On air: Has Guantanamo proved its worth?

_45505502_prisoner_ap_226It was born out of the events of September 11th 2001, the day that many people said changed the world forever. It’s without question a place that has caused huge controversy with men being held for years on end, with no trial, and many claiming to have been subjected to horrific torture both at the camp and in other countries around the world as part of extraordinary rendition.

Yesterday the latest detainee was released. Binyam Mohammed was held for four years. The US accused him of involvement in a radioactive “dirty bomb” plot but all terror charges against him were dropped last year. He’s an Ethiopian national, but a British resident and is now back on British soil.

Few people would argue that suspects should be routinely tortured. But should people that the authorities feel do, or could, pose a threat be locked up without trial? Is the safety of the wider public more important than one person’s human rights? If you look at the facts, post 9/11 no further plots came to fruition in the US – is that the result of Guantanamo Bay? Does it prove it works? The Pentagon says one in ten Guantanamo detainees go back to terrorism, is that because 9 out 10 were never involved in terrorist activity or because they’ve turned their back on it?

Guantanamo was after all an unusual response to an unusual time. Did it work, has it kept us safe? And now as the detention camp begins to wind up, does the world need a replacement for Guantanamo Bay?

100 Responses to “On air: Has Guantanamo proved its worth?”

  1. 1 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 24, 2009 at 13:54

    Gitmo was a travesty of American values and ideals from the gitgo.

    While the problem of what to do with current detainees is a thorny one, the camp should be shut down as soon as possibe, people against whom there is evidence of a crime or crimes should be tried in normal US courts, and detainees who are not tried should be returned to their countries of origin, even if there is the possibility of their being tortured in their home countries. What could be worse than Gitmo?

  2. 2 Jerry Cordaro Cleveland OH
    February 24, 2009 at 13:59

    If you think it was intended to make the US a pariah, then yes, it’s more than proved its worth. Otherwise it’s been a colossal waste of time and resources better spent elsewhere.

  3. 3 Bob in Queensland
    February 24, 2009 at 14:01

    Has Gitmo proved its worth? Yes. It was worthless and it’s proved that.

    Seriously, Guantanamo Bay has done nothing to protect America from terrorism but has hugely hurt the international image of America and its allies. How can any country campaign for freedom and democracy when the prove that, in reality, the stand for kidnapping, imprisonment without trial and torture?

  4. February 24, 2009 at 14:12

    James the Kenyan

    Guantanamo Bay has had no success, first it made America be reviled by Arabs and the name itself evoked torture mysteries. The only skewed success i see is, the terrorists have become more motivated to striking Americans interests. How in the world I wonder will become of the guys released from it seeing they now hate America passionately?

  5. 5 Ricardo
    February 24, 2009 at 14:28

    The answer is a resounding YES as long as it is not disbanded now. If the US wavers now all the set goals will unravel and Gitmo won´t have proven its worth.

    To rewind, what were the desired goals upon which to measure its worth?

    Locking up suspected terrorists with no proof: Accomplished

    Depriving the detainees from any human rights such as habeas corpus: Accomplished

    Exacting information with torture hidden from public view: Accomplished

  6. 6 C Clarke-Williams
    February 24, 2009 at 14:29

    Ha Ha.

    Seriously that’s probably the most ridiculous question I’ve ever seen. The detainees are mostly there because the Americans offered a bounty for names of people to arrest. If there is one sort of information that is less reliable than that obtained under torture its that obtained by offering people money to make allegations without having to back them up with any evidence.

    I would suggest that if any Guantanamo detainees have been involved in terrorism since their release it is most likely that they were not beforehand and that what happened in detention radicalised them.

    February 24, 2009 at 14:31


    Initially the base did its work as intended- a collection point for immigrants but of late, most of those released have no charge opened against them thus making the camp a worthless effort perpetrating crimes against humanity.
    Obama’s signing of the order have proved that the camp was up for pro war men and women in past regimes.

  8. February 24, 2009 at 14:38

    Firstly I would not for one minute trust the way that the inmates were rounded up. How could you just put a bounty on ‘insurgents’ and be sure that the Pakistani and Afghanis’ would care too much who they ‘grabbed’ off the streets and what happened to them after they picked up the $5000 or whatever they were paid? That would be like the Germans paying for the heads of the French Resistance in Casablanca. Just what is an insurgent anyway?
    As for having an ‘offshore’ jail? Handy when Red Cross can’t see very easily what is going on? I keep hearing and reading that ‘we are not compliant’ when it comes to the economy. If you voted and you did not ‘protest’ and you sucked up the lifestyle and you did not march on the Capital then you are as compliant in my book. I would shudder to hear, as I did a Senator at the time say “We will keep them till they die’. I heard no protests at the time just revengeful agreement. Finally the issue of whether the jail worked? Did ‘Colditz’ work? You just get anger and revenge and the ripples on the ‘radical pond’ get bigger and bigger. Did no one but McCain ever learn that from ‘history’?

  9. 9 VictorK
    February 24, 2009 at 14:42

    A good and genuinely balanced piece from a Bush-hostile publication.


    Any chance of WHYS getting John Bolton (as terrifying as he is to some journalists) on to balance the probable legion of Clive Stafford-Smith types who’ll be giving their usual?

    I followed the link. Binyam Mohamed’s reasons for being in Pakistan and Afghanistan are pathetically laughable. Even his ‘supporters’ have been silent on that point.

    ‘…does the World need a replacement for Guantanamo Bay?’ It’s not the world that has a problem with Islamic terrorism. The security forces of the countries where Mohamed claims to have been tortured (Morocco, Pakistan, Afghanistan) are sufficiently brutal to deal with terror suspects as ruthlessly as they need. It’s the Western liberal-democracies who find it difficult because of over-civilised scruples. A new legal regime that deals with non-state combatants is what’s necessary.

