Monday, June 14, 2004

Where the hell is Guantanamo Bay?

You'll remember that the Bush Administration has been vehemently arguing that Guantanamo Bay isn't part of the United States, and thus prisoners there are not subject to the protections of American laws, including Constitutional rights protections. Now that the torture investigations are starting to point to Guanatanamo Bay, this may turn out to be a case of being hoist by their own petard. The statute that worries them that makes torture a criminal offence only applies to torture committed 'outside the United States'. Therefore, the Pentagon is apparently now arguing that Guantanamo Bay is "included within the definition of the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the US and accordingly is within the US." Therefore Guantanamo Bay is simultaneously:

  • for the purposes of American Constitutional law, located outside the United States;

  • for the purposes of international human rights and war crimes laws, not located in the world outside the United States; and

  • for the purposes of one American statute, located within the United States!