Before going into any details of this debate, one thing that should be clarified is that terrorism is clearly not new to this world, but the response of developed countries to these criminals and non-state actors has become much more complicated. One of the ways to deal with the detainees is the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. It’s operated by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo of the American Armed Force in Cuba. The sole purpose of having this facility is to “take care of” the terrorist suspects captured in the US War on Terror, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. Knowing this fact, this debate definitely comes down to whether the detainees are being treated fairly and the reasons why the US should and will be beneficial for them to close the Guantanamo Bay. Keeping that in mind, on January 22, 2009, President Obama ordered the controversial prison camp at Guantanamo Bay closed within a year.
All the Yes points:
- Guantanamo Bay Violates Fundamental Human Rights.
- Guantanamo Bay’s Lack of Transparency Counters American Interests.
- Guantanamo Bay is a Symbol of Muslim Discrimination that Fuels Terrorist Sentiments
- Gauntanamo Bay is detrimental to foreign relations for United States.
All the No points:
- Need of Information
- Possibility to Reform
- Shift of the Problem
- Release is not the Solution
- Principle of security
- Consequences of Closure or Continuation
- Czech Republic 2011: Summary
Guantanamo Bay Violates Fundamental Human Rights.
GB is essentially a detention center for suspected terrorists and those who are considered enemies of the US. What is key to underline is the word ‘suspected’. Of these so called terrorists, very few or none of them have actually been proven guilty and only one out of 172 current detainees has been given a trial. [[http://www.reprieve.org.uk/publiceducation/guantanamostats/]] Furthermore these so called prisoners of wars are not being treated according to the international laws for prisoners of war, because the US has not officially declared war, they only give the name of war on terror.UNDHR, Articles 6 and 10
“Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law” and
“Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him”.
Thus, the American government is violating two of the most fundamental human rights.
Unfortunately, these are not the only two rights being violated at GB. It has become clear in the past few years, that US has been using ‘interrogation techniques’ on prisoners that resemble torture. In fact, a UN report recently stated that the prisoners were forced to endure cruel and degrading treatment, even to the point of death. Several autopsies performed on the bodies of GB prisoners have confirmed homicide. The Int Red Cross report on GB revealed that prisoners exhibited signs of sleep deprivation and that there were several signs of physical abuse, a witness even reported the slamming of prisoner’s heads against the wall. [[http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/30/politics/30gitmo.html?_r=2]] The detainees are not allowed outside visits and are held for extended periods of time in solitary confinement, which can be very difficult to bear mentally. Prop sees that undeniable human rights violations are occuring, which we find completely unacceptable.
Not only did the proposition fail to show why is it necessary to close GB, it has also misunderstood historical facts. A few of the prisoners have been convicted of various crimes including providing material support for terrorism or celebrating terrorist attacks. As of May 2011, president Obama reversed the provisional order halting new military charges against detainees and therefore the number is expected to grow as there are no more legal obstacles and Obama himself encourages it. Also, the reports of physical abuse put forward by the proposition come from 2004 and there has been none since then and conditions are believed to be better than at US prisons [[http://goo.gl/JfzWF]].
As for the War on Terror, the argument that POWs are not treated correctly because no war is taking place, is also false. According to the US Constitution, any kind of hostilities against a foreign nation must be approved by Congress. Both Iraqi and Afghan War were approved, thus it may be legally considered as a war conflict. Hence, the US may be imprisoning GB inmates until the conflict is over and, unlike the prop suggests, their rights are ensured. Thanks to the presence of the Intl Red Cross, health of the prisoners is being constantly monitored [[http://goo.gl/jfKgH]] to make sure nobody dies due to inappropriate treatment or on-site conditions.
Neither party in this debate commends torture if it happened at GB. Still, it can be clearly seen that the situation is getting better and there is not a single reason to close down such a sophisticated facility only because of a few instances of bad treatment. Rather, all resources should be devoted to further improvement so that GB can serve as an ideal place for potentially dangerous suspects. We can see that things are already improving in these days. Thorough investigations of inmates’ crimes are taking place, many of the suspects have been released. In the end, we see no reason to shut down something that works and is reforming.
Guantanamo Bay’s Lack of Transparency Counters American Interests.