  10. 10 Luz Ma from Mexico
    February 24, 2009 at 15:08

    What happened in Guantamano Bay (holding people without trial and torture detainees) is a violation of Human Rights and a complete ignorance of the Law (U.S. and International Law). Ends doesn´t justify means. This is not the way to fight terrorism. I am glad Guantanamo Bay is in the process of being close and I hope that there is not such thing as its replacement.

    Extraordinary rendition is the opposite of what the Western Democracies (“the civilized world”) claim to have: liberty, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

  11. 11 gary
    February 24, 2009 at 15:10

    The Guantanamo Bay detention facility remains exceedingly useful; but not to the US. Its establishment clearly symbolized several extraordinarily dangerous ideas: The first, simplest and most foul was, “We will act exactly like you.” This allowed an adversary to dictate our morality. An aspect of this was the introduction of torture (Yes, I know the euphemistic terms, and I know that is exactly what they are; euphemisms.). Using such interrogation techniques states (to an adversary and the world): “We can and will be less moral than are you.” The single most damning statement however, concerns that document those who established the facility claim to hold most dear. It was simply, “We do hereby affirm the Constitution of the United States of America so feeble as to provide an inadequate, or incorrect, outline for its own defense.”

  12. 12 Roy, Washington DC
    February 24, 2009 at 15:17

    Guantanamo is a black mark on our reputation. It is shameful that we even thought about doing that, much less that we actually did it. The USA was founded on the principle of equal justice for ALL people — and yes, this includes people we may not like.

    Even if it did make us a little safer (which I strongly doubt), it came at an unacceptable cost.

  13. 13 Vijay
    February 24, 2009 at 15:34

    As a concentration camp for terrorist suspects ranging from the hardcore to those guilty of thought crimes ,it has worked because they have been out of circulation, neither able to perpertrate terrorist acts nor incite others into doing so .

  14. 14 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    February 24, 2009 at 15:49

    I personally never believed that Guantanamo alone kept the US safe. There are other factors that go along with it. (tigthening up security, forming Homeland Security, etc). But they, the suspects, should not have been locked up and had no trial. I always felt that “innocent until proven guilty” should apply to them, as well. Just because they are accused of being a “suspected” terrorist, does not mean they ARE.

    And torturing them was sheer cruelty. What would it..or DID it..prove? Personally, we should not have a replacement for Guantanamo, either.

  15. 15 Dennis Junior
    February 24, 2009 at 15:51

    I have to agreed with my friend, Luz Ma about the United States did at Guantanamo was in violation of International Law and violations of Human Rights treaties…

    Dennis Junior

  16. 16 Give God a go
    February 24, 2009 at 16:06

    Hi Ros! Coming from a country that detain people without a trial I guess everyone of us tries to keep out of trouble especially if you are not a member of triads or some secret societies. Unlike Gitzmo , there must be solid evidence of association. Crime one not be proven and rehabilitation is administered to reform and publicly renounce their ways but it is can be subjected to abuses. However because of this internal security act [55] organise crime has abated. I still don’t like this law .

  17. 17 Anthony
    February 24, 2009 at 16:08

    Has it proved its worth….like the Zimbabwean dollar. If it has done anything, then the govt. should have done a better job pointing out the pros, opposed to the world noticing the cons.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  18. February 24, 2009 at 16:08

    What worth would that be? It just seemed to be a warehouse for people who considered undesirable and scary. All it seemed to do was tarnish the reputation of the US. So I ask again, what do mean by worth?

  19. February 24, 2009 at 16:10

    If by proving its worth you mean that the deplorable existance of the Guantanimo Bay Prison has exposed the true nature US foreign policy; a policy that has long been out of line with the honorable rhetoric that the US Government espouses to the American public, concerned more with the promotion of the Militray Industrial Complex, and the enrichment of the few, then yes, Git-Mo has proven its worth.  Hopefully this exposure will force the US to bring its foreign policy into line wiht the true beliefs of its citizens: Peace, Freedom, and true Opportunity for all.

  20. February 24, 2009 at 16:11

    No. Guantanemo Bay has been a failure. And will any of those who tortured mostly innocent people ever be held accountable?

  21. February 24, 2009 at 16:12

    What guantanamo has done is creat more enemies for america and make the world a less safe place

  22. 22 archibald in oregon
    February 24, 2009 at 16:22

    Gitmo, gulag, death camp…….all examples of supremely bad ideas in human management. Those responsible should be imprisoned in much the same environment and/or turned over to the mercy of former detainees. Sadly, this is only one of thousands of facilities dealing out misery to its tenants worldwide.

  23. 23 Steve
    February 24, 2009 at 16:31

    For those complaining about Gitmo, would the BBC please get some people who have spent time in Turkish prisons explain their experiences, while we for some reason focus on US jails, where Gitmo is like a country club compared to Turkish prisons?

  24. February 24, 2009 at 16:35

    Has Guantanamo Bay succeeded in ensuring safet of all of us till today? Were all the arrested persons proved to be guilty? Was the culprit Laden arrested? Guilty person must be punished. But the innocent persons? The recognized principle of verdict is let no innocent be punished. Why did authority failed in making evident charge against Bin Mohammed throughout the last 4 years, if he was guilty? Arresting someone just on ground of suspicion can’t be approved. Detention is a barbaric system. Torture conducted in prison on innocent persons is inhuman. What was the aim of that torture? Was the aim achieved at all in the last 4 years?
    If we have a glance over the vivid answers to these questions, we will be able to realize the fact that Guantanamo Bay proved its worthlessness, let alone worth! Solution of terrorism is elsewhere, not forming Guantanamo where innocent peoples are kept without trial years after years in fear of that the accused persons will be proved innocent as happened in Australia with an Indian physician Hanif in near past. God bless us all with the ability of thinking logically.

