By Matthew Rothschild on June 12, 2010

If you haven’t noticed, Obama is still holding prisoners down at Guantanamo Bay, even though he promised to have the place shut down by six months ago.

And leaving aside his upcoming shell game, whereby he’s going to shuffle prisoners over to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, consider for the moment the case of one individual still held at Guantanamo.

His name is Mohammed Hassan Odaini. He’s been at Guantanamo for eight years now. He was just 18 when he was taken there, having been plucked by Pakistani police while he was at university and when he had spent one night at a guest house.

Odaini always asserted that he had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, and actually his interrogators agreed shortly after he arrived. In 2004, a Pentagon official cleared him for release, but for six extra years now, he’s languished down there.

Subscribe to The Progressive

This is an outrage, as U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy ruled on Thursday.

In a 36-page decision that included seven full pages that were blotted out and many additional paragraphs that were redacted, Judge Kennedy wrote that “the evidence before the court overwhelmingly supports Odaini’s contention that he is unlawfully detained.”

Judge Kennedy said that the government lawyers engaged in a “misrepresentation of the evidence” and that they failed to summon “anything close” to the evidence necessary to hold Odaini.

In conclusion, Judge Kennedy wrote: “The evidence before the court shows that holding Odaini in custody at such great cost to him has done nothing to make the United States more secure. There is no evidence that Odaini has any connection to Al Qaeda. Consequently, his detention is not authorized by the AUMF [Authorization of Use of Military Force, passed by Congress after 9/11]. The court therefore emphatically concludes that Odaini’s motion must be granted.” Note the word “emphatically.”

It’s cases like Odaini’s that raised the ire of the world about what’s been going on down at Guantanamo, and that got Obama to agree to shut place down.

But Obama still drags his feet. And these grotesque injustices continue.

By the way, on Monday, June 14, 27 activists from the group Witness Against Torture face trial for their nonviolent civil disobedience at the Capitol on January 21.

“The continued operation of the prison camp at Guantanamo is unacceptable,” Matthew W. Daloisio of Witness Against Torture. “If Guantanamo was a foreign policy liability and stain on the rule of law on day one of the Obama presidency, it surely is eighteen months later.”

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

Subscribe to The Progressive

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker called 7th Circuit Judge Diane Sykes “one of our favorite jurists.”

The "Alternative Nobel"-winner combined a sociopolitical critique with a more traditional Buddhist outlook.

Frank Teruggi would have been 65 years old this year, had he not been brutally murdered by the Chilean military at...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter

Get Breaking News and Alerts!