UN Expert Says Close Gitmo After Historic Visit

U.N. Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the first such expert to visit the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison, said those responsible for the U.S. “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment of detainees there should be held accountable.

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin briefing reporters on June 26 on her technical visit to the United States and the detention facility at the U.S. Naval Station Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. (UN video still)

By Peoples Dispatch

U.N. Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin has asked U.S. authorities to shut down the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison and apologize for the torture of inmates. She asked that all those responsible for such abuses in the last 20 years be held accountable. 

Ní Aoláin addressed a press conference in New York on the occasion of the U.N.’s International Day in Solidarity with the Victims of Torture on Monday. She also released her report on Guantanamo Bay prepared after visiting the prison earlier this year.   

“The U.S. government must urgently provide judicial resolution, apology and guarantees of non-repetition,” Ní Aoláin said, claiming that the establishment was in violation of international human rights laws. She described the treatment of the remaining detainees at Guantanamo by the U.S. authorities as “cruel, inhuman and degrading.”

Her report emphasized that “the U.S. government is under a continuing obligation to complete thorough, independent and effective investigations into alleged violations, sanction those responsible, provide appropriate redress and reparation to all victims and adopt effective guarantees for non-repetition.”  

Ní Aoláin, who is Irish, was the first U.N. expert allowed by the U.S. to visit the detention center, which the Cuban government says was illegally built on occupied Cuban territory in 2002 in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks during the George Bush presidency. It was built as a part of Bush’s so-called war on terror and to avoid the U.S. domestic legal system. 

Systemic Abuse & Torture

Guantanamo Bay Prison. (Joint Task Force Guantánamo Bay/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

Since its inception, there were unconfirmed reports about torture and human rights violations being committed by U.S. officials. However, the systematic rights violations and methods of torture used on the inmates at Guantanamo Bay to extract confessions and false evidence were made public in a series of documents released by WikiLeaks in 2011, in what is known as the Gitmo Files.  

[Related: THE REVELATIONS OF WIKILEAKS: No. 7 — Crimes Revealed at Guantánamo Bay]

Former detainees continue to be on the U.S. “terrorist watchlist” even after years of release, making their rehabilitation difficult, the report notes. It calls on the U.S. government to remove all ex-detainees from the terror watchlist and provide adequate compensation to former inmates. 

At one point, there were close to 800 detainees at the Guantanamo prison. Most of the detainees have been released gradually after spending years at Gitmo without any charge or trial. However, 30 detainees still remain there, of whom 16 have been cleared for release by U.S. authorities. Only two of the 30 have been convicted so far, while nine others are being tried in military tribunals.

[Related: Guantánamo Prisoner’s Graphic Details of US Torture]

Reacting to Ní Aoláin’s report, President Joe Biden’s administration claimed that it provides protection to the inmates as per international and domestic laws [and “has made significant progress in reducing the detainee population.”] 

This article is from Peoples Dispatch.  

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17 comments for “UN Expert Says Close Gitmo After Historic Visit

  1. Ricardo2000
    June 29, 2023 at 17:17

    GFW Hegel, The Philosophy of History, “What experience and history teaches us is that people and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.”

    Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed): “The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom.”

    John Kenneth Galbraith, “The modern Conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

    So this is the first time the UN sent a human rights inspector to GITMO. Has Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International done the same? Why does it take more than 20 years for the UN and the rest of international community to wake up to these crimes?

    Gen. Smedley Butler, “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer; a gangster for capitalism.”

    Georges Clemenceau (1841 – 1929): “War is a series of catastrophes that results in a victory.”

    Why hasn’t every US Presidential administration and US Congress since WWII not been brought to justice?

    I.F. Stone (In a Time of Torment, 1961-1967): “All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.”

    Joseph Schumpeter: “Politicians are like bad horsemen who are so preoccupied with staying in the saddle that they can’t bother about where they’re going.”

    The ‘International community’ is composed of self-serving politicians who only think of getting elected so they can tell themselves: the people ‘love’ them; that their opinions matter; that they will get wealthier. The UN is composed of trained cowards allergic to any part of the truth about their governments, their militaries, their cultural and economic leadership, and their histories.

    Noam Chomsky: ”Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. Media.”

    In general, White Western media cloaca will not publish anything truthful. They will serve imperial interests with lip-smacking delight. Intelligent commentators disputing US rights to torture, murder, and dispossession receive the ‘David Webb’ treatment of poverty and abuse from the ‘Dark Alliance’. Nobody listened to Colonel Fletcher Prouty, and ‘The Secret Team’ infiltrated every facet of US government spreading ‘intelligence’ trained torturers world wide. Nobody listened to Alfred McCoy either, and ‘The Politics of Heroin’ let drug gangs rule the world’s cities. Nobody listened to Laurie Garrett when she wrote, ‘The Coming Plague’ in 1991 until drug resistant disease and COVID killed millions. Blowback means the monsters created by 10%er brutal stupidity are now chasing them down the street. Blowback means CONservatives who thought they would be hauling on the rope are instead swinging from the noose.

    Jesse Ventura, “When the government lies, the truth becomes a traitor.”

    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents… the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    William Casey (CIA Director 1981-1987): “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

  2. Fred Hewitt
    June 28, 2023 at 14:38

    In my view no one should be held responsible-but God! Because GOD BLESS AMERICA: Therefore most of the peoples of the world
    are fucked.

  3. Will Durant
    June 28, 2023 at 13:25

    I doubt if more than a handful of people in this community or this nation think about the Guantanamo Detention Facility and know what a stain it has been on this nation and the values it claims to have.