GB undemocratically burdens US citizens in terms of both liberties and finances. What is worse than inhumane actions conducted at GB is that the Pentagon has been reluctant to allow the Red Cross or other aid agencies to visit the detainees and inspect their living conditions. If there were no scrutiny to investigate any situations that are made within that place, there is no boundary to limit the actions of soldiers in a sense that interrogation wouldn’t build up to harming the individual’s rights. “In 2002, Executive Order that the detainees at GB should be treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, ‘to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity.’ [[http://writ.news.findlaw.com/mariner/20061122.html?ref=jauin.da.ru]] Since investigations can’t be made in camps, the documents do not detail the controversial techniques used to obtain information from detainees. This is why there is a concern over the admissibility of evidence collected during torture. Human Rights Watch has obtained an unredacted copy of al-Qahtani’s interrogation log, and believes that the techniques used during al-Qahtani’s interrogation were so abusive that they amounted to torture. Since US has been a leader of human rights internationally, it will be contradictory for the govt to allow these kind of human right violation, especially secretly. Ultimately, secrecy and isolation of GB would eventually encourage further acts of violence. Moreover, citizens have no right in what their tax money is being spent on—which is often times through undemocratic methods. The fact that they don’t know where the money goes makes it undemocratic because informed decisions are a principle of the democratic process. US citizens must have the right to know how their tax money is spent, especially if it is spent on human rights violation. When this is not made, what is the use of holding a detainee camp that goes against the country that is in charge of the institution?
First of all, the point that GB’s existence is undemocratic as not all information can be revealed to the public cannot stand for the very reason it is not the way how democracy in the US works. It is not a direct democracy where citizens make all the decisions regarding internal and external policies; it is a representative system. Therefore, voters elect others to take care about national security, military etc. Faith is put into the elected that they can make reasonable and educated decisions. In the same way, our representatives must ensure utmost security of the people, which could not be effectively done if secret information were made public. Knowing that taxpayers’ money is used for protection is enough to request, we are not limiting individual rights by not disclosing confidential matters.
In addition to that, some argue that GB is, contrary to the popular belief, one of the most open detention camps in the world [[http://goo.gl/BpSUs]] allowing access to journalists who ultimately monitor the way how inmates are being treated. As of 2007, more than 1,000 reporters, the most significant guarantors of democracy, visited GB. The International Red Cross has, as stated above, access to the facility and it may even interview the inmates regarding their conditions [[http://goo.gl/5sc6J]].
When we consider the resumed military trials that acquitted a great number of detainees in past [[http://goo.gl/3SBgL]] and the fact that the facility is not on US soil, we have to acknowledge that violent interrogation techniques may have been used.
Still, the government did so in order to ensure maximum safety of its people, which is its Constitutional obligation. It cannot be revealing every detail of the procedure at GB even if they do not seem acceptable to the Western culture, but the end justifies the means. Provided the willingness of the current administration to change, we do not agree with shutting down GB.
Guantanamo Bay is a Symbol of Muslim Discrimination that Fuels Terrorist Sentiments
Anti American sentiments have been growing drastically in the Arab world, resulting in protests, complaints and terrorist attacks. The supporters of anti Americanism stated that they believe that the US is very condescending towards their culture and lifestyles, constantly trying to ignore their belief systems to impose its own ways of living upon them.[[ http://goo.gl/GKNxG%5D%5D The clash of cultures led to thousands of deaths in numerous terrorist attacks and thousands more in the WOT.
“The Guantanamo facility holds detainees from 30 countries. 94% of Yemenies comprise the plurality-more than one third- of the population. More than 70% of the detainees are citizens of Middle Eastern and North African nations.”[[http://goo.gl/knHBg]] As we prove in our 1st contention, great human rights violations go on in GB. The conditions of GB are said to resemble those of Abu Ghraib (AG), a precedent of GB that was forced to shut down after grotesque harassment was proven to have taken place. A detention centre that also held a population of mainly Middle Eastern citizens, AG specifically designed its tortures and punishments to target the inmates’ religious beliefs, such as forcing them to violate the strict rule against homosexuality.
With so many similarities to AG, GB is considered to be a symbol of Muslim discrimination in the Arab world. Thus, the mere existence of GB offends the great Middle Eastern population. No matter how effective or transparent GB were to be, it is still seen as a way to legitimize and justify the Muslim discrimination that is already so prevalent throughout the US.
Ultimately, keeping GB will increase anti Americanism and increase terrorism. This will be increasingly dangerous to the hegemony and security of the US, and endanger the lives of thousands more. It is very ironic that the US is spending so much money, time and effort, and killing innocent civilians in the War of Terror while it is fuelling the very cause of terror.
Firstly, our line needs to be made clear. We don’t like humiliation and strong physical or psychological treatment which can seriously harm prisoners, but in some cases harshness is needed to obtain important information. That was our main point. Additionaly, in our 2nd point we have shown that even if this wasn’t true, GB could still be reformed instead of closing.