  25. 25 Peter
    February 24, 2009 at 16:39

    Anyone can suggest a better way to stop terrorism?

  26. 26 Steve
    February 24, 2009 at 16:50

    @ Peter

    No, but people sure do enjoy complaining though.

  27. 27 nelson
    February 24, 2009 at 16:57

    maybe the reason that no one can see how useful it has been is cause it has actually been a success.

  28. February 24, 2009 at 17:02

    Binyam Mohammed is in a trauma.
    It will be a long time before the truth emerges. I sympathise with him but it’s too early to seek any answers about Guantanamo. Anyway, our reaction in the Middle East is muted since torture is routine over here.
    If Guantanamo is to close, why not shut all the dungeons in the Middle East which hold political prisoners, students and unionists?

  29. 29 Edward in Florida
    February 24, 2009 at 17:10

    The rights granted by the US constitution are -human- rights, not just rights granted to US citizens. Many people in this country have a hard time realizing this when dealing with groups they don’t approve of (brown people, homosexuals, non-christians, etc.). Depriving detainees of human rights is -not- an effective way to stop terrorism. More than anything, Gitmo has served as a recruitment tool for young terrorists to join the fight against. . .whatever it is they claim to be fighting against. The severe damage it has caused to America’s reputation across the world far outweighs the benefits of having such an institution.

  30. 30 nelson
    February 24, 2009 at 17:12

    yeah they sure can complain, but most of them don`t that Guantanamo may have just saved their lives

  31. 31 Morf
    February 24, 2009 at 17:14

    I’m not sure how Peter came to the conclusion that GITMO had anything to do with “stopping” terrorism – but it has certainly inspired a whole new generation to hate America and the West.

    GITMO has been the most effective recruiting tool world wide terrorism could have envisioned.

    If the intended purpose was to inflame tensions and provoke hostility around the world and cynicism among American friends and allies, yes it was indeed “Mission accomplished”.

  32. 32 Venessa
    February 24, 2009 at 17:15

    As an American Gitmo has been embarrassing and shown a blatant disregard for basic human rights by our own government. I can’t see how Gitmo has made us any safer. It did demonstrate that we had an administration in place that condoned torture, hid the truth from the American people and was willing to use its power to invade the privacy of citizens in this country.

    Peter ~

    One suggestion: actually try people who have been accused of crimes. Holding them for years without any trial is a misdeed committed by our own government.

  33. 33 nelson
    February 24, 2009 at 17:18

    one can oversee human rights if it involves saving thousands of lives and thats the sad truth.

  34. 34 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 24, 2009 at 17:19

    Might we please give President Obama and the American people who voted for change a vote of confidence? Most Americans posting on the Blog disagree with the whole concept of Gitmo, and want to right the great wrong it represents.

    We shouldn’t let the atrocities of the Bush Administration to blind us to all the good the American Way has done and will do for the world at large. Gitmo happened. It was bad. The wrong is being righted. Get over it.

  35. 35 Matt in Oregon
    February 24, 2009 at 17:31

    The prison worked. Please ask yourself the following:

    If many of these men were falsely arrested than why did so many of them continue their acts of terror after bring released from Gitmo?

    As for human rights violations: Would you rather be in the hands of Daniel Pearl’s (the journalist beheaded in the hands of the Taleban/ Al Qaeda) captours or in the hands of the US in Gitmo?

    The US has tried to return many of these men back to their cuntries. EU countries WON’T take these men back! Europe is using the US to do its dirty work by holding their citizens that have been caught around the world commiting acts of terror.

    So those in the EU if you hate what the US is doing in Gitmo than pressure your government to take back your captured compatriots.

    The question is would you like the US to keep holding people in Gitmo or would you like those men to be returned back to their home countries, particulary Arab staes and China, where they are sure to be either brutally tortured or killed?

    On a legal point, these men do not require trials. They are NOT US citizens and they are not being held inside the United States. Therefore they are not being denied their rights under the US consttution because those rights do not apply to them.

    Gitmo served its purpose and all those who despariage it what would you have done in this situation?

  36. 36 Jared Ombui
    February 24, 2009 at 17:32

    Guantano has success of torture to citizen of earth. The investigations done are insufficient to raise a case against the detainees…

  37. 37 VictorK
    February 24, 2009 at 17:35

    Gitmo made America reviled and hated? By whom? The Muslims who always hated it for supporting Israel? The Latin Americans who have envied its success and resented its interference for decades? The Europeans who have long mostly been treacherous and unreliable allies? The Chinese who dream of overtaking it as a super-power? The Africans who often express loathing for it as part of the world of white, Western, Capitalist imperialism that’s responsible for everything wrong with Africa today? The Western left for whom America has always been the most evil country ever to have existed? Dream on: before Gitmo most of the world resented and hated the US, as it will long after Gitmo is forgotten.

    If people who think Gitmo didn’t work (and Vijay gave some sensible reasons why it did) could also offer constructive suggestions about how best to combat organisations like the Taliban and Al Quaeda, neither of whom care in the slightest for international law, and both of whom are a source of cross-national terrorist violence, then this might be a worthwhile debate, instead of yet another hate- America-fest.

  38. 38 Edward in Florida
    February 24, 2009 at 17:37

    “If many of these men were falsely arrested than why did so many of them continue their acts of terror after bring released from Gitmo?”
    One in ten. One in ten of them “returned” to (or “turned” to) terrorism. This is -not- an impressive statistic.

    People keep saying “what would you do?” or “can you think of a better. . .?”. These questions have been answered by other posts on this very webpage. Since people keep asking them over and over, I’ll re-iterate what others have said. Bring them up on charges and give them a trial. Despite what some people may think, Gitmo -is- US soil. These people -are- being held “inside” the US, legally.

