Guantánamo represents a monumental failure in US policy and diplomacy since 9/11. It defies everything the US stands for. Why our elected officials are so opposed to transferring prisoners to sites in the continental United States may seem easy to understand. However, it begs the question: why should we subject Cuba or any other country to doing what we ourselves dare not do? This is not just seen as a double standard; it is viewed as outright cowardice.
More than ten years ago in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, I first exposed a group of seemingly legitimate international dealmakers as the Economic Hit Men (EHMs) we actually were. Waiting in the shadows were jackal assassins who stepped in when our EHM activities were not enough to get the job done.
To make matters worse, we stipulated that the loans were to be used to hire our rather expensive companies to build infrastructure projects. Money earmarked for education, healthcare and other social programmes was diverted by the cost of the projects to pay interest on the loans, reinforcing a vicious circle that ensured that these countries remained in servitude to the US and global corporations. It was a system secured by fear. Leaders who protested this unfair system were overthrown or assassinated. In recent years, EHMs have radically expanded their ranks and adopted new disguises and tools.
People, who are paying attention, recognise that the world teeters on the brink of disaster – economic, political, social, and environmental disaster. The refusal of our elected officials to deny basic legal and human rights to prisoners in Guantánamo is a dark metaphor for the attack on the legal and moral fabric of American society in general.
Many of our politicians, including senators and congressional representatives, have taken on the roles of EHMs. And the thousands of other men and women who pass through the ‘revolving door’ of government certainly don’t identify themselves as EHMs. They work for consulting or law firms and go by euphemistic titles such as ‘counsellor’, ‘consultant’, or ‘adviser in government affairs’ – just as I officially was ‘chief economist’ for a highly regarded consulting firm.
However, their real job is – as mine was – to con governments and the public into submitting to policies that make the rich richer and the poor poorer. This is no less true here at home than anywhere else in the world. These EHMs are paid to support and expand a global corporate empire. They spread the tentacles of a death economy across the planet. It is an economy based not only on debt, but on militarisation, fear, and the destruction of resources.
And let’s not forget the jackals. In my day, they mostly were assigned to foreign lands. In the aftermath of 9/11, fear has driven many Americans to sacrifice privacy and freedom and give the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, and other agencies unprecedented powers. Tools perfected overseas, including drones, computer hacking, and surveillance aircraft, are now used to spy on citizens of the United States. Are we that far removed from the fate of those imprisoned in Guantánamo?
The stubborn refusal of our officials to address the crimes perpetrated by the US government at Guantánamo is but the tip of the iceberg. Since 9/11, the almost imperceptible decimation of our rights as Americans – not to mention our incomes – has occurred with systematic, and unconstitutional, efficiency.
So, as we listen to the debate over the future of Guantánamo and the people who have been imprisoned there without habeas corpus or any rights whatsoever, without having been accused of any specific crime, let us ask ourselves what message this sends to the world and also what it implies about our own future – and liberties.
This article has been excerpted from: ‘The deeper, darker meaning behind not closing Guantánamo’.