the children of Guantanamo
May 28, 2006 6:36 AM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: the Children of Guantanamo The 'IoS' reveals today that more than 60 of the detainees of the US camp were under 18 at the time of their capture, some as young as 14
posted by j.p. Hung (38 comments total)

 
"A senior Pentagon spokesman, Lt Commander Jeffrey Gordon, insisted that no one now being held at Guantanamo was a juvenile and said the DoD also rejected arguments that normal criminal law was relevant to the Guantanamo detainees."

Oh, sorry. Just forget this FPP, the Lt. Commander straightened it all out - we can trust him. I should have read the whole article before I posted.
posted by j.p. Hung at 6:38 AM on May 28, 2006


ha ha. i'm not surprised by anything anymore. this is a huge national embarrassment. "no one now being held" ARRGGHH!
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 6:45 AM on May 28, 2006


British officials last night told the IoS that the UK had been assured that any juveniles would be held in a special facility for child detainees at Guantanamo called Camp Iguana.

Isn't that cute? Awww.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 6:46 AM on May 28, 2006


When I was 14 I voluntarily spent long periods of time in dark, uncomfortably cold rooms with no carpets listening to loud music and hardly ever slept or interacted with another human being. What the hell are they whining about?
posted by public at 6:50 AM on May 28, 2006


April 23, 2003: U.S. Urged to Release Guantanamo Minors

"The military has not provided exact ages, confirming only that the three are 16 years old or younger."

Jan 30, 2004: Teen detainees at Guantanamo freed

Etc.

Horrible stuff, as usual for Guantanamo, but I'm not sure why this was posted again.
posted by mediareport at 6:51 AM on May 28, 2006


Have US ever signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

No.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 6:52 AM on May 28, 2006


This new report says there were far more than three minors: They include at least 10 detainees still held at the US base in Cuba who were 14 or 15 when they were seized

The articles you linked to only referred to three specific children who were acknowledged by anonymous sources, then the military, and eventually released.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 6:59 AM on May 28, 2006


If you have a complaint about 14-year-old combatants, it seems to me that you should be taking it up with the Taliban and with al Qaeda. They're the one who committed the war crime by using children as soldiers.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:20 AM on May 28, 2006


Sorry, overanxious; I guess my cynicism got the better of me. I think it's been obvious for a long time that there were more than three teenage prisoners at Guantanamo; you didn't have to read between the lines much at all to get that the military was covering up the true number. I'll leave you to the new news article now.
posted by mediareport at 7:23 AM on May 28, 2006


Psalm 137

8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.

9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:25 AM on May 28, 2006


Eh, nice troll, Steven, but the issue of detaining people on ridiculously slim or no evidence and no hope of legal relief still stands. We know of many cases where folks were turned over to U.S. troops without evidence of any terror link (working out tribal grudges in Afghanistan by fingering enemies to overly credulous troops, e.g.). The fact that *anyone* is caught up in that kind of evidence-free hell is horrifying, that children were is pathetic. The burden of proving innocence doesn't shift to the accused just because the president invokes terraism - and it especially doesn't shift when the arrest process was so obviously, blatantly ripe for error.

But you know all this.
posted by mediareport at 7:30 AM on May 28, 2006


They're the one who committed the war crime by using children as soldiers.

Ow, ow, those terrists are twisting our arms so hard!
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:38 AM on May 28, 2006


Oh I agree with you mediareport, it was pretty obvious that more horrible details would eventually come out. I'm not really one to say whether a FPP should be made or not, although I do like an outlet to express my disgust.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 7:43 AM on May 28, 2006


Lt Commander Jeffrey Gordon, insisted that no one now being held at Guantanamo was a juvenile

They are not being held. They are being hugged.
posted by srboisvert at 9:04 AM on May 28, 2006


The 'IoS' reveals today that more than 60 of the detainees of the US camp were under 18 at the time of their capture, some as young as 14

A minor and irrelevant detail. In the extra-legal parallel universe that is Camp X-Ray there are no children, no prisoners, no charges, no trials...
posted by three blind mice at 9:06 AM on May 28, 2006


If you have a complaint about 14-year-old combatants, it seems to me that you should be taking it up with the Taliban and with al Qaeda. They're the one who committed the war crime by using children as soldiers.

I don't understand how anyone can really think this...
posted by delmoi at 9:38 AM on May 28, 2006


Steven:
when the US was supporting the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan during the Russian occupation, did they put in place any protection for child soldiers? I doubt it. The US funded guerrillas back then, and are now reaping the whirlwind. It gives me no comfort to note that NATO troops in the region are likely fighting teens and others that should be in education, not brigades.