  39. 39 Steve
    February 24, 2009 at 17:47

    For all those complaining about human rights, why are you more outraged by terror suspects being kept in country club conditions but loudly silent when jihadists behead people for not being muslim? Perhaps if we beheaded them you’d complain less?

  40. 40 Anthony
    February 24, 2009 at 17:54

    @ steve

    Because our taxes are paying for Gitmo, our taxes aren’t paying for Jihadists beheadings. The world looks at us for Gitmo, the world doesn’t look at us for the beheadings.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  41. 41 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    February 24, 2009 at 17:59

    @Matt in Oregon:

    “On a legal point, these men do not require trials. They are NOT US citizens and they are not being held inside the United States. Therefore they are not being denied their rights under the US consttution because those rights do not apply to them.”

    Not according to the June 12, 2008 Supreme Court Ruling, which states they ARE protected under the U.S. Constitution. And yes, they do require trials. At least in my opinion.

    And like I mentioned earlier, innocent until proven guilty. Since Gitmo is run by the U.S. Government, clearly they should hold themselves responsible for those they place there.

    Heh..again, this is JUST my opnion 😛

  42. 42 Zainab from Iraq
    February 24, 2009 at 18:00

    Salam alycom
    Well it’s not the point that Guantanamo should be replaced, then what’s the difference …No, it is the system, the rules that were followed in Guantanamo that need replacement.
    “The Pentagon says one in ten Guantanamo detainees go back to terrorism” and i believe the other 9 are either die or go mad out of torture.. this of course proves FAILURE

  43. February 24, 2009 at 18:00

    How did these people get in the hands of the americans to start with?
    Knowing the way the US troops have been treated at the hands of their enemies when captured makes the Getmo experience of these holstle combatants being held there is not even comparible. When the US drags POW’s from Getmo through the streets of Cuba, mutalate their bodies, and burn them in the street, then we will have performed equal attrosities acted out by the people in Mogadishu. How about the raping of female prisoners captured in the first gulf war by the iraqies?
    Did Getmo earn it’s worth to america? Yes, since when does the terrorist obey the Geneva convention? There is no means to be able to compare the numbers of people that the terrorist have endangered, never mind how many of people that they have been either indirectly, or directly the cause of civilian deaths and destruction of property caused by forces who were fighting the terrorist. Hiding among civilian populations terrorist should be the pariahs of every country that they have infested. Why the population dont turn on the terrorist and kill them their own selves is a mystery to me. When the terrorist is dead in the streets just go pick up their weapons and shoot the next on that you see, believe me there will be more dead terrorist in your streets to get the ammo off of their bodies, and they just might get the hell out of your countries.

  44. 44 Steve
    February 24, 2009 at 18:05

    “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t mean what you think it means. Otherwise, NOBODY could be jailed before a conviction. ALL it means is that the burden of proof is on the state to prove guilt, so the defendant could not even mount a defense and still win if the government doesn’t satisfy it’s burden. It doesn’t literally mean they are innocent. If it did, then we couldn’t hold or jail anyone, there would be no bail, etc.

  45. 45 Bruno
    February 24, 2009 at 18:13

    Oh yes Guantanamo proved an invaluable tool.. for terrorists to recruit new fighters.

    I can’t understand why this question is even being asked….

  46. 46 Steve
    February 24, 2009 at 18:14

    @ Anthony

    But even without Gitmo, they would still hate us. And they never seem to look favorable upon us when we help them, remember the Tsunami? Remember how the good will from that lasted a day, but people seem to never forget reasons to hate us?

  47. 47 Tom D Ford
    February 24, 2009 at 18:14

    Remember that many of those Prisoners of War were bought by Bush from people who sold them for money and were not actually terrorists but just people who their neighbors wanted to get rid for a few bucks!

  48. 48 Josh
    February 24, 2009 at 18:16

    Guantanamo Bay is representative of the Bush administration’s characteristic eschewal of international law and disregard for human rights. Keeping a handful of alleged terrorists in judicial limbo has not kept the world safe from terrorism and has only contributed to the idea of the United States in the Muslim world as a hypocritical and tyrannical neocolonialist force. Its closure, and the commencement of transparent trials consistent with international law for those currently imprisoned there, is a complicated but necessary process the Obama administration must carry through in order to reassert the moral superiority of the United States over those who would attempt to influence it through violence.
    Toronto, Canada

  49. 49 Tom D Ford
    February 24, 2009 at 18:17

    Why not build a prison on Bushs’ ranch in Crawford, Texas, and keep them there? After all, Bush “bought” many of those people and so he “owns” them!

  50. 50 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    February 24, 2009 at 18:18


    oh I KNOW what that phrase means…but as usual, sometimes when I write something, it comes out in a way where it is mis-interpreted (a slight flaw on my part..lol)

  51. 51 Steve
    February 24, 2009 at 18:20

    I don’t know the complete numbers, but this article says that 10 detainees released returned to fight.


  52. 52 Troy in New York
    February 24, 2009 at 18:20

    During the atrocities of the Nazi Regime in Germany, Jews were considered threats to the perfect Nazi state. What is the difference between Gitmo and these concentration camps? This terrible place has been used again and again as an American CIA/Pentagon smokescreen to create the “evil” terrorist panic they need in order to do whatever they want in the Middle East. If there really is a “War on Terror”, where is Osama Bin Laden and why wasn’t he imprisoned there? Innocent people have been imprisoned, tortured and scapegoat-ed in order to vilify them and make the U.S. look like the sole keepers of Freedom that we are not. More like wolves in sheeps’ clothing.

