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    All Talk, No Action: 8 Years Since Obama's Promise to Close Gitmo

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    Speaking with Radio Sputnik, Israeli publicist Avigdor Eskin said that human rights are brutally violated in the US. Despite the law, tortures are still used in Guantanamo and other places.

    After nearly 50 years of Cuba being closed off – now we are seeing a push-forward from Obama towards the warming of the Relations between US and Cuba. But there is still one point – Guantanamo. Was President Obama sincere in his struggle to close the notorious prison? Does it show us certain limits in power that the President in the US has?

    Avigdor Eskin: Oh yes. Even during his election campaign, he called many times to close the Guantanamo prison. Many even expected him not only to close the prison but to abandon the practices of torture. If there is such thing as “the Law” in America – it should be applied to everybody – terrorist or not terrorist. I must say Great Britain and Israel used tortures or what they call as intensive methods of interrogation with suspected terrorists for decades. And both of them out of their understanding of human rights – decided to stop it.

    In Israel these methods are prohibited by Supreme Court since 1999. There are exceptions although once in two years, when there is a terrorist, who knows that another one is going to blow up, let’s say a bus. But the practice is such. The effectiveness of the interrogation went up and not down.

    The security services are more effective now, because when you give such wide spectrum of special interrogation means, in other words violence – the one being interrogated will probably give as much as he can and will invent something – you will never know when he tells truth or when he just says anything to stop torture. This was one of the reasons that the experts in many countries decided it should be stopped. Although my heart is not bleeding for any terrorist who is going to blow up a bus with civilian population. We are here not to defend any terrorists.

    The guys in Guantanamo are also not nice guys, I can imagine, but nevertheless Obama promised to do what’s necessary by the international law, because there is a Convention against torture. Instead – it is almost 8 years now that his words are not implemented.

    It is quite interesting – the US President promises and gives direct instructions and the military establishment then finds all kinds of red tapes or geographical solution — all kinds of excuses. It is very worrying – we are talking about pure violation of situation with power in the US. The US President has all the power to stop such a thing as Guantanamo, but the fact that Obama failed – is worrying to how much extent is the practice in the US today constitutional.

    Ret. General Wesley Clarke, while giving an interview made some shocking comments, calling for “radicalized” Americans to be placed in internment camps, as it have been done during the WW2. Is America going to abandon the principles of freedom and human rights?

    Avigdor Eskin: We are talking about the precedent of mostly the Japanese population in the US was put in camps during WW2, just because they were Japanese and supposedly sympathetic with Japan. What the Ret. General said is that there are certain parts of population that are sympathetic with current terrorism.

    Again – we should not be soft on terrorism and those who support terrorism and we shouldn’t be hypocritical about it. On the other hand the practice shows that if you give such power into the hand of FBI or any other organization – we end up with massive violation of Human Rights and human justice and you never know where it ends.

    Basically we are talking about the US becoming an example of violation of human rights. Then another question we might ask is – who gave the right to a superpower which so extensively violates human rights to teach others how to keep human rights. First you should take care of yourself, your minorities and dissidents. And if you don’t do it – you cannot teach others.

    If you take the law in the US as such – then according to what Americans used to think about the law in their country — is that if police use any extensive force during the interrogation – the court cannot accept it.

    The law in US totally rejects the idea of torture. Only the special services might use it to prevent a terrorist attack – which again happens once in 2 years or less.

    But the rule is that it should not be done – instead we have it on a daily basis in Guantanamo and other places. This hypocrisy when the US criticizes other states for not fulfilling the Human Rights.

    The same thing happens in Ukraine, when they first arm radical forces and then condemn them. Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe is concerned with the freedom of speech limits in Ukraine. Can we see a growing understanding in the West that their support for the coup in Ukraine was a mistake?

    Avigdor Eskin: There are people in the US who understand that something is wrong with Ukraine. It cannot function as an independent country and democratic country. They realize that — yes – when Russian people were screaming ‘Wolf! Wolf!’ and calling Ukrainian regime different names – they were right. This is the regime that made the worst murderers of WW2 their heroes. And it is not a decision of certain skinhead group, drinking beer somewhere and then praising Hitler, which you can find anywhere in the world.

    But today the President of Ukraine praises Shukhevich and Bandera. The parliament praises OUN-UPA, a partially SS and totally Nazi fighter groups. People in the US will never tolerate it, if they would see the whole truth.

    US Congress by now already cut supplies to Azov battalion. And it’s just a matter of effective work with American public opinion by exercising freedom of speech and telling the truth. They need to know who are those killing civilian population in Donbass. And what is the ideology behind it.

    According to the International Criminal Law – when certain country accepts criminal ideas and ideology as the basis for their behavior like the Nazis did – anything they do should be dealt with suspicion if not considered a criminal crime. Their goal is to comply with certain ideology of Bandera and Shukhevich which is similar to Himmler’s and Hitler’s ideology. So how can it be tolerated by anybody?

    US Justice Dept. will not oppose Pollard’s release. Jonathan Pollard has been imprisoned for 30 years. This will be used as a sweetener for Israel to accept a deal with Iran. Why do they keep him for so long?

    Avigdor Eskin: Nobody can really understand it. Whatever people say about Pollard – he was spying on a friendly country. But he was punished much more severely than anybody who spied for USSR or Russia. The amount and the quality of information were not posing any threat. Of course it is a violation of the US law, and according to it he deserved to be punished. The US probably wanted to show Israel a message: “Don’t you dare to spy on our territory. We will spy on Israel, but you will never spy on US, and if you will – you will be punished more than anybody else.” Probably they believe that Israel is capable of intelligence, and are afraid of what might happen if Israel exercises its intelligence capacities.


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    torture, prison, human rights abuse, human rights, Guantanamo Bay, Guantanamo prison, Ukraine, Russia, United States
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