Proposition supposes that GB brings hatred towards the US and basically is its cause, but it was established only after the WOT started in 2001.
Terrorists go against US because they want to, GB is just a pretext. Fanaticism does not have roots in solidarity – attackers don’t blow up buildings in order to free innocent people held in GB. Terror has roots elsewhere: internal problems in the country [[http://goo.gl/JSAA8]], psychological problems of the youth such as narcissism and lust for media attention [[http://goo.gl/9Y0eS]]. Most importantly there are radical Imams who cement their position and power through hate.
GB and AG are not alike. GB is an institution for detainment of suspected terrorists and trying to get information from intelligence, whereas AG was a regular prison for Iraqi petty criminals where two sadistic guards, Charles Graner and Lynndie England, did horrible abuse.
GB issue is not an ethnic or religious one, it is not a concentration camp for Muslims. Who is to be put there is not decided according to his origin or faith [[http://goo.gl/XGsDQ]] , the determining factor is whether he represents a global danger. Saying that we are against Arabs since they make the majority of the inmates is a logical fallacy. If Arab detainees are the most common, then it means that terrorism is coming from this region – and US task is not to ignore it. We don’t agree with US discriminating against the Arab world, but we stand for US rights to protect itself.
The prop is saying that when somebody attacks us, we should stay calm in order not to provoke further anger, hoping to be l
Gauntanamo Bay is detrimental to foreign relations for United States.
It is evident that GB does not meet international standards of handling their detainees and therefore frowned upon by numerous nations such as Britain, France, and Germany.[[http://goo.gl/8uqMl]] Especially Muslim communities dislike GB for their disrespect for Muslim prisoners and for their religion within the center. [[http://goo.gl/wrkKz]] As mentioned in C3, this can negatively fuel terrorism, opposite of the US’s initial incentive. US is one of the western liberal democratic countries who support democracy, freedom and human rights globally. However, GB violates fundamental human rights and this distorts US’s reputation and its image of a role model for other countries to follow. This results in many negative outcomes for the US. First of all, they lose their international authority to request other countries to stop violation of human rights. Prop would like to remind there were/are wars where US fought simply for protection of human rights in other countries. Continuing to keep GB is going against their constitutional values that the US were found upon, and makes what US fought for meaningless. Also this hurts the US’s trade relationships with western countries who do not support GB, which is obviously not in the interests of the country. Most importantly, keeping GB is one of the US’s effort to win WOT. In order to win this war, the US needs international support. It is problematic because US is carrying out human rights violation they exactly oppose by declaring war on terror, and therefore is going to lose the support they need to win this war if GB continues to exist. UN, along with many other organizations such as Amnesty Int and HumanRightsWatch have already called on US to close down the center. John McCain
“Ultimately, [whether to close down GB or not] is about morality. We are America, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard. That is what is really at stake.” [[http://goo.gl/EeWYi]]
In our first argument, we clearly proved that a facility like GB is needed to ensure global security and that its maintaining should be of high priority to the US. We regret the iniquities which might have happened. The fundamental thing that has not been tackled by our opponents, however, is the possibility to reform and to denounce the past events.
The proposition has been trying to convince us that since the US is a model of freedom and righteousness for many, it should not engage in acts that violate fundamental HR. Nonetheless, before taking HR of others into account, we have to deal with those who infringe upon our own rights of freedom and security or potentially put our people’s lives at stake. Only then can morality be discussed.
Furthermore, the proposition has omitted the fact that WoT is not only a matter of the US itself. Basically, the whole world is concerned with security and no country wishes to watch its soil being attacked. That is why it is almost impossible for a major opposition to the GB concept to appear in the future. Rather than being against themselves by insisting on immediate closure of the camp, they should cooperate with the US to reform it as much as possible, exactly as we stress. If it is fulfilled, trials are resumed and prisoners are treated properly, international relations of the US will not worsen as they are based on pragmatism rather than on idealism. Of course everyone would love to live without terrorism but that is not the case, sadly.
Another sad thing is that HR violations can be expected in a war; it is only decisive how the offender faces his mistakes and prevents them next time. To put it straight once again, we say that shutting down GB is neither strategic nor effective especially when done immediately as the motion says.