  53. 53 Kwaku Antwi-Boasiako, Bangkok, Thailand
    February 24, 2009 at 18:22

    To suggest that Guantanamo Bay has succeeded in preventing terrorism is to assume that either the 500 or so people ever kept in that camp are the only people in the world who might want to harm America and its allies, or that there are any terrorists out there who would be afraid to attack America simply because they are afraid to be sent to Guantanamo Bay if captured. On the contrary, many terrorists are willing to even lose their lives; why would they be afraid of being tortured or whatever may happen to them in Guantanamo Bay?

  54. 54 Venessa
    February 24, 2009 at 18:22

    It is nothing more than a straw man argument for those that assert the conduct in other countries is far worse and that the prisoners of Gitmo have nothing to complain about. How can anyone compare the actions of other countries to the US? I’m pretty sure the US has standards not met by many other countries around the world although Gitmo seriously makes it questionable. Regardless two wrongs don’t make a right. Claiming a moral superiority because there might have been less reprehensible torture methods used in Gitmo is just a disgusting justification.

    Let’s also not forget that these people are being detained by the US government and deserve a fail trial. Would you feel differently if it was your mother/father/sister/brother or someone else close to you whom you knew was innocent but held without trial for years and tortured?

  55. 55 Cameron in Portland, OR
    February 24, 2009 at 18:23

    Correlation does not equal causation. Just because nothing happened while these people were imprisoned doesn’t mean that they are the reason for the lack of violence.

    Guantanamo is an American travesty, we should be ashamed we allowed this to happen in such a so-called progressive country. We need to step back as a country and realize how quickly we sacrifice our ideals in the name of fear.

  56. 56 Ogola Benard
    February 24, 2009 at 18:23

    When ever i read an article about Guantanamo bay, i just find myself laughing! I have a comedy that i keep on watching! Anyhow i think they should be given some rehabilitation and then allowed into society! But the question is – how many innocents were there?

  57. 57 Anthony
    February 24, 2009 at 18:24

    Can anyone state an attack that was stopped with any info from anyone at Gitmo? I may be ignorant when it comes to this subject, but I would have thought it would be all over CNN if that were the case. If anything, I heard about fake info that resulted in money wasted on operations based on false scenarios.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  58. 58 Steve
    February 24, 2009 at 18:24

    The comparison of Gitmo to concentration camps is laughable. MILLIONS of people were systematically murdered, or starved to death, or worked to death, or diseased to death, as a goal to get rid of undesirable groups of people. Is someone going to have the nerve to compare Gitmo to this? I’m curious as to the motives, are you trying to diminish what the nazis did?

  59. 59 Anthony
    February 24, 2009 at 18:25

    @ detainees released returned to fight

    If I was neutral, and some bullies scooped me up and detaineed me for years, I’d prob rise against them when I got out too!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  60. 60 Tommy Atkins
    February 24, 2009 at 18:26

    Would the BBC worldservice please stop referring to the recently released prisoner Binjamin Mohammed as British. He is not. He is Ethiopian, merely resident in Britain.

  61. 61 archibald in oregon
    February 24, 2009 at 18:26

    For the handful of guilty persons in the facility, there were many more innocents held for years. The fact that some who were released went back to a life of militant activity only speaks to the harsh nature of the environment and the fact that it was a failure. I do not know about you , but, if I was wrongfully imprisoned for crimes I did not commit and treated with such inhumanity as has been witnessed at Gitmo, I would find it hard not to want retribution.
    For all those who say that Gitmo worked, have any of you been to prison?

  62. 62 Dan
    February 24, 2009 at 18:27

    We’ll never know how many acts of Islamic terror perpetrated against innocents were prevented because of Gitmo. Those incarcerated are there as they were captured in a battle/threat zone as a combatant.
    These are not nice people but as one would expect, pathological maniacs.
    At some point we have to have some trust in our Government and their decisions.

  63. 63 Steve R in Florida
    February 24, 2009 at 18:38

    GITMO has provided luxury accomodations in a tropical paradise for some of the worst humans on earth. The terrorists housed at GITMO have been provided with clean clothes, sanitary bed space, Halal meals, free healthcare, prayer rugs, and copies of the Koran. This is better treatment than we provide our own homeless citizens.

  64. February 24, 2009 at 18:40

    Isn’t it odd that those who want to keep Gitmo open base all their arguments on “if” or “what if” and their beliefs like “lots of those released when back and started fighting again.”

    Those who want to close Gitmo oddly enough base their opinions on facts and information and that crazy thing called the law.

    Gitmo exists to cover up the Bush failure in Afghanistan just as Abu Grahib existed to cover up the faioure in Iraq.

  65. 65 John
    February 24, 2009 at 18:41

    The credibility of the Bush administration is zero! Every other word out of the pack was a lie and the next word was a half-truth. The war on Iraq has been correctly likened to the US invading Belgium to retaliate for Pearl Harbor. Thus any presumption in favor of the government stand that Guantanamo served any purpose is gone, and any purpose must actually be proven, and it never has been.

    It is open and apprarent that Gitmo is an extra-legal and un-American blight. Close it, burn it to the ground, cover it in cement and walk away.

  66. 66 Cristina
    February 24, 2009 at 18:41

    Somewhat off-topic, but prompted by a current speaker (a former interrogator), must Americans further insult the lands they occupy by mispronouncing the country names in crude & ignorant ways?

    It isn’t “AI-RACK”, it’s Iraq, like ‘Italy”. Really, you’ve been there how long now?

  67. 67 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 24, 2009 at 18:43

    In answer to Ros’ s question as to whether or not non-Americans feel that the whole sorry saga of Gitmo has made them feel safer in a world of terrorism:

    I am an American who has Swiss citizenship and has lived in Switzerland for over 25 years. NOTHING the Bush Administration did made me feel safer from terrorism, quite the opposite.

    The Bushies had a “You’re with us or you’re against us” mentality. The Islamists have the same orientation. Neither world view is of any benefit to the rest of the world. The right-wing ideology of the Bush Administration, and the radical Islamic ideology of Islamic extremists, both amount to neo-Facism.