Having said that, there is no sure way of knowing that any of the so-called combatants in Gitmo are guilty of terrorism, or defending their homeland, or anything other than being of the wrong tribe, in the wrong place and at the wrong time. And we will probably never know - because the White House won't put it to the test of a judicial trial.

Or is it that you trust the afghan warlords that handed them over, but not the afghan warlords that now fight the NATO troops?
posted by dash_slot- at 9:49 AM on May 28, 2006


It depends on what point the "enemy" culture considers "children" to be adults. Most cultures consider boys over the age of 13 to be men - not just figuratively, but literally and legally. Adolescence is a cultural invention of the west that simply doesn't exist elsewhere. That hopefully answers the question of "war crimes" on the part of Al-Queda et al. To them, a 14 year old who wishes to fight is a soldier and a man.

The issue of how those "kids" are treated by a culture where adolesence has smeared into the mid and late 20s (when it ever ends at all), is another question altogether. But let's not pull the "They're using THEIR OWN CHILDREN as soldiers" schtick into it.
posted by slatternus at 9:52 AM on May 28, 2006


Adolescence is a cultural invention of the west that simply doesn't exist elsewhere.

A recent invention too. 14 year olds have married, worked and fought all through history, and let's face it: if you're old enough to loot, rape and kill, then you're a man, and chronological age is a mere footnote to that.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:13 AM on May 28, 2006


Got it slatternus.
If the enemy says it is ok to use 10 year olds in combat it is ok for us to torture them.
Just curious. Is there an age that is so low we would feel compelled to treat them as children?
posted by notreally at 10:22 AM on May 28, 2006


Steven, I know you're aware of this, but some of your knuckle-dragging brethren might not be: very few of the prisoners in Guantanamo are actually terrorists. Lots of CIA operatives and SF troops were running around Afghanistan with backpacks filled with hundred dollar bills. They gave them to anyone willing to turn in their neighbor and/or his children as a "terrorist" or Taliban or Al Qaeda. In a dirt poor country, the outcome was obvious--lots of innocent people were caught in the dragnet.

But then again, it seems as if you endorse the whole school of American international diplomacy that goes, "We torture, but we don't torture as bad as Saddam did!" Because that's doing wonders for American diplomacy--just look at how succesful it's been in the past six years.
posted by bardic at 10:29 AM on May 28, 2006


The problem isn't that juveniles are being held. Not all armies restrict themselves to having only adults in the military and I'd never expect a soldier faced with an enemy to ask for their birth certificate before shooting or arresting them.

The same problems that exist with the adult detainees exist with the juveniles. They're arrested without due process and they're possibly subjected to torture. In addition the government detaining them has destroyed it's own credibility so the "enemy insurgent" or "terrorist in training" label doesn't mean anything.
posted by substrate at 10:32 AM on May 28, 2006


Islamic terrorists use 14 year olds as recruits.

In the US, the army goes looking for recruits in schools, and promotes videogames to entice kids into recruiting; 14 year olds can also be given capital punishment.

So, I'm not at all suprised that there's people who are ok with keeping 14 year olds in Guantanamo.

Just as long as they don't have sex, don't drink, and don't smoke. They're too young for that! They're definitely old enough to be tortured. (Oh, sorry, 'subjected to very light discomfort and only minor deprivation of human rights' or whatever the new definition is).
posted by funambulist at 10:33 AM on May 28, 2006


So wait, bad things are happening at Guantanamo!? OMG, why didn't someone tell me sooner!?

I really thought that pretty much everything in this article was common knowledge by now. Did I just dream it or something?
posted by reklaw at 11:54 AM on May 28, 2006


I really thought that pretty much everything in this article was common knowledge by now

Yeah. You know sometime repeating is good for memory, remembering palestinian terrorists, remembering auschwitz, remembering U.S. completely spent moral high ground and yes also Gitmo
posted by elpapacito at 11:59 AM on May 28, 2006


Wasn't one of the reasons America used to justify attacking Iraq that Saddam had prisons with children in them that he tortured to punish their parents?

Between this and the Abu Ghraib child prisoner business, that excuse looks fairly hypocritical.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 12:00 PM on May 28, 2006


Wasn't one of the reasons America used to justify attacking Iraq that Saddam had prisons with children in them that he tortured to punish their parents?

Between this and the Abu Ghraib child prisoner business, that excuse looks fairly hypocritical.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 2:00 PM CST on May 28 [+fave] [!]


Wasn't one of the reasons America used to justify attacking Iraq that Saddam had secret labrotories where he contacted aliens to broker a deal where he hands over the planet Earth to the intergalactic empire, the Combine?