Three main clash areas in this debate seems to be:
1. Safety of US
2. Impact on US regarding international communities
3. Human rights – justification of torture.
Opp’s main argument about US’s national security was release of detainees will be dangerous. Prop isn’t planning on releasing detainees to normal streets of US right away; they will be trialed and held in other prisons or other countries that are willing to accept them. If proven guilty, the detainees may be transferred to other detention centers as it was done after Abu Ghraib shut down. On the other side, GB serves as a fuel for anti-american sentiments and encourages terrorism. Especially explained in our C3, discrimination against Muslims, whether “GB is a Muslim concentration camp” or not, thru disrespect of their religion provides more incentives for terrorists.
Secondly, existence of GB isn’t in the best interests of the US. It runs contrary to US’s constitutional beliefs and democracy that US is trying to pursue globally. Violations of human rights are common in GB –opp conceded that some measures were ‘unjustifiable’- and thus many countries are calling upon US to close down the facility. Britain, France and Germany for instance are offering to take in detainees if that were to encourage abolishment of GB. Opp failed to engage our argument about US losing support in WOT and in trade with other countries that do not support GB.
Opp believes that torture can be justified but prop sees that the issue is not just about retracting information, but shaking the fundamental framework that western liberal democratic countries wish to spread. Especially HC is one right granted to every individual on earth, yet not to the detainees. Prop wants to make it clear once again that torture is not only unjustified but ineffective. It was the oppositions’ burden to prove the full effectiveness of a facility as cruel as GB, but we haven’t seen a solid example except for two minor terrorist attacks being prevented. The fact is, terrorism doesn’t stop or halt if you prevent a couple of incidents and torture detainees. The situation simply gets worse. Opp stated that GB isn’t the cause of terrorism, but it doesn’t stop terrorism either unfortunately. Prop proved that terrorism further worsens through our third contention, but opp’s burden of GB’s advancement towards stopping terrorism was never met.
Prop’s burden throughout this debate was to prove that GB’s harms outweighed benefits. The harms we introduced were: Human rights violation, GB’s lack of Transparency is undemocratic, GB fuels terrorist sentiments and GB harms US’s global reputation/authority. Opp’s burden was to prove that their benefits of GB still supported its existence. Their main benefits were torture, and isolation of GB and we believe that they failed in explaining why these benefits are unique to GB and why these benefits outweigh the harm.
Need of Information
The opposition wants to be realistic instead of idealistic. The War on Terror started 10 years ago and from that time we live in permanent fear. Bombers are not uniformed, they live as normal civilians, which makes any suspicion impossible. The security measures are extremely complicated and not realistic thanks to our limited resources, i.e. protecting every single subway station, public place or institution, as we could see in Madrid in 2004. These measures limit freedoms of citizens due to scanning, monitoring communication etc.To protect our civilians and to guarantee security, we need to have information about terrorist’s steps from inside, for which we need GB. The information about planned attacks are perfectly secured and the human factor is one of the ways to get it. We don’t agree with humiliating techniques and we call for their punishment. On the other hand, we admit that sometimes more radical steps are needed. GB prisoners are not chosen arbitrary. They are detained and questioned for secret information which can help us to prevent other attacks.
Leon Panetta, CIA Director, has said “Important information was gathered from there detainees. It provided information that was acted upon.” [[http://goo.gl/UO7Na]] The words are confirmed by John Brennan, Obama’s security advisor: “Enhanced interrogation techniques were necessary to keep America safe” [[http://goo.gl/5ryq1]]
The detainees will not voluntarily share the information. Therefore, methods of putting them to unpleasant situations are necessary to disclose the truth. With this information, we are able to impose security measures to protect innocent people. The planned attack on Heathrow Airport using hijacked planes in 2003 or on several targets in Karachi in Pakistan has been prevented [[http://goo.gl/FsTGJ]] . Other prevented attack on the tallest building in LA, California, can just confirm this [[http://goo.gl/O8iRD]] .
To conclude, we see GB as essential measure to protect us.
First off, let’s look which side is the real idealistic one. The opposition claims the effectiveness of Guantanamo Bay through the information the United States can get from questioning the detainees. However, they have completely missed out the realistic part of the story. Military reports admit that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been thrown or dropped on the ground or thrown against walls as a mean of physical abuse, which have been further clarified in our first contention. Sadly enough, the conditions in Guantanamo Bay are not as smooth as the opposition assumes, and therefore the true reality of Guantanamo Bay would go towards the proposition side. Now the real issue kicks in whether those ‘tortures’ that are unbearable for the detainees at the camp are even effective at all. “Torture during interrogations rarely yields better information than traditional human intelligence, partly because no one has figured out a precise, reliable way to break human beings or any adequate method to evaluate whether what prisoners say when they do talk is true,” Rejali wrote in a 2004 article on Salon.com. [[http://goo.gl/E4DZO]] Therefore, although the opposition tries to put Guantanamo Bay as a great place to extract information from detainees and secure the world from terrorism, it is no better than another prison of deadly tortures that don’t even work as effective. Yet another issue exists whereas innocent people are held. “Documents from CIA revealed that 150 Guantanamo Bay prisoners were innocent but the US government kept them locked up for years anyway, The Daily Record informs.” [[http://goo.gl/vgWi0]] Realistically, when tortures don’t even work on guilty detainees, what can the US government get from innocent prisoners? Opposition has put forward some stories of prevented terrorist attacks from Guantanamo Bay but the results compared to the efforts through deadly tortures are not even comparable.
