UN: Shut Guantanamo Down

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Following an 18 month investigation directed by the UN Commission on Human Rights, five experts have called for the U.S. to close Guantanamo Bay. Determining that the force feeding techniques employed by the facility are acts of torture, the UN envoys have composed a 38-page report on their findings. Although the report will not be released until the next UN Commission meeting on March 13, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has already started doing damage control, calling the findings “unfounded.”

The reason? The UN experts based their findings on interviews with released prisoners, lawyers, family members and U.S. officials, but never personally toured the facility. Now it’s true that the UN members did in fact reject an invitation to visit the detention center, but McCormack has already acknowledged that even if they had accepted, they would not have been granted access to prisoners. Nevertheless, McCormack added, “just because they decided not to take up the U.S. government on the offer to go to Guantanamo Bay does not automatically give them the right to publish a report that is merely hearsay and not based on fact.”

So sometime during the last six months, the Bush administration “invited” inspectors to tour the facility, but purely on the basis of limited access—all so that the White House could dispute the authenticity of the report when it finally came out.

It should also be noted that last June UN inspectors were sitting around waiting to gain access to Guantanamo, a year after their initial “strong and urgent” request to access the facility. Calling U.S. authorities unresponsive, UN representative Paul Hunt called for an investigation to “check the accuracy of … other allegations concerning the health of detainees …. to see the conditions for myself, to talk privately with detainees and to discuss on site with medical staff and others….So I’m extremely disappointed that despite waiting for 18 months, and despite several requests, the authorities have not seen fit to grant permission to visit Guantánamo Bay.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend