The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

The Supreme Court overrules arbitrary power at Guantanamo

Jun 30, 2008

Six years after the opening of a prison in Guantanamo, which is leased from Cuba against its wishes, the Supreme Court once again declared that this prison violates U.S. law and constitutional rulings.

In fact, this is the third time the Supreme Court declared itself against the arbitrary regime at Guantanamo prison. Twice before, in 2005 and 2006, it took a similar stance. But each time, Bush got Congress to override its decisions. This time, Bush, widely despised, let it be known he would accept the decision.

From now on, the 270 prisoners still held at Guantanamo have the right to know why they’re imprisoned and contest the charges against them in U.S. courts. The 200-some detainees who tried without success to make such requests can now revive them.

After September 11, the Bush administration established this prison for alleged “enemy combatants” who supposedly belonged to the Al-Qaeda network.

The arbitrary power wielded by the Bush administration was carried out not only by the special regime at Guantanamo, but also by the use of torture at Abu Graib and the kidnapping of Arab nationals simply suspected of being Al-Qaeda cadres. This arbitrary power not only did nothing to stop hostility toward the U.S., it created vast new reservoirs of people who only felt more hatred.

Partisans, resistance fighters or “enemy combatants” – all of whom fight arms in hand against an occupying army – have never been considered equal to regular soldiers, who as prisoners must theoretically be treated with a minimum of respect. People who fight for their own country against an invader are considered to be without rights and therefore can be mistreated, tortured or even executed without the officers responsible for these crimes being held to account.

So today, the U.S. army continues to occupy land in Afghanistan and Iraq, while the Supreme Court tells the U.S. executive to respect legal forms a little more. Perhaps it’s an attempt to blot out an international scandal that draws too much attention to how the U.S. has carried out these wars. But this won’t prevent U.S. imperialism from imposing its rule over these countries.