“Guantánamo to close”? Did I miss something? Is Dick Cheney dead?


As wild rumors of Guantánamo’s imminent closure spread like a mutant virus through the world’s media, courtesy of the Associated Press –- with Time’s White House Likely Closing Gitmo gaining my award as the most audacious of the hundreds of headlines parroting the AP’s original release –- my own take is that the only conceivable way that Guantánamo will be closing soon –- with the remaining 379 prisoners transferred to US custody on the mainland –- is if Dick Cheney is actually dead, and no one has bothered to tell us.

While life still beats in Cheney’s body I cannot imagine that he would countenance transferring prisoners to the mainland, where they would be unbearably close to hordes of interfering lawyers and their outrageous demands for habeas corpus rights and due process. The Military Commissions may have taken a massive hit two weeks ago, but the whole purpose of last autumn’s Military Commissions Act –- reestablishing the Commissions and stripping the Guantánamo detainees of their habeas rights –- was to ensure that the only kind of court that any of the detainees would ever face would be of the kangaroo variety: one that guaranteed that they would be found guilty of whatever they were accused of –- regardless of whether these accusations came from the coercion or torture of themselves or others –- and that neither they nor their lawyers would be allowed to demonstrate, in any way whatsoever, that coercion or torture had ever been used.

Closing Guantánamo would shatter the viability of Cheney’s all-consuming and malevolent dream: that a brand-new judicial system, based on unfettered executive power, can be used to condemn to life imprisonment –- and perhaps even execution –- anyone that the President thinks is guilty. I’d love to discover that the whole rotten edifice is about to crumble, but I’m pretty sure that Dick Cheney’s still alive.

For more on Guantánamo, see my book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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