    Torture, indefinite arbitrary detention without trial or a jury of peers, humiliation, and the anxiety and hopelessness and separation from families that comes from indefinite detention without trial (which is, after all, merely another form of torture)–these are our legacy of shame at Gitmo.

    Let’s say a nation which purports to hold certain values concocts a story to claim that the nation (and therefore those values) is threatened. Let’s say that that nation–the purported embodiment of those very special values–then violates those values in order to “protect” the nation.

    Can that nation then be said to HAVE those values and that those values are somehow integral and sacrosanct to that nation?

    I think not. It is a contradiction to say that one has values and then to violate those values in order to save them.

    In that case the values one purports to have are not worth saving because they are not values at all but mere affectations, as ephemeral and transitory as a morning mist.

    Some people would call such actions hypocrisy. I think that is far too kind a term for that.

  4. Cesar Jeopardy
    June 28, 2023 at 12:00

    The wrong people are in GITMO. The entire Bush administration should be there, for life.

    • Vesa
      June 28, 2023 at 13:19

      And Obama administration and Trump admin. and Biden admin.

    • WillD
      June 28, 2023 at 22:11

      And the Biden administration.

    • MIRIAM
      June 28, 2023 at 23:41


  5. Robert Sinuhe
    June 28, 2023 at 11:38

    If one would take a snapshot of the Americans government, it would not be a pretty picture, a spitting image of the Marquis De Sade. When one considers the sanctions around the world, the wars perpetrated on others through lies, and the resultant deaths of over four million people, the impression of the ‘beacon of hope’ and ‘the shining house on a hill’ becomes a travesty among no others. And what of this woman who speaks for justice? She will be forgotten because of the power exercised by our government.

  6. Henry Smith
    June 28, 2023 at 03:34

    Maybe, not only close this abomination but get the hell out of Cuba!

  7. Andrew Thomas
    June 28, 2023 at 01:24

    The US corporate media will note this below the fold on page 15 (or the electronic media equivalent thereof) once, and that will be the end of that. Then, this special rapporteur will write a book, just like Nils Melzer did, which will be well worth reading- and having in one’s library- just to make sure that the truth, even if generally forgotten, is somewhere recorded for our distant ancestors, if we are lucky enough that there are any. In fact, we need to make sure that transcripts of everything published by CN during its existence are made and secured and buried in various places, in hopes that even after whatever happens next, some honest record of the neoliberal neoconservative horror show will be preserved. I hope she starts writing it tomorrow. It is doubtful that she’ll be overwhelmed with requests for in-depth interviews about her observations by western mainstream media. She should have plenty of free time.

    • JonT
      June 28, 2023 at 03:14

      Nils Melzer; Stefania Maurizi; Kevin Gosztola. All these books should be in everyones library. As should all of Consortium News’ coverage of Assange. I wonder how many mainstream publications would accept ads for these.

  8. Linda Edwards
    June 27, 2023 at 23:06

    It’s about time Guantanamo was closed.

    Name names of the abusers.

    • CaseyG
      June 28, 2023 at 17:54

      I read that one of the men who was tortured at Guantanamo was a man who spoke about De Santis when he was in the military. Apparently, De Santis loved to watch the torture process, and this is the same man who later became the Governor of Florida.

      Yes , that would be Ron De Santos —who per one of those imprisoned said that De Santis seemed to truly enjoy
      watching prisoners be tortured. After reading that, I thought only fair to forever after rename De Santis as De SATAN, , which seems to be a perfect fit for such a disgusting human.

  9. Robert Emmett
    June 27, 2023 at 21:28

    What, only two decades to catch-up to the world’s Juggernaut of Justice and the sordid trail of human wreckage strewn from black sites across the globe? Piff.

    The wheels of justice … and all that … slowly grinding. For what?

    Dust, ashes when the ones who turn the wheels are sadists without scruple or conscience.

    Render Cheney & Bush, their lawyers & closest advisors in shackles & chains & diapers with bags over their heads & throw them into cages, blast loud music day & night, flash the lights, strip them naked, slap them around ‘til they feel what it’s like to be shorn of their humanity.

    Shouldn’t take long as they never had that much to begin with.

  10. Jeff Harrison
    June 27, 2023 at 20:56

    Don’t hold your breath. The regime in Washington has no intention of living up to the lofty principles enshrined in our Declaration of Independence or our constitution. The fools don’t understand that the US is damaged goods in the eyes of the world and the apparatchiks in DC are too blind and unselfaware to recognize that.

  11. Valerie
    June 27, 2023 at 19:12

    I just do not want to go here. Perversion is a form of human behaviour which deviates from what is considered to be orthodox or normal. And hence “animals are better than humans” because they are not perverted. They are pure in spirit and mind. And would that the entities capable of securing the freedom of Julian Assange had but a sliver of the soul and insight of animals.

  12. shmutzoid
    June 27, 2023 at 18:55

    ‘Inhuman and degrading”………. That’s not just about US treatment of prisoners at GITMO. ….. with Full Spectrum Dominance and “you’re either with us or against us”, it’s shorthand for how the US treats nations perceived to be not “with us”. …..Countries now talking up a re-emergence of the non-aligned movement are not considered friends of the US empire. it’s a binary world for US imperial managers——> friend or foe……with us or against us………. US-good—–Russia-evil, and so on.

    As with most of US foreign policy, cruelty is the point if you’re not “with us”. Life killing sanctions by the US abound around the world. GITMO is merely one of the harshest expressions of the empire’s foreign policy.

    And, as it with the US regime (regardless of which party is nominally ‘in charge’), NO ONE who devised the torture program or oversaw its implementation will ever be held to account.

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