    We need to resist and ultimately defeat both crazed ideologies.

  68. 68 Tom D Ford
    February 24, 2009 at 18:46

    Here is a reason to keep that prison open; try Bush and Cheney, et al for their War Crimes against the People of Iraq, convict them, and then sentence them to life without parole in Gitmo. That would be a good use of the facility.

  69. 69 Anya
    February 24, 2009 at 18:46

    The idea of detaining people without charges reminds me of the Soviet regime.
    In the Soviet Union government had a term “an enemy of the people”. Once a person was proclaimed to be an enemy of the people he or she was arrested, detained and most of the time never heard again.
    Bush administration has come up with a term “terrorist” or “an enemy combatant”, and they claim that those individuals must not go through the legal process.
    Bush had 8 years in the office to pass more effective law to combat terrorism if he felt, as he claims, that the existing laws were not effective enough. Instead he chose to ignore the laws.

    I am not saying that the process of extraordinary rendition is the same thing as what happened in the Soviet Union. But I see extraordinary rendition as the first step to tyranny.

    l really hope that in a future there will be more investigations in regards of what happened to the people held at Guantanamo Bay and someone will be held accountable if the laws were broken.

  70. 70 Oregonian
    February 24, 2009 at 18:47

    Guantanamo prison and most of the other anti-terrorism policies started by the Bush administration undermined our rule of law and the constitution, international law and duly signed treaties. When the U.S undermines its own laws and constitution, it is showing the world that law does not matter. It is showing anyone and any country or organization that complying with the law and constitution is optional.
    We don’t need a terrorist attack to hurt our way of life; we have done it to ourselves. We need to stand up for our way of life by standing up for our way of life, not by undermining and abetting the terrorists view of the world–that law does not matter–that we have been doing

  71. 71 Fred in Portland OR
    February 24, 2009 at 18:48

    Dear Ros

    As a “point of order” the lack of attacks on U.S. soil is hardly a fair measure of whether or not George Bush “kept the U.S. Safe”. Historically,aside from the attacks on 9/11, only Japan, Canada and Great Britian have successfully attacked the U.S.

    So as reitred U.S. Navy, I’d have to say that, since 9/11 happened on George Bush’s “watch” he’s kept the U.S. less safe than most presidents.

  72. 72 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    February 24, 2009 at 18:48

    Hmm..here’s a question I would love to have answered:

    Let’s assume that Gitmo..NEVER existed, following 9/11. Would we be so naive to think that America or our allies would have been MORE susceptible to attacks?

  73. 73 Philippa
    February 24, 2009 at 18:48

    On an ideological level, Guantanamo Bay has undermined America’s claim that it stands up for the rule of law.
    On a practical level, it has been a factory for creating violent people, along the lines of French banlieues, and other European ghettos for immigrants.
    Human beings are fragile and few could withstand the kind of treatment that has meted out there, and remain human.

  74. 74 Anthony
    February 24, 2009 at 18:49

    I can say that I’ve been praying so that there were no attacks, and there wasnt any, so my praying worked. The same with Gitmo. My praying has just as much proof of keeping the world safe.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  75. 75 Praveen K
    February 24, 2009 at 18:50

    I am sick of hearing the argument put forth by the author of the blog Black and Right that giving the prisoners a fair trail would threaten American intelligence services. What if Americans were held without trial for years and allegedly tortured by some other country — how long would it take for that person and a whole other bunch of people with similar arguments come out screaming? Some of these prisoners are most probably guilty; so bring forth the evidence and punish them in full view of the public — not in 5-10 years, but immediately. I am sorry, but the burden of proof lies with the US Govt; the longer they stonewall the process, the more they will earn the mistrust of the world.

  76. 76 Maurice in Portland
    February 24, 2009 at 18:50

    The reality is that there is no way to determine whether Gimo effectively served the U.S. by preventing further acts of terrorism. The battle field can easily determine combatants from non-combatants when ALL combatants wear the uniform of their army. It is so easy for sitting in the comfort of their arm chairs and secure in the knowledge that their loved ones are safe to insist that a battle field can be treated like a crime scene. The U.S. as well as the Geneva Convention were designed for uniformed armies of countries, not civilians who could fire a weapon and walk away without their weapon when threaten by capture.

    The question has always been and will remain what level of risk America is willing to accept through its policies. I wonder how the Americans screaming for Gimo to be closed would feel this way if their loved ones were actually harmed.

  77. 77 Norbert
    February 24, 2009 at 18:51

    Guantanamo Bay represents a victory for the terrorists since they succeeded in making us to violate the principles that were central to the constitution that founded the country.

    Camp Delta should be closed, and if you really want to keep the people there from attacking the U.S., bring them to the U.S. and put them up in a very nice house and give them lots of money. If they are in jeopardy of losing something, then they will not likely give all that up to live in a combat zone or commit suicide.
    Right now, the lives of these people have been destroyed and they harbour a great deal of anger against the U.S. It’s more surprising that all of the released inmates haven’t moved to terrorism, than that only a few of them have.
    If we unjustly incarcerate people in the U.S. they get a sizeable settlement for the years that they’ve lost. The same should apply to the largely innocent population of Camp Delta.

  78. 78 Jason in Portland, Oregon
    February 24, 2009 at 18:53

    I find it a preposterous idea that former persident Bush was kept this country more safe because of his actions, and by extention Guantanamo being a part of that, as proof because we were not attacked again while he was in office.

    What I do not hear people saying to disprove this supposed theory is that we can use the same logic by saying that we had no domestic attacks while Bill Clinton was in office after the Oklahaoma City bombing because he was “doing something”.

    This logic is not quantifiable by just saying something didn’t happen and therefore it is so.

