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Guantanamo Bay Detainees

January 2nd, 2009 at 10:17am

There’s an interesting story in the news this morning.

According to the Australian Newspaper, Australia is planning to rehouse Guantanamo Bay detainees in Australian prison facilities when US President Elect Barack Obama shuts down Guantanamo Bay at some stage in the next two years.

To quote from livenews.com.au’s take on the story:

US authorities have approached Australia and Britain about resettling detainees of the notorious prison.

The Times of London reported on Thursday that Britain was preparing to take Guantanamo Bay detainees to allow the Obama administration to shut down the prison.

The Rudd government is now considering quietly accepting detainees, the Australian newspaper reported on Friday.

A spokesman for Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard told The Australian that detainees could be accepted in Australia under strict conditions, but that there would be no wholesale intake of former detainees.”

Well, let’s face it, we can’t just let them go. The people who are being detained at Guantanamo are suspected of being the worst of the worst of the worst. If they weren’t, then they wouldn’t be being held there.

The issue that I see here is that there have been a lot of complaints about the conditions at Guantanamo Bay…rehousing them is fine and would probably improve conditions, but can it really be done secretly in the way that seems to be planned?

Government’s may be concerned about the security implcations of publicising the location of the detainees if they were take them…but we all know where Guantanamo Bay is.

That said, you would think that, if we’re going to avoid the alleged human rights violations which occurred at Guantanamo Bay, then perhaps we can’t have large central camps for these people, perhaps we would have to put them in our maximum security prisons…so who pays for them? They’re United States prisoners, surely the United States would have to pay for them, but undoubtedly we’ll end up footing part of the bill.

Federal Opposition Leader malcolm Turnbull raised yet another concern…acording to him, “There does not appear to be any legal basis under which Australia could hold the Guantanamo Bay detainees in custody,”

To me, this looks like an impossible logistical and legislative nightmare. Guantanamo Bay might not be perfect, but at least it’s a known quantity. We know what we’re dealing with, and in my opinion, rather than closing the place down, President-Elect Obama should take a personal interest in ensuring that the prison meets human rights guidelines. Surely that would be a better and easier solution all round.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Samuel's Editorials

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3 Comments

  • 1. davky  |  January 2nd, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Wow… this is mind-boggling.

    I thought the criticisms of the whole GB fiasco were centred around indefinitely detaining prisoners without plans for an imminent trial. So why would we now be a party to this? It doesn’t make sense.

    It reminds me of a corny, somewhat off-taste, April 1 joke.

  • 2. Samuel  |  January 2nd, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I thought the criticisms of the whole GB fiasco were centred around indefinitely detaining prisoners without plans for an imminent trial.

    Which is an abuse human rights.

    You’re right though, it doesn’t make sense, and I can’t see why we should be taking prisoners that are effectively on remand, awaiting trial even if there is no trial in sight. As far as I can tell, our laws only allow us to take convicted prisoners, and even then I believe we can only take Australians. The US aren’t going to allow countries to take their own citizens for “security reasons” according to the linked article, so I don’t see how we can possibly help.

  • 3. davky  |  January 2nd, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    It is now hours since I read your post initially, and I’m still dumbfounded.


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