Possibility to Reform
Even if the interrogation techniques in GB would not be justifiable, it is not a necessary reason for closing it. GB has perfect strategic and security conditions, which creates it one of the best prisons. It is located on an island which makes it easy to guard and impossible for detainees to escape. Moreover, detainees can be perfectly isolated, which creates the war against terrorism effective. The investments done in recent years [[http://goo.gl/NAm0v]] improved the security even more and closure would be waste of resources.
In that case we can improve transparency of the facility and still be able to use it. GB is quite transparent even today, though: the Red Cross can access it and more than 1,000 journalists have visited it. “In the history of warfare, there has probably never been a detention center more transparent than Guantanamo Bay.” [[http://goo.gl/j2Ati]] Moreover, “there have been no serious allegations of abuse for a long time and prisoners have access to lawyers and and the federal courts oversee habeas corpus cases.” [[http://goo.gl/6QThz]] Journalists would be encouraged to examine the situation leaving no more doubts about what is actually happening behind the walls of GB. In this prison are the most dangerous world’s terrorists and security is required. We see no reason to shut down a facility providing great security. Policies can be changed easily without material things being affected.
To conlcude, if something is not efficient enough or is not working properly, it is not a reason to be closed but rather to be improved to get better effectivity and to works according to world standards.
GB’s main benefit opp brought up was isolation. However, isolation does not have significant impact to why we shouldn’t close down GB because: 1. Isolation is not a unique benefit that only GB has 2. A contradiction as opp mentions isolation of GB as a benefit and remarks on how GB is one of the most transparent facilities in the world. Isolation and transparency can’t coexist because they undermine each other. Even if transparency was increasing, GB would still have to be shut down because prop sees much greater harms if not shut down immediately. Furthermore, prop would like to remind opp that human right abuses constantly occur as reported by Red Cross [[http://goo.gl/MTZwE]], and Amnesty[[http://goo.gl/KtWKn]], and isolation is encouraging more abuse through ‘secrecy’. They also stated that 1000 journalists in will increase transparency but prop recognizes that this directly undermines the single benefit, isolation, mentioned by the opp. They said that closure would mean waste of resources with huge investments made in the past, but prop sees it is problematic if we continue to invest heavily in GB that has harms that prop brought up. We believe that detainees have their rights to have access to lawyers and habeas corpus but we do not believe that these rights are being protected as mentioned in our C1.Their assumption that the detainees are the world’s greatest terrorists ignores our previous point about only one detainee having been trialed and the rest held under ‘suspicion’. Opp briefly mentions that policies can be changed without affecting the materialistic existence of GB and stated:“evenif something is not efficient enough or is not working properly, it is not a reason to be closed”which implies that opp is also not satisfied with efficiency of GB in status quo and vaguely states that we should improve the standards but does not specify how and whether it will work or whether it will continue to bring forth the harms provided by prop.
Shift of the Problem
The good thing about matters we do not like is that we know about them. GB is a well known institution with increasing transparency and even if we know that there might be things which are not pleasant happening, it is good that we at least know about it and therefore are able to control it. Such information [[http://goo.gl/ZkNmq]] rang a bell and now the situation is changing and already is better [[http://goo.gl/24L1C]]. However if Guantanamo was closed, we would have no guarantee that it would be the end of whatever might be happening there. A closure could cause opening of a new facility, a secret one, such as secret CIA institutions in Poland and Romania where agents blatently torture the inmates without the public official awareness and, therefore, are not suject to improvement of any kind[[http://goo.gl/923qd]]. The most dangerous individuals are now located in GB, where the security can be achieved as well as transparency. The general public is aware of how they are treated, whereas closure would cause creation of another institution hidden from public [[goo.gl/KU6zh]], which may allow the guards to behave without any limits and consequences causing much greater harms to individuals.
In conclusion, rather than being idealistic and closing Guantanamo in order to get rid of all methods which are not snow-white clean, we have to consider the possible consequences and prevent unthinkable things, which might arise on different place without any control over them causing greater harmes.
