Catch21 - Our Charity ArmCatch21 is a charitable production company set up in 2005 which trains young people to make videos and engage with their communities.Catch Creative - Our Video Production ArmCatch Creative offers a complete video production service, from Conception to Distribution.Catch EngagementCatch Engagement is the new video interaction platform from Catch21 which allows you to run a campaign using both user generated films as well as professionally shot ones which are displayed via Video 'Walls'. Catch Engagement is all about using films to build an online community - welcome to the future of video.

We shoot cutting edge videos and provide a forum to give people a voice.
Engagement. Discussion. Empowerment.


All content featured on our charity site is produced by young volunteers with the support and mentoring of our professional production team.

International no image

Published on November 30th, 2012 | by Katie Wetherall
Image © [caption id="attachment_11451" align="alignnone" width="566"] (AP Photo/Toronto Star, Michelle Shephard, Pool)[/caption] A new report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has revealed that there is now enough space for the 166 detainees to be moved  from Guantanamo Bay, the infamous detention camp. Commissioned by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the report details up to six military prisons and 98 Justice Department prisons all across America, that have available space and security requirements. The study shows that US prisons already hold up to 378 prisoners convicted for terrorism, in 98 facilities. Feinstein, a Democrat from California, argues that as “there hasn't been a single security problem reported in any of these cases, this fact outweighs not only the high cost of maintaining Guantanamo – which costs more than $114 million a year – but also provides the same degree of security without the criticism of operating a military prison in an isolated location." So far, So good – the along waited closure of Guantanamo and the suspension of military tribunals, as set out by Obama on 14 January 2009, will surely be a landmark in American politics. Guantanamo Bay, and its blatant human rights abuses, marked the height of atrocities committed under the Bush Administration during America’s War on Terror. At the end of 2009, Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work, and himself described Guantánamo as a "sad chapter in American history.’ In truth, what is even sadder is Guantanamo may be here for many more years. The report bases all the possibilities of closure on one thing: ‘if the political will exists’; it very much looks as if President Obama has lost this will. Faced with an unemployment rate of 7.9%, the likelihood of the fiscal cliff and growing tension in a new wave of Middle East Crises, the issue of Guantanamo is not in the forefront of American Politics.  And so despite this space being available, a history of continued setbacks, postponement and avoidance confirms the growing worry that Obama’s promise will fall flat. How have we let America’s biggest scandal go unnoticed and unchecked? The first problem is cutting through the paperwork. Most of the files surrounding the detainees at Guantanamo are non-existent, meaning they have to be processed and the evidence assembled.  This meant that Obama’s first deadline for the camp’s closure was missed.  Two years later, Obama signed a ssecond order, this time to set up a lengthy review proces for detainees.  Efforts to prepare US Military Prisons for the arrival of detainees from Guantanamo failed, with State Senators for Kansas, such as Pat Roberts, and Sam Brownback, objecting to efforts to rehouse terrorist suspects in Fort Leavenworth, a military prison  in their state. They subsequently opposed Obama in Congress. Further legislation, such as the  Defence Authorization Bill, has placed restrictions on the transfer of Guantánamo prisoners to the mainland or to other foreign countries.  Obama signed this in January 2011, despite continually voicing objections to its stance upon Guantanamo. This is a stance further entrenched in the National Defence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which not only denied funds for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees into US Military prisons, but allowed for the indefinite detention of Americans in a military prison without trial. This was the case in 2011, and, unless something dramatic happens – will carry on into 2013 too. Obama of course, has blamed such legislation on opposition from Republican lawmakers in Congress, who have been arguing for the need for Guantanamo to stay open as a high-security detention centre for terrorist suspects.  Defending his decision to sign acts that fundamentally prohibit the conditions needed for Guantanamo’s closure, Barack Obama responded: ‘The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.’ Some politicians, such as Roberts and Brownback, have even voiced the opinion that detainees may wish to prefer to stay in Guantanamo, due to better food, healthcare and living conditions than in overcrowded US military prisons. The silent minority, the detainees themselves, of course have no voice in this complex affair. Of the 166 detainees still being held, as of January 2012, at least 12 were in the original group of terrorist suspects that was transferred to Guantanamo on 11th January 2002. Whilst one of these members is serving a life sentence, having been convicted in 2008, 11 others have not even been charged – and they have been detained for over 10 years. Shaker Amer, a Saudi Arabian citizen and British resident is one of these ‘Guantanamo veterans’ , having been detained without charge since February 2002, and was continually subject to torture and systematic abuse. For people like Shaker, a father of four, Obama’s pledge to close Guantanamo has made no impact, rendering his 2008 election promise useless. So is there any hope for the detainees? Since Obama’s pledge there have been 4 deaths in Guantanamo, two of which suspected suicides. Currently, there are 46 captives now designated for indefinite detention, without charge or trial, and it seems like nothing can be done about it. Arguably Obama is fighting against an impossible force; a Republican House of Representatives and a Senate with only a small Democrat majority. Nevertheless the President has neglected to fulfill one of his central campaign promises; a policy that was central to the image of ‘change’ preached during his candidacy and presidency. Instead he has allowed this critical moral fight to stagnate and slip into the background behind other domestic issues. Obama constantly portrays himself as a fighter for justice, but on Guantanamo, he now seems unable or unwilling to fight.      

