War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced yesterday that the treatment of the Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners detainedat Guantanamo Bay is both “humane” and “appropriate”. Rumsfeld’s unusual hour-long briefing came just days after theDefense Department released photographs of some of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Their heads bowed, they kneltbefore their captors. Their legs were in shackles, their hands were bound in manacles, their mouths covered bysurgical masks and their eyes blinded by large goggles with black tape. The photographs sparked outraged charges thatthe U.S. had violated the Geneva Convention.
Yesterday a coalition of civil rights attorneys, journalism professors, and clergy members brought a petition beforea federal judge in Los Angeles alleging that the United States is holding the Guantanamo prisoners illegally. Thepetition requests that U.S. authorities produce the prisoners in a U.S. court, explain the reasons for theirdetention and accord them the rights of Prisoners of War. But a federal judge said yesterday that he has “gravedoubts” whether he has jurisdiction over more than 100 prisoners captured in Afghanistan and detained by the militaryin Cuba.
Today we will speak with one of the lead figures in that coalition.
- Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General and founder of the International Action Center.
- Stephen Solley, Chairman of the British bar human rights commission.