The Last American Vagabond
Traveling the US, writing what the people need to know.

Indefinitely Guilty 

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”


A little over four years have passed since 86 of the present 166 Guantanamo detainees have been cleared to go to their home country, or another country willing to accept them, yet they continue to remain there. Even if one assumes that every man held within Guantanamo committed crimes worthy of the time they served, their continuing illegal captivity tarnishes every message of peace and liberty America preaches. Whether or not these men deserve the right to their freedom, the system has deemed that they should be released. The act of continuing their imprisonment four years after they are cleared to be set free, shows the world that the American government does not practice what they preach.

The United States had been detaining suspects indefinitely since 2001. They have been doing so on the vague authorization by Congress to “use military force” against the perpetrators of the September 11 terrorist attacks and those who helped them. The text fabricated to define who could be detained went beyond Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It covered those who substantially supported terrorist groups or their collaborates. It was not explained what actions would qualify, nor did it state whether American citizens or others arrested on domestic soil could be detained. The vaguely written statute makes it so the terms can be manipulated to mean whatever or whomever they choose. 

When our government first set up this “detention facility” it was done so outside the United States with the intention of rights being non existent. Prisoners are held indefinitely, sometimes for crimes they were going to commit. Not a single one of these men has been afforded the right of an impartial court. Some of the inmates have taken to refusing food as a way of protest and as a result have been subjected to force feeding where tubes are extended down their nasal passage to the stomach. This new system of justice allows a certain lawlessness and forces the uncertain citizens of this country to have faith in the unfaithful. The American people must assume that the appropriate evidence necessary to detain these men is held by the executive branch. Simply based on our history, that is a hard pill to swallow. 

On Wednesday the twenty-fourth at 2pm, the senate will convene an urgent hearing-its first since 2008-on closing Guantanamo Bay. The government is convening an urgent legal hearing on an illegally sanctioned prison with below the law tactics, which is still holding prisoners released four years ago. Ironic is the correct word. Assuming anything of value comes of this urgent (five year in the making) meeting, G-bay’s history of following the directives passed in D.C. are non existent. Why would an institution that has not worked within the law thus far, feel obligated to adhere to the stipulations passed in Washington? Furthermore, if decisions were made to close or alter regulations of said institution, the very same men who allowed this detention center to continue, will be the men charged with making sure it comes down. The level of corruption has become typical.

We have decided as a nation over many years that determining ones guilt can only be placed in the hands of impartiality. A collective of peers, chosen to fulfill their civic duty, charged with deciding the fate of an individual based on an assortment of facts and conjecture. We created the Constitution to safeguard the rights of American citizens from tyranny and oppression. Our government is currently tasked with upholding these rights. To allow them complete and absolute authority over who to detain, if they’re guilty, and how to punish them, is the utter and complete break down of the American way of law. These men that we have chosen to protect our way of life have failed us in the most devastating way. As a nation, if we allow these detention centers to exist we are accepting that we are no longer who we set out to be. It is only a matter of time until non violent protest is made impossible. Peaceful rebellion made illegal. Enemies to our new way of life indefinitely detained. 

Ryan Cristian      
Posted July 24, 2013      

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