First, putting detainees in harsh conditions is better than anything else. “Muhammed al-Qahtani, alleged to have been implicated in the September 11 plot, was physically and mentally mistreated. For six weeks, he was intentionally deprived of sleep, and subject to sexual and other physical humiliation.” [[http://goo.gl/2T67J]] Thus opp has completely overlooked all possibilities when they stated we have no guarantee that violations would end through closing the GB. With all these possible threats to lives of detainees, how can we assert that the situation is changing and already is better? Second, they stated that closure of GB causes opening of new facilities. But we want to state that CIA institution have the same effect as the GB, which is under the US gov’t control. Both of these prisons use the same tactic but just try to hide it in different ways, which also proves that US gov’t is willing to have private prisons. This shows that it lacks transparency thus more encouraged to violate more human rights in GB, which we already stated in our first contention. The representative of democracy is formed when population is acquired in decision making. However since these actions are unwanted by the majority, the gov’t is undermining the meaningful transparency since there are no liberties, inspections nor have protection of human rights in their country. Since US promotes a global image as a democracy country, it hurts its international relation which will be expanded on in our 4th contention. Lastly, opp has already acknowledged that unpleasant events are occurring at that time, but we should appreciate even the fact that it is ‘transparent’. However this point surrenders the rest of their other points because they have admitted that human violation is occurring in GB which links to our first contention. Although in their earlier contentions, they stated that the conditions are getting bettter and how rights are protected.
Release is not the Solution
Even if they should not be even kept in the GB, the other possibility by immediate closure would be to release them, because with all legal rights they would be classified as either soldiers and thus POWs this has the advantage that we neutralize the threat and the disadvantage that pursuant article 17 of the Third Geneva Convention [[http://goo.gl/rH9xN]] we cannot interrogate them or try them for killing allied soldiers. However most of the 172 detainees will most likely fall into the suspected criminal category and will have to be charged within 48 hours. Once they are charged – if at all – they will be put before a federal judge who will most likely throw the case out based on the fact that the prosecution has no evidence, after all the detainees were picked up by military intelligence not law enforcement, or there was maltreatment (absence of the writ of Habeas Corpus, torture) or some technicality such as lack of Miranda rights. This means these detainees will be free men.
Unfortunately, these people will not return to regular life, but there are 2 scenarios. They will return to their home country, where the government will behave even in the worst way, as we can see in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt or Syria [[http://goo.gl/W2KMr]], where the regime fights against terrorism with worse methods.
Other possibility is that they will return to the terrorist group willing to commit another crime.From 598 detainees transferred from GB are 150 confirmed or suspected of later taking part in terrorist activities. [[http://goo.gl/KhX4Q]] According to U.S. officials, several released Guantanamo prisoners are now part of the Yemen-based group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including key leaders. [[http://goo.gl/cX7lb]] If we realize that on 9/11 19 terrorists were enough to cause 2 891 deaths and 422 000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder in NYC alone, the consequences of releasing these terrorists can be tragic.
Whichever of the two happens both outcomes are undesirable.
The opposition seems to understand that when the shutdown of GB is in order, prisoners will be sent back to their home countries. However, they seem to have failed to understand the impacts of the detainees being sent back. Right now, they provide us with 2 scenarios. One, the detainees will be labeled as POWs and two, the government will treat these people with cruelty and as well, the detainees will return to the terrorist groups. The problem with their first scenario is, they are being treated like POWs when they are not. The opposition seems to believe this is fine because people in GB are criminals. They believe punishment is crucial for these people. Well, the proposition believes evidence is important. We believe people shouldn’t imply that all people in GB are dangerous criminals without proof; there are many reports/articles of many innocent people trapped in GB [http://goo.gl/GSfN] [http://goo.gl/HbRhq]. We believe it is ridiculous and outraging for the innocent to be in GB “because U.S. officials hoped they would know something important.” [http://goo.gl/VEMEJ]. The problem with their second scenario is that the opposition is practically undermining the legal system in countries; capability to deal with these detainees. We really should not undermine the countries’ sovereignty. However, this scenario implies that the government will treat these people like animals without any sort of trials held or proof to decide the sentences. Thus, con is simply saying that US should look down on these countries. This will hurt US reputation regarding both allies and countries being helped; the US soft power will be damaged. This creates conflicts between countries; countries involved in the Arab spring. US, as a part of G8, is helping out the Arab spring; the revolution against the governments and the struggle towards democracy. Creating conflicts/angering the MENA are definitely not what we need right now to win over the trust of people of MENA.