  79. 79 Troy in New York
    February 24, 2009 at 18:55

    to Steve…


    My comparison to the Nazis was that their immense atrocities were unjustified and the world has acknowledged this. Gitmo, although not as massive in scale, is still unjustified, inhumane and atrocious.
    Intense humiliation, torture and gross disregard for Geneva convention equates it with a concentration camp-like violence, in my mind, albeit without actual murder.

    As far as “diminishing what the Nazis did”…I think we will never progress towards understanding and peace when we compare atrocities. What the Nazis did was unspeakably wrong and what we have done at Gitmo is equally wrong, in the name of the “defense” of our state. The Holocaust should never be forgotten. It does not, however, diminish the suffering, pain and murder of those Jews — AND gays, lesbians and others who suffered at the hands of the Nazis — to examine the Holocaust in the same light with other wrongful acts against humanity.

    Just because we are Americans, we do not have the corner market on freedom, liberty and democracy. If we did, we would be doing things quite differently…hopefully with the closing of Gitmo we are on the right track.

  80. February 24, 2009 at 18:55

    My fear is that maybe Bush has created more terrorism in the near future rather than while Guantanamo was in operation. by the fact that if we have another attack it could seem that Bush was correct which may make American public think that Democrats can’t keep us safe. That might turn the public to a Republican candidate in four years…. When in fact it may be Bush’s lingering influence in this horrible chapter of our history.

  81. 81 Mukul, Parsippany NJ
    February 24, 2009 at 18:56

    The debate asks “Has Gitmo proved its worth?”. What if it has, will you recommend this model elsewhere?

  82. 82 Brian in Cleveland
    February 24, 2009 at 18:56

    The question of whether gitmo has proved its worth is hard to answer. Just saying in the past 7 or 8 years America hasn’t been attacked is the wrong way to look at it. For years, before 9/11 and gitmo, there were no foreign attacks on the US mainland. So, does this mean our policy was working before the prison camp and having the camp is irrelevant? Yes, we stopped those persons at the camp from attacking any country, assuming those detained are terrorists, but that does not stop those still on the outside from inflicting harm.

  83. 83 Melissa
    February 24, 2009 at 18:56

    Thank you Ross for interjecting when that woman compared detainees to dolphins! I wonder how she’d feel if one of her relatives were mistaken for a terrorist or a threat to America and was sent to Guantanamo under false pretense.

  84. 84 Tom D Ford
    February 24, 2009 at 18:56

    Ros, the Bush government was warned that the attacks of 911 were coming and Bush chose to ignore those warnings!

  85. 85 jade
    February 24, 2009 at 18:57

    After 911, detainees were rounded up to put them out of circulation – just in case (they are guilty). We wonder how they were picked up. Were they picked up by competent intelligence supported by knowledge in foreign languages & cultures? How many disasters had been prevented & how many recruits had been converted due to what happened at the facility? Guess we will never know. Question is: what to do with the survivors? Criminals can blame childhood abuse when they kill someone who look like their abusers. In court, they may gained sympathy. Humans are the same everywhere. Someone mentioned terrorists are driven by hatred and cannot reason as normal human beings. How about some awareness and respect for a foreign culture?

  86. 86 Dan Hortsch, Oregon
    February 24, 2009 at 19:00

    Ros and others on “World Have Your Say” are to be commended for their handling of the discussions. Your methods of moderating are fair and thoughtful, and that includes how you handle criticisms of what you do. Keeping a discussion civil and useful to all is not easy. You are skilled as well as well informed. Thank you.

  87. 87 Philippa
    February 24, 2009 at 19:02

    I am astonished by Ros’s insistence on Bush having to do something, as though there were/are no tools available for action. We have the rule of law. When exactly did the rule of law become a problem?

  88. February 24, 2009 at 19:10

    That was a wonderfully open-minded, considerate, thoughtful, detailed, heartfelt, and courageous- yes, courageous- apology to the (woman) person in Tualatin (And yes, it was the correct pron.-) from a (man) person who displayed, in that moment, the most important qualities that will be necessary for almost all human beings to display if we are to be able to peacefully coexist on this planet (and others?) in as much harmony as can be created.

    Why courageous?

    That he did it
    (as a male)
    that he did it on air
    (in public, therefore much more open to ridicule from those who “don’t get it–”).

    Bravo, truly, BRAVO!!

    And thank you.

    Very much.

  89. 89 suzann
    February 24, 2009 at 19:10

    I have been listening with a sense of incredulity.
    The image of America has been destroyed by
    Gitmo. People compare it to Nazi Concentration Camps.

    Which world are you living in?

    The idea that America could operate something
    like Gitmo would have been totally discarded in
    2000 as so far beyond possibility.

    All it took was the terrorist attack which did not
    only destroy buildings and took lives, but ended
    all pretense of justice, liberty, freedom.

    All it took was one attack, and America became
    as repressive, as any dictatorship.

    It proved that America only lives up to the principles
    it claims to defend when there is no challenge.

  90. 90 Maurice in Portland
    February 24, 2009 at 19:11

    I really do not care what the world thinks of America. America, like very country in the world has to act in the best interest of America. Russia has repeatedly violated international laws in persuit of its interest as has Israel, China, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, etc. America has the same responsibility irrespective. America has always been to concerned with whether or not the rest of the world liked them. Since World War II America has carried more than its share of world responsiblity. Its time for America to step down and allow the rest of the world to sink or swim. There is no reason America needs to be a world leader. We can actively participate in the world as a member. The cost of such leadership is now far to high and the world far too unappreciative and quick to blame America for not meeting their expectations.

