse of prisoners is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, Wilner added.

The Guantanamo Bay prison has become a political problem in a democracy in which certain people are playing with fear, Wilner argues. “The Republican Party is basically playing on fear to influence their constituents. And in the face of that fear the Obama administration hasn’t had the courage to oppose it.”