Principle of security
From the very beginning of the debate, we don’t support torturing people to death, hitting their heads against walls or humiliating, and we also call for its strong punishment.
What we need to realize is which kind of detainees are in GB – leaders of terrorist groups, operatives and material supporters of terrorism. These people are highly dangerous to society and consequences of their release would be terrible. The possibility of innocent being detained has been reduced by releasing most of the detainees (from 800 in 2009 to current 172). The high chance of obtaining information from the remaining ones must be exploited in order to keep public security even with the use of some harsher interrogation methods [[http://goo.gl/knpa7]] . The war on terror includes each of us and any information is essential to prevent deaths of thousands of people. These methods have results and they are effective and crucial for prevention [[http://goo.gl/pou4P]] . We have prevented another terrorist attack on Heathrow and Canary Wharf [[http://goo.gl/tQFi7]] . If any of them had been carried out, the amount of deaths would have been in thousands or even more. Still, the prisoners have habeas corpus and access to lawyers [[http://goo.gl/y9GWI]] [[http://goo.gl/7RXw6]] , who already keep a sufficient standard.
Even if this was not a sufficient reason, we believe that GB can get more transparent and to the international level of behavior. This base is isolated on an island, which means that it is hard to escape for prisoners and they are well secured, but it doesn’t mean that Red Cross and journalists cannot access and therefore ensure transparency. International standard of handling detainees can be achieved easily by limiting guards by supervisors as is in every other prison and it is not a sufficient reason to close this extraordinary and well-built prison, but rather to reform it, which would fulfill its purpose and keep in line with HR guideline
Opp knows the importance of habeas corpus and that the detainees have the right to trial but are these rights actually being enforced? HC was denied to 21 detainees in the past.[[http://goo.gl/a0b8T]]HC only applies when the detainees are trialed in federal courts. Currently, detainees are “tried in military commissions rather than federal court.”[[http://goo.gl/D4G6D]]This is problematic as HC doesn’t apply to military commissions. “The Military Commissions Act [..] eliminate access to habeas corpus for GB detainees. “ [[http://goo.gl/22bcl]] Thus it prevents detainees from claiming HC in military commissions court, and prevents MCA restricts judicial review in terrorism cases by making Geneva Convention inapplicable in US courts
Using torture sometimes provides false info from guilty detainees. Victims are smart enough to avoid giving the real answer thus torture is ineffective. “The fact is there has never ever been reported that any information garnered from torture in fact produced accurate “actionable intelligence.” However, there are many reported instances of false info extracted through torture that led to disastrously bad actions by the United States,”. Even the FBI agents repeatedly warned interrogators at GB that their aggressive methods were legally risky and ineffective. [[http://goo.gl/AKjjx]]
Also, it’s evident that the innocent doesn’t have any info for the govt. What the opp tried to prove is that torture is justified even to these detainees who are innocent. They said a govt should be allowed to torture the innocent to retrieve more info. “The Pentagon has acknowledged 10 cases of abuse or mistreatment at [GM], including a female interrogator climbing onto a detainee’s lap and a detainee whose knees were bruised from being forced to kneel repeatedly.” [[http://goo.gl/ae6jY]] As the proposition side, we believe that unnecessary and unjustified torture should be prevented especially in cases from GB.
Consequences of Closure or Continuation
Let’s have a look at the consequences of the closure of GB. Thanks to the fact that many countries have rejected to accept these terrorists, the current detainees might be moved to a different facility, which can be less transparent and less known causing much severe impacts on HR violations. The other option is to release the detainees, which would not be a great solution either. In that case, they would be sent back to their home country, where HR are very often abused more, which opp doesn’t want to support either.
We are not undermining sovereignty since we are not interfering in the country. Even if we are, detaining people suspected of terrorism does not interfere into any country´s sovereignty, not even in that whose citizens such suspect happen to be.
GB has been running for almost ten years and yet it has not caused problems of legitimacy in the domain of HR and therefore enforcing these rights around the world. If the US really wanted to enforce HR and did not have “legitimacy,” which we claim it still has because no one on the international stage including the US’s sworn enemies have disputed the US’s legitimacy due to GB, it could apply its sizable military, economic and diplomatic power to further protect HR.
Moreover, if the country itself sets terrorists free, they very often return to terrorism [[http://goo.gl/N3vX4]] planning another attack, which we think is a rather important point because the impact on HR by another attack might be catastrophic.
