Muhammed Enes Öztürk

Muhammed Enes Öztürk

Guantanamo: America's notorious battle lab

Guantanamo: America's notorious battle lab

Since its first day, Guantanamo had been at the epicenter of ethical and political discussions. The US government consistently tried to portray all Guantanamo detainees as the "worst people of humankind, devilish and dangerous." While these accusations were undebated in the first years of the so-called "War on Terror," in the forthcoming years, the rhetoric of the American government started to fall.

The US failed to persuade the public that it's a must to hold these people under detention. When the international community had a chance to learn what was exactly going on at Guantanamo, things got worse for the US government.

Within years, human rights organizations and lawyers openly stated that there isn't any evidence about most of the detainees. More shockingly,  it was revealed that the generality of prisoners detained there without charge or trial.

Since 2002, 779 Muslim men have been held at Guantanamo.

After 20 years, what we learned behind all of these processes is more irritative. And it is that the whole process wasn't about a legal thing to "punish" some so-called criminals or to "protect" the Western society from so-called "terror threat." Following the American "War on Terror" campaign, by the bombings, tortures, violations, and other gruesome practices of the US, Muslim people learned what terror means.

And all of the tortures (or with a more "American" rhetoric, enhanced interrogation techniques) have proven to be useless. Because, after the years full of blood, it was reported that there is little to no useful information gained from Guantanamo detainees by torture.

So, what is the meaning of all of these sufferings and expenses?

Battle lab of the US

If we think of Guantanamo as a mini model of Nazi concentration camps we can attain a good perspective. Nazi scientists made atrocious experiments on alive people. With human experiments, they seek to acquire so-called scientific discoveries in various disciplines. Thus, they could use these discoveries to "secure their country, strengthen their army" and so on. Later, some of these "scientists" were employed by the United States in Operation Paperclip, by the way.

What the Guantanamo is? If we take Guantanamo as a detention center/prison where criminals stand on trial, we can't understand its true face. Likewise, if we think that the mere objective of the US government in Guantanamo is to intimidate "jihadists" this won't be true either.

In recent years, more and more researchers conclude that Guantanamo is a battle lab of the US. In this living lab, the US government tortured people, abuse them physically and mentally, deprive them of food and sleep, and so on. Through these practices, they examined prisoners' behaviors, reactions, ways of thinking, tendencies, even dreams and way of life. To determine how can they enhance their battle capabilities against the world, especially the Islamic world. This battle isn't solely a physical and active battle on fronts. As the US government repeated multiple times, this is a battle for hearts and minds. By examining some 779 Muslims from various countries, beliefs, and cultures, under torture, the US government shaped its policies, strategies, and tactics against the Muslim world. This project isn't limited to Guantanamo, I think.

Closing the Guantanamo can ease some pain. But unethical behavior of the US, the idea of establishing a mini concentration camp-a battle lab will remain forever.

I believe that in the forthcoming years we will surely see reports about the outcomes of these experiments. But will there be a war crimes tribunal just like Nuremberg? Time will tell.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Mepa News.

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