by Peter Jan Honigsberg, professor of law at the University of San Francisco and founder and director of the Witness to Guantanamo project. He is also the author of Our Nation Unhinged, the Human Consequences of the War on Terror, published by the University of California Press.
ACS asked me to write a piece on Guantanamo for the twelfth anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. I am the founder and director of the Witness to Guantanamo project. The project films interviews with former detainees and others who lived or worked in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
However, as I try to write about the men still held in Guantanamo after nearly 12 years, President Obama’s threat to bomb Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons continues to tug at my thoughts. There is an intersection between America’s threatening events in Syria and our treatment of the men in Guantanamo. In both scenarios, the rule of law is ignored and abandoned.
Of the 164 men still imprisoned in the detention center, 84 have never been charged with a crime and are cleared for release. Yet, Obama has done nothing to release them except to express the belief that Guantanamo should be closed. He signed an executive order that the prison be shuttered on his second day of office, more than four years ago. The prison is still open.