The closure of GB would not stop the War on Terror in the same way closing Abu Ghraib didn’t solve the anti-American sentiment much. Closing GB is not going to make fanatical terrorists hate us less just as keeping it open won’t cause Egypt or any other Middle-Eastern country to take any steps away from cracking down on terrorists. For one, it is strictly in their interest to crack down on terrorists whether they like us or not because their govts are targets as well.
It is unjustified to torture people, innocent or guilty and closing GM will assure this torture ceases. GB wrongfully and tortured detainees. It is in the best interest of the US to “stop torturing, stop arbitrary detention, by closing down the GB detention facilities” [[http://goo.gl/KYjOq]] . There is great discrimination against Muslims in GB. “The international community has sharply criticized the US for detaining the prisoners without formally charging them.. a Pentagon report confirmed that abuses of the QUR’AN had taken place. Guards and interrogates at GM had deliberately thrown, kicked and soiled the volumes of the QUR’AN read by prisoners.”[[http://goo.gl/GWntW]] Detainees are not POWs but suspects of terrorism. Thus, the US has declared the war on terror in a illegitimate way. This is why it is illegitimate to assume detainees as criminals.
The extent of torture subjected on the detainees is unfair, for officials at GB don’t have any right to torture suspects as if they were actual criminals. Only one detainee has ever had his day in court.
Further, undermining a nation’s sovereignty does not necessarily mean that one invades a different country. What the US gov is doing; looking down upon a nation’s judicial system by taking matters into its own hands, is also considered undermining it. In both WLDs and the Arab world, this is taken as extremely condescending and has increased anti-Americanism. [[http://goo.gl/GKNxG]]Even if GB were to reform and become more transparent, anti-Americanism will increase as long as detainees are not returned to their countries of origin. [[http://goo.gl/gTkZD]]
This harms American credibility in the international community, and this will impact trade with other nations; if trade with the US subsides, the economy of the entire world suffers. Also, if GB were to be kept,the US will lose its authority as a leader in human rights and human rights violation will be more prevalent in the world.
Czech Republic 2011: Summary
Prop has not proved the need for closure, less so immediately. We presented 3 main levels. On principle level that the function of GB is needed. Even if not, there is the possibility of reform, making it transparent and complying with international law. Even if this is not possible, we see the consequences worse with closure. If any of them stands, prop loses the debate.
Prop asserted that HR violations take place at GB. It doesn’t mean, however, that GB should be closed. Rather, it has to be improved and shown that the problem still exists. Instead, only not-detailed general reports (Amnesty) or 6 year-old solved cases (Red Cross) have been brought up. Currently, the prisoners have religious rights, access to lawyers as well as habeas corpus and contact with the Red Cross and journalists.
We condemn HR violation and we call for punishment. This can be easily achieved without the closure of GB. Some interrogation techniques are justifiable to prevent deaths of thousands of innocent people, which has been shown as effective by many pieces of evidence. The innocent detainees have already been released and the trials take place. Even if it wasn’t justifiable, we don’t see any reason why it should not be improved and reformed.
Prop pointed at the lack of transparency, which they consider undemocratic. Thanks to the social contract, transparency is often limited when it endangers public security, which applies to these cases because absolute transparency makes the war on terror ineffective. Even if this doesn’t apply, we see the primary role of the government to protect it citizens and GB is an essential tool for it.
Prop claimed that international relations would suffer. Even after the worst revelations about GB, trade, legitimacy and relations have not changed as GB does not undermine states sovereignty. Even if they did, we see greater harms in letting innocent people die by terrorist attacks. However, we showed great economic harms caused by the closure of the facility (which is isolating the prisoners, not the press) by wasting resources.
GB isn’t the cause of war of terror or a symbol of Muslim discrimination. Terrorists fight against US as such, or thanks to Iraq or Afghanistan invasion, thus the closure of GB would not solve the situation, as seen Abu Ghraib’s case. Prisoners have absolute freedom of religion. The ethic composition is such because most terrorist come from Muslim countries. Even though, the reform would be the symbol of our tolerance, which would be better gesture than camouflaging past.
Prop didn’t present better solution than preserving GB. Moving prisoners would lead to creating a less known and controlled place, which wasn’t reacted. Allowing them to a regular trial would cause release thanks to the lack of legal evidence. If terrorists are released, they can be mistreated more or that they will rejoin terrorist group, which wasn’t reacted again. Both are worse for HR or other innocent people.
We would love to hear what you think – please leave a comment!
Is torture useful for punishing the guilty, or extracting information from people who are very reluctant to give that information?Donna
torture is useful for people who abuse children daily because they dont deserve to go through that