Press TV has conducted an interview with Anthony Gregory, a research fellow with The Independent Institute, about Major General Michael Lehnert, the first commander of Guantanamo Bay detention camp demanding the immediate closure of the prison.
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: First of all, what is the significance in your opinion of Major General Lehnert, the first chief of the detention center not just censuring the policies that are being deployed there in Guantanamo but also calling for its immediate closure?
Gregory: Well it is significant, mostly that it shows how radically out of step the administration is even from many establishment voices.
Years ago we heard several prosecutors from Guantanamo call for it to be closed under Bush toward the end. Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates and other high officials were talking about ending it and of course Barack Obama as a senator and as a presidential candidate in 2008 also talked about closing it.
But these statements from the