Yes indeed, this Friday (20 January 2006) it was exactly 4 years ago since Pentagon released the now well-known photographs of Guantanamo detainees in their orange outfits, kneeling and being subjected to deprivation and degradation.
The publication of these photographs generated global outrage and fierce debates concerning, among other things, the status of international human rights in the ‘war on terror’.
Given the prominence of current debates about the rights of Guantanamo detainees and about the circumvention of international legal frameworks prohibiting Torture it is hard to believe that it has now been 4 years and 4 days since similar debates first began.
However, these suspicions and doubt are fairly easy to confront – one needs only search the web for a second to find this story in the headlines on 20 January 2002.
Another question, which it is much less easy to confront, is the issue of what this signifies?
I don’t intend to answer this question but simply to suggest that it is a sign that we have not really moved very far in these four years nevertheless seem too hasty given recent disclosures of new dimensions of the ‘war on terror’ secrecy, namely the debates about the alleged complicity of European governments.
So this fourth anniversary generates a number of questions one of which is why it is so hard to believe that the now famous Camp X-Ray photographs and the outrage they sparked are really four years old?