1

Guantanamo Bay lives on

(AP Photo/Toronto Star, Michelle Shephard, Pool)

A new report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has revealed that there is now enough space for the 166 detainees to be moved  from Guantanamo Bay, the infamous detention camp. Commissioned by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the report details up to six military prisons and 98 Justice Department prisons all across America, that have available space and security requirements. The study shows that US prisons already hold up to 378 prisoners convicted for terrorism, in 98 facilities. Feinstein, a Democrat from California, argues that as “there hasn’t been a single security problem reported in any of these cases, this fact outweighs not only the high cost of maintaining Guantanamo – which costs more than $114 million a year – but also provides the same degree of security without the criticism of operating a military prison in an isolated location.”

So far, So good – the along waited closure of Guantanamo and the suspension of military tribunals, as set out by Obama on 14 January 2009, will surely be a landmark in American politics. Guantanamo Bay, and its blatant human rights abuses, marked the height of atrocities committed under the Bush Administration during America’s War on Terror. At the end of 2009, Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work, and himself described Guantánamo as a “sad chapter in American history.’

In truth, what is even sadder is Guantanamo may be here for many more years.

The report bases all the possibilities of closure on one thing: ‘if the political will exists’; it very much looks as if President Obama has lost this will. Faced with an unemployment rate of 7.9%, the likelihood of the fiscal cliff and growing tension in a new wave of Middle East Crises, the issue of Guantanamo is not in the forefront of American Politics.  And so despite this space being available, a history of continued setbacks, postponement and avoidance confirms the growing worry that Obama’s promise will fall flat. How have we let America’s biggest scandal go unnoticed and unchecked?

The first problem is cutting through the paperwork. Most of the files surrounding the detainees at Guantanamo are non-existent, meaning they have to be processed and the evidence assembled.  This meant that Obama’s first deadline for the camp’s closure was missed.  Two years later, Obama signed a ssecond order, this time to set up a lengthy review proces for detainees.  Efforts to prepare US Military Prisons for the arrival of detainees from Guantanamo failed, with State Senators for Kansas, such as Pat Roberts, and Sam Brownback, objecting to efforts to rehouse terrorist suspects in Fort Leavenworth, a military prison  in their state. They subsequently opposed Obama in Congress.

Further legislation, such as the  Defence Authorization Bill, has placed restrictions on the transfer of Guantánamo prisoners to the mainland or to other foreign countries.  Obama signed this in January 2011, despite continually voicing objections to its stance upon Guantanamo. This is a stance further entrenched in the National Defence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which not only denied funds for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees into US Military prisons, but allowed for the indefinite detention of Americans in a military prison without trial. This was the case in 2011, and, unless something dramatic happens – will carry on into 2013 too.

Obama of course, has blamed such legislation on opposition from Republican lawmakers in Congress, who have been arguing for the need for Guantanamo to stay open as a high-security detention centre for terrorist suspects.  Defending his decision to sign acts that fundamentally prohibit the conditions needed for Guantanamo’s closure, Barack Obama responded: ‘The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.’

Some politicians, such as Roberts and Brownback, have even voiced the opinion that detainees may wish to prefer to stay in Guantanamo, due to better food, healthcare and living conditions than in overcrowded US military prisons. The silent minority, the detainees themselves, of course have no voice in this complex affair.

Of the 166 detainees still being held, as of January 2012, at least 12 were in the original group of terrorist suspects that was transferred to Guantanamo on 11th January 2002. Whilst one of these members is serving a life sentence, having been convicted in 2008, 11 others have not even been charged – and they have been detained for over 10 years. Shaker Amer, a Saudi Arabian citizen and British resident is one of these ‘Guantanamo veterans’ , having been detained without charge since February 2002, and was continually subject to torture and systematic abuse. For people like Shaker, a father of four, Obama’s pledge to close Guantanamo has made no impact, rendering his 2008 election promise useless.

So is there any hope for the detainees? Since Obama’s pledge there have been 4 deaths in Guantanamo, two of which suspected suicides. Currently, there are 46 captives now designated for indefinite detention, without charge or trial, and it seems like nothing can be done about it. Arguably Obama is fighting against an impossible force; a Republican House of Representatives and a Senate with only a small Democrat majority. Nevertheless the President has neglected to fulfill one of his central campaign promises; a policy that was central to the image of ‘change’ preached during his candidacy and presidency. Instead he has allowed this critical moral fight to stagnate and slip into the background behind other domestic issues. Obama constantly portrays himself as a fighter for justice, but on Guantanamo, he now seems unable or unwilling to fight.

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,


About the Author

Katie Wetherall

Katie Wetherall, 17, is studying A-Level Politics. She is especially interested in the renewal of democracy in UK and Europe. She writes on issues concerning civil liberties, human rights and the influence of the media on politics. Katie is a strong believer that political participation is the key to democracy and is an ongoing theme within her blogs. She is currently working towards promoting politics to young people through journalism and her local community. Katie is hoping to pursue a degree in Politics and International Relations and continue to write on current affairs.



  • Peter

    Inspired!!

Back to Top ↑