Letter to the President of the United States
Guantanamo Bay Naval Station
May I through your good offices, urge you to find ways of closing the Naval Station completely and returning the land to Cuba, its rightful owner.
This issue has now been festering for many years, especially regarding the illegal detention of prisoners at a base which should come under normal laws that apply in the United States itself.
I would like to suggest the following actions are taken by yourself and your Government:
As President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the USA, you are entitled ‘to grant reprieves or pardons’ of the 126 prisoners of war. Thus, as many of those held in Guantanamo Bay are not a national security threat, they can be released, either back to the country from where they were taken, or to the USA mainland. As part of that repatriation, it would be very helpful if they are given compensation, including help to find suitable and sustainable employment.
Those that do constitute a ‘threat’ could be transferred to a purpose-built maximum security prison (in a non-death penalty state), for the purposes of facing a trial based on the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution (…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws). As a temporary measure, Alaska could hold them in a suitable well-protected prison. I would suggest that the trials are held without a jury due to the sensitive nature of the evidence. But, I would propose that independent persons from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International (but not the ACCL) and the International Red Cross (a non- American) be present to make sure that the Law is upheld and the prisoners are not tortured or mis-treated in any form. So, access is to prisoners is important.
To solve the main issue, an Executive Order could be issued to the Department of Agriculture to ‘buy’ the land of the Naval Station for the purposes of creating an area of wildlife conservation or to return it to agricultural land. Once bought all the papers stored there would need to be removed and transferred to the National Archives for use of the defence and prosecution lawyers in the legal cases brought against those who have been detained but under strict but fair conditions of access. As regards the buildings, airfield, etc, they should be all cleared and the land prepared for its future use. But, the fencing should be initially kept until the work is complete within nine months.
And finally, the whole area is then returned to Cuba, as the original ‘owner’ and whose territory, it was only ‘leased’ under treaties from the early 20th century. This last point could be part of ‘normalising’ relations with the country. The USA has had diplomatic relations with communist countries in the past, so it need not be any different today. (Getting rid of the Naval Station, would help reduce the Defence budget, yet it would not decrease the capability of the US Navy because of other more suitable bases on the American mainland being available.)
Such actions would improve the standing of the United States through-out the world, especially in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, further action to improve the perception of others with regard to prisoner treatment, and the ‘extraction’ of people, could be undertaken.
One area would be to develop policies on improving prisoner treatment and to allow regular access to them by their lawyers and the International Red Cross.
Another would be to set up strict protocols as regards the control by your Office of the military in terms of its finances and operations, and to uphold the highest standards of prisoner treatment. (With regard to that last point, it might be helpful to bring all the intelligence agencies under one roof to prevent duplication and to increase a better sharing of knowledge.)
Such actions would also reduce the draw to those organisations which seek to destroy and kill westerners and locals who oppose them.
I do hope this letter will not end up in a corner somewhere in the White House, not seen by anyone of importance. For I believe that my suggestions are important when we are talking about justice for all peoples and not just the USA. I have many American friends and there is much good in the country, but this is one area which needs to vastly improve!