    The guest in London from New York can easily advocate for people whom he knows little or nothing about. The 17 Chinese were not capture in China but on a battle field. The fact that they were training to fight against China does not make them less of a terrorist. Should other countries give terrorist a free pass because their target is America and not their country? Let him put on a uniform and march onto a battle field and test his ability to identify who shot at him, blew the brains out of the solider next to him, survive a fiire fight and collect the evidence. Then he can talk about what’s possible on the battle f

  91. February 24, 2009 at 19:15

    I am hearing two problems.
    1.) the people captured by US troops are not american’s, and the crimes being commited are not commited in america.
    2.) these crimes are acts of war, and are a military matter not a civil matter. Therefore, there is no possible way for the american federal justice system would have any say in the matters of armed military conflict. Futhermore, the crimes can not be investegated under normal methods used to establish evidence, or to prove innocence or guilt of the accused. The only hebus corpus that can be established is the death of the counties where the terrorist are captured.
    Why not turn them over to the Cuban authorities and let them sort it out and act in accordance with their justice system?
    Giving them to the Cubans makes as much sense as trying them in the american courts.
    Since their countries of origin do not want them back the have become persona non gratia. People without countries. In the case of the one who can be sent back to their countries it is not of any concern to the american government what happens to them when they are returned.
    Let us tend to only our responsiblities and to not be involved with the legal happenings elsewhere. Civil law is a very different matter than Millitary justice. That is why the systems are kept seperate, and do attempt to mix back and forth.

  92. 92 Christian in Camarillo CA
    February 24, 2009 at 21:33

    If you want to stop terrorism, stop hunger, stop oppression, spread education, spread goodwill, use the 1 Trillion dollars we spent invading Iraq to better the lives of the Palestinians – then you will see terrorism against the US fall way down.

  93. February 25, 2009 at 09:15

    The setting up of the guantanamo detention facility is one of the most memorable blunders of George .W.Bush and his inept and incompetent administration.It has ,indubitably,done more harm than good.It has severely tarnished the US,s international image and has fuelled Jihadism and fanaticism.So,I think it has not done any good for the US and must be closed down as quickly as possible.

  94. 94 Marge
    February 25, 2009 at 11:46

    Has Gitmo proved its worth? What a great opportunity for all the America haters to have a shout. Where are the Human Rights protesters when the beheadings, stoning and beating squad are in action? I never hear a sound. But regarding the detainees at Gitmo, the Law is tediously slow – oh yes, send Binyam Mohammed back to his country of origin, don’t inflict him on the British.

  95. 95 Peter
    February 25, 2009 at 14:38

    The release of Mohamed is a clear indication of Guantanamo. How many more innocent have suffered and are suffering.
    The situation there proves That BUSH has been a bundle of contradictions.
    One in TEN presidents may behave like Bush. But that does not mean all American presidents need psychiatric treatment.

  96. 96 Peter
    February 26, 2009 at 07:03

    Has any one tried to stop the cause of terrorism.Terrorism begins with some injustice caused to an individual or a community by a government or a society. .For instant the so called terrorism started in Sri lanka after the Tamils having tried all peaceful methods available from 1948 to 1972, .Every peaceful agitation was met with guns and torture of those who participated in the agitations. After 1972 violence of the government was met by violence of the Tamils.When the government forces bombs and shell the civilians, the armed groups get hold of what ever weapons they could and use all possible means to hit back.
    Unfortunately when government kills a section of their citizens who are fighting for equal rights, it is termed Nationalism . But when the discriminated community resist it, it is called terrorism,.
    The international community looks on until the affected community is maimed,Murdered and manhandled to offer their help with reluctance and without adequate remedy.. Every country wants fill up their pockets at the expense of the Under Dog.

  97. 97 Pirabee
    February 26, 2009 at 11:57

    Oh I get it! You only publish those who say what you at BBC want the world to hear to hear.I can imagine the hordes of others whose opinions have been thrown down the bin at BBC.Ah,then we begin to think those who hate America and the west are in the majority.Cute BBC.Keep it up.Your hypocrisy stinks to the highest heavens.Henceforth is my confidence in you lost forever!!!

  98. 98 smithcopper
    February 27, 2009 at 07:18

    Clinton started rendition. No one complained about til Bush took office. And Obama is not getting rid of it.

  99. 99 john in Germany
    February 27, 2009 at 15:10

    Hello Pirabee.
    Whats your problem friend?. No one is against your opinion,maybe just the way you intend to spread it. If you are not happy with the way you are treated then go to another forum.
    At one point in my time here i was torn between stopping or going. because i felt a American club was running, no matter what one wrote, no answers. just the next member of the click with his or her answers to the person before-but not to my opinion. I even blamed the time difference. This has now got “better” in Brackets because the Boys and Girls at BEEB have gently put it right. Still a bit elitist but better than 9 months ago.

    You see we are not all graduates from some university, some of us have just years of living, watching, taking part in cold wars, trying to ward of terrorist attacks and so on. It counts, of course it does. and it is more worth than some people think, it just sounds different.

    So dont get upset, cool down, try and be relaxed when you write, and not of on a soap box in some speakers corner.


  100. 100 Dodoy
    March 5, 2009 at 10:24

    The most horrible thing about Guantanamo is that there are people who support it!

    the misuse of terms and the stupidity of maneuver Human rights by using the word “act of war” to arrest civilians calling them “irregular fighters” of “illigal fighters”

    most of the arrested people in Guantanamo where fighting the american invasion of Afghanistan, so they are according to the international law “legal fighters” who should be delt with according to the international law that the american ignore all the time!

    9/11 is a 100% american problem that the rest of the world has nothing to do with.. It is the bad policies of US administrations that lead to 9/11. and yet there are people who are ready to elect a war criminal like G.W Bush again!

    this realy shows that it is not the Bush administration, it is a criminal mentality that some americans have that will lead to more 9/11s

    when the american believe that non-americans are as human as they are and deserve to have freedom and justice, then terrorism will stop!

    I know that BBC will not publish this, but it is a normal thing for a western massmedia!

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