No, I don't have a source.
posted by cellphone at 12:27 PM on May 28, 2006


Lt Commander Jeffrey Gordon insisted that no one now being held at Guantanamo was a juvenile

Of course, that does not preclude the possibility that they were juveniles when captured 4 years ago, just that they are over 18 now.
posted by fings at 12:41 PM on May 28, 2006


Of course, that does not preclude the possibility that they were juveniles when captured 4 years ago, just that they are over 18 now.

Growing Up Gitmo.
posted by JHarris at 1:34 PM on May 28, 2006


Adolescence is a cultural invention of the west...

It may be the case that different cultures see these children as adults, but the concept of physical and mental immaturity that defines childhood/adolescence/choose-your-own-label is pretty well substantiated in the scientific and medical communities. It is a fact, not a cultural invention. Your points would be better made without the "quotes" around "kids."
posted by moira at 1:45 PM on May 28, 2006


The sad about that is that americans will pay for all this soon or later, and it will be just poor people of America that gonna pay not those assholes that commiting these crimes!!
posted by zouhair at 2:16 PM on May 28, 2006


I was going to post some sort of lament to the effect that despite the immediate inujstices of the moment re: the Bush Admin, that far more lasting damage has been done to American credibility.

I was going to talk about how we Americans will never again be able to draw international support from the strength of our position of moral leadership, as a guiding light of freedom and all that.

But really, we've gradually shit the bed on that subject since the late 1950s... Sure, in the past, there was at least a marked difference between "official" US Policy, and the stuff we did covertly, which was and is just as heinous as Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and more.

Then, the argument could at least be made that there were renegade elements of the US intelligence and military industrial complexes that were responsible for these "aberrant" acts, but that they weren't representative of mainstream America, or true "American values."

Of course, Europeans, and others in the know, while admiring aspects of our culture and freedoms, had to stifle a snicker when we got on our soapbox and moralized about human freedoms and democratic processes, while assasinating and deposing those who spoke freely, and were elected democratically, but who were inconvenient to someone important's bottom line.

No, the real difference is taking place here at home. The bandages have come off, and America is being forced to look in the mirror, and see what we have wrought, see the disparity between who and what we claimed to be, and who we truly are as a nation, without makeup, without smoke and mirrors, without any more self deception.

Some of us are horrified, disgusted, and desperate to get back to the country we thought we knew, the people we thought, or at least hoped we were. A nation of the principles we tried to live up to.

Others, maybe they were a bit taken aback at first by these revelations, by this overt acceptance of torture, suppression, and pre-emptive violence. Then again, they were never terribly into all this "freedom" talk.

Never really happy with concepts of restraint, tolerance, and introspection. Sure, this new look ain't pretty, but hey, life ain't pretty.

Besides, chicks dig scars... am I right?
posted by stenseng at 2:47 PM on May 28, 2006


In the US, the army goes looking for recruits in schools, and promotes videogames to entice kids into recruiting; 14 year olds can also be given capital punishment.

Not so, according to Wiki. It cites Roper v. Simmons:

Roper v. Simmons was a case before the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled on March 1, 2005, that it is unconstitutional to impose capital punishment for crimes committed while under the age of 18, in a 5-4 decision.

Of course, Bush would be free to ignore that if he had any juvenile 'illegal combatants' ... after all, 911! 911! War President! :)
posted by kaemaril at 3:56 PM on May 28, 2006


Oh get off your high horse notreally. I'm not suggesting that it's OK to detain children. I'm suggesting that it's ethnocentric to leap to the conclusion that Muslims are using their own children as warriors.

Or continue attacking straw men, as you prefer.
posted by slatternus at 4:17 PM on May 28, 2006


Wasn't one of the reasons America used to justify attacking Iraq that Saddam had prisons with children in them that he tortured to punish their parents?

Cuba? It was great, say boys freed from US prison camp
James Astill meets teenagers released from Guantanamo Bay who recall the place fondly
James Astill

posted by mlis at 7:59 PM on May 28, 2006


kaemaril: fair enough, but, still, that "ruled on March 1, 2005" is rather telling. Better late than never, sure.
posted by funambulist at 2:25 AM on May 29, 2006


So, I guess human rights are ethnocentric, too?

Besides, in the end it doesn't make a huge difference if they're 14 or 89, they shouldn't be detained without a trial in the first place.
posted by funambulist at 2:28 AM on May 29, 2006


funambulist: In fact, an earlier ruling banned execution for those under 16, but yes, absolutely ... better late than never.

And, indeed, nobody should be permanently detained without trial. Unfortunately, even when/if the court says just that, the Executive ignore them and the legislature act like sheep instead of men.
posted by kaemaril at 6:27 AM on May 29, 2006


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