Will religion decide the fate of the Guantánamo Bay detainees? | Aziz Huq

The Trump administration offers moved from releasing detainees depending on their risk factor to dealing with individuals as dangerous because of their belief

<! –[if IE 9]> <![endif]–> The US naval train station in Guantá namo Bay, Cuba.

‘ Trump has taken the startling move associated with suggesting that he would start delivering some arrested in the US mainland in order to Guantá namo. ’
Photograph: Paul Brown/EPA

Will religion decide the destiny of the Guantá namo Bay detainees?

The particular Trump administration has moved through releasing detainees based on their danger factor to treating individuals because dangerous because of their faith

Capital t he first twenty prisoners arrived at the Guantá namo naval base 12 years back, on 11 January 2002. As a whole, 779 prisoners would be brought to the Cuban facility for detention as “ enemy combatants”. Just one has ever been charged in an common criminal court. For the rest, detention has been at the Pentagon’ s caprice.

Yet releases did take place – in surprisingly bipartisan flow. Between January 2002 and Dec 2008, the Bush administration released about 520 detainees – two-thirds of the overall detainee human population. At the end of the Obama administration, only 41 males remained . Five of them had been also cleared for release.

They still are usually. The last departures from Guantá namo happened almost a year ago upon President Obama’ s watch. Neglecting to make a single release, the Trump administration has broken from a bipartisan policy of drawing down the Guantá namo population. Instead, he has actually taken the startling move of recommending that he would begin sending some arrested in the US landmass there.

There is absolutely no formal policy explaining this spectacular change. The Trump administration sailed a good executive order leading the Pentagon to “ sustain and continue to use” the Cuban prison. But this order had been never published. And the recently launched nationwide security strategy can make no mention of detention.

Even without explicit description the standstill at Guantá namo fits snugly within the Trump administration’ s approach to terrorism and assault. Across the board, the administration provides shifted from a policy of concentrating on the risk of violence to a plan of targeting beliefs that are presumed to become violent.

The change from risk to religion can be manifest across a wide range of policies. Each as candidate and as president , Trump has loudly advanced the false and derogatory view that will Muslims are intrinsically prone to assault.

This unpleasant stereotype most obviously infuses their September 2017 travel ban. This particular exercise in “ extreme vetting” nearly entirely burdens Muslim travelers. Its minimal coverage associated with Venezuelans and North Koreans – groups unlikely to reach the US within great numbers – is just sufficient to allow government lawyers to refuse discriminatory intent with a straight encounter.

The different functions of risk and religion also are plain to see in Trump’ s i9000 responses to mass killings within Las Vegas and New York city. When the criminal is not Muslim, the White Home actively resists calls for reform . Once the perpetrator is Muslim, Trump will be quick to blame the “ lax immigration system” and also to guarantee even more “ severe vetting. ”

The particular religious identity of supposed terrorist, across these cases, explains policy better than any plausible assessment of risk.

The same holds true for Guantá namo.

Under both Bush and Obama, the Pentagon engaged in individualized evaluations of each detainee predicated on their own statements and intelligence from many sources. Documents released by Wiki leaks reveal that each detainee was scored on a four-point scale based on their risk and intelligence values.

Detainee assessments contained many errors, and reached unconscionably erroneous results in many cases. But having carefully studied these assessments, and examined empirically the determinants of launch, it’ s clear to me there was an effort to rank plus release the detainees by danger.

There is a entire world between this approach, however flawed, along with a decision to scrap any and all initiatives to look beyond a person’ s i9000 religious background. It is one thing to attempt to evaluate individuals, and then make mistakes. It really is another thing entirely to treat individuals because dangerous because of their faith.

In categorically refusing to maneuver on any of the remaining 41 detainees at the Cuban base – such as the five cleared for release – the Trump administration provides thus changed quite fundamentally the foundation of their detention: it is now a faith-based prison, not one grounded on information about individuals, however flawed.

Of course , racialized stereotypes of swarthy “ bad guys” have propelled public antipathy to the Guantá namo detainees since 2002. But , no matter what their manifold faults, neither the particular Bush nor the Obama got those stereotypes as the formal touchstone for release policy.

By taking that will step, even if implicitly, the Trump administration has fulfilled its guarantee to return America to an era associated with past “ greatness” – the truly great injustice of the race-based incarceration associated with Japanese-American during the second world battle.

  • Aziz Huq directs the Liberty plus National Security Project of the Brennan Center for Justice and is advice in several Guantá namo detainee instances

The Guardian