An amphibious assault vehicle leaves the USS Peleliu, which was used to detain prisoners, according to the human rights group Reprieve. Photograph: Zack Baddor/AP
Human Rights lawyers claim the USA is using floating prison ships to detain those arrested in the so-called war on terror. How convenient for an administration that cherishes secrets and lies. According to human rights organisation Reprieve, the USA has as many as 17 of these floating prisons. Detainees are interrogated at sea, and then sent to undisclosed locations.
Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve's legal director, said: "They choose ships to try to keep their misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the media and lawyers. We will eventually reunite these ghost prisoners with their legal rights.This practice is an obscenity on more levels I can begin to list. The Human Rights violations this administration condones is contrary to everything our nation was founded upon and it must stop. The whole world is watching, in these final days of the Bush Administration, most likely wondering what prevented Congress from actually impeaching him. How have we been so unable to police our own?
By its own admission, the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been 'through the system' since 2001. The US government must show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by immediately revealing who these people are, where they are, and what has been done to them.
In fact, it has been our nation's collective paralysis, brought on by the mind-numbing horrors of 9/11, that has allowed this Administration to operate without regard to what is right, decent, or even legal. And now, what frightens me the most is watching the supporters of Obama and Clinton eat each other alive - effectively doing the work of Republicans to ensure that McCain will be elected. More of the same, as we sink to the levels of the worst violators of human rights.
I am ashamed of my country. I love my country, and I am deeply ashamed and humiliated. We must demand an accounting - nothing short of a complete list of names of these prisoners, and locations they are being held. We must demand they be charged, or released. We must demand fairness, and decency. And we must completely clean house in November.