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Friday, January 22, 2010

First anniversary of "Close Guantanamo Bay within one year"

One of President Obama's promises a year ago was to close the illegal US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. Of course there are challenges in doing that, but rather than overcome those challenges, we're getting more of the same at Guantanamo (a Justice Department-led task force released its outrageous recommendation to continue holding nearly 50 Guantanamo detainees indefinitely). If you'd like to learn more and/or send a message in support of an alternative approach, have a look at this Amnesty action.

I know it's tough to do the right thing in a country where the wrong thing is the default position - in a nation where fear still trumps rights, where the bible is the handbook for many, where information is distorted and where fear rules (did I mention that bit twice?).

Yet a stand has to be taken - on human rights, on climate change, on sending food not guns into Haiti...and so on. If not me, who? If not now, when?

I love it when you post like this.

Thank you for your voice, Gary.
Wouldn't it be nice if Obama hired some Amnesty attorneys to replace his current crop of advisors?
THanks Cheri ... and yes Susan, I think he could use some legal advice from human rights based lawyers.
If you really believe something is necessary it is amazing how easily it can be politically implemented as was evident in the introduction of rationing and other measures during the Second World War.

So I agree now is the time, and the time for excuses is now well and truly over. I liked Amnesty's suggested draft letter and sent one off.

But what has been highlighted in the post war period is for the US and other nations to become litigiously based societies –but more so in the US than anywhere else in the western world - according to a recent visiting US professor of Law interviewed on ABC radio recently.

The right to sue or to lay blame seems to have paralyzed promised policy changes grounded in a fear of making a wrong legal decision to influence continuation of the status quo.

The lack of regulation in health, and the banking system coupled with a lack of transparency together with continued litigious excesses to sue anyone and everything should something go wrong evidence a fear imbued by such an unwieldy legal system in dire need of a complete overall.

I think under the leadership of Obama the required changes are going to take a lot longer than was expected because changing a culture always takes a lot longer than you expect – especially when fears also plays a dominate hand.
Best wishes
at least president obama has rejected the use of torture as an interrogation technique.
he doesn't get enough praise for the positive things he has accomplished.
considering where we were a year ago compared to now, i think he's doing a good job.
the main thing is we're going in the right direction. that's a *huge* change from the last administration.
small steps forward are better than walking backwards.
Seraphine - you're right of course. He is still the man for the time. I don't think that means we can't support him by asking for things or pushing him in directions we believe in. I've written to him...thanking him, praising him... and asking him to move more deliberately on a couple of things. (Sounds like how I used to talk to my kids when they were teenagers.)
Lindsay - good points. In the parlance of the day, it's call 'cover your ass'. I actually hear clients say it sometimes, when making plans or contemplating change.
yay for you writing to an american president!
would i be so kind to stephen harper?
It was not just a promise.... it was Obama's first official executive order- that Gitmo would be closed no later than Jan 22, 2010.

He did/does have the political authority of the executive branch to do so, but it became a political hot potato-- stirring up the 9-11 terrorism fear, that bringing the prisoners into the US prisons would be a security risk.

Truth is most of the prisoners should not even be in prison. I firmly believe a place so remote in another country leaves the door open to abuse.

Maybe if Obama was not busy doing Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speeches, he might shut down gitmo, and get troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan & Pakistan.

He sure did talk the talk.

Much as the right wing calls him a socialist....
A friend said he's actually a conservative.
He is falling way short of being a progressive.

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