Twenty years after Guantánamo Bay detention operations commenced on January 11, 2002, a new report assesses the massive costs of U.S. unlawful transfers, secret detention, and torture after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The report, released in conjunction with Human Rights Watch, outlines how these abuses trample on the rights of victims and suspects, create a burden to U.S. taxpayers, and damage counterterrorism efforts worldwide, ultimately jeopardizing universal human rights protections for everyone.
The report also cites instances in which unlawful rendition and detention and torture have undermined U.S. security goals. The Islamic State (ISIS) and other armed groups have used U.S. abuses as a propaganda tool to lure recruits and bolster their narrative that Washington and its Western allies are waging a crusade against Muslims.
The authors call on the Biden administration to close the Guantánamo prison and enact significant legal and policy reforms to end further abuses. Reforms should include far greater transparency about crimes that U.S. forces committed and accountability at the highest levels, as well as robust efforts to address religious, racial, and ethnic bias in counterterrorism efforts.
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