Charges Dropped for 5 Guantanamo Detainees…Maybe

By Seth Freed Wessler Oct 21, 2008

When I read this morning that charges against 5 Guantanamo detainees had been dropped I felt a mix of relief and rage. Their dropped charges, which is certainly no guarantee of their release as Guantanamo continues to be a lawless zone, is yet another reminder of the nauseating absurdity of Guantanamo. One of those whose charges were dropped, Binyam Mohamed, has become well known as his story of detention, rendition and torture were made public. Clive Stafford Smith, Mohamed’s lawyer and the founder of the British human rights organization Reprieve, is not hopeful that the dropped charges will lead to his client’s release. "Far from being a victory for Mr Mohamed in his long-running struggle for justice, this is more of the same farce that is Guantanamo…. "The military has informed us that they plan to charge him again within a month," said Stafford Smith. Mohamed’s story is told in "Bad Men," a book authored by Stafford Smith. "Bad Men" presents irrefutable evidence that Mohamed, an Ethiopian asylum seeker who lived in England and was accused of plotting to explode a dirty bomb, is innocent despite the assumption of his guilt. Only after years of torture and detention has the United States begun to recognize this irrefutability. But before his culpability is debunked, Smith tells a more important story- that of what the United States and their proxy torturers who comprise the American rendition program have done to those it detains, implicated or not. The accounts are horrifying and every American should read them. A new administration will likely close Guantanamo. All of America’s other secret prisons should follow along with the entire complex of immigrant detention centers in this country. While we’re at it, let’s address the mass incarceration of citizens of color as well. The United States has the opportunity to reject its 30 year mission to use prison cells to govern. These polices have been built on the backs of people of color, whether immigrants, foreigners or citizens. Building a just, inclusive polity, the job of the coming administration and of everyone who makes this place their home, will require that we explicitly address what this country is doing to people of color in the name of security and act definitely and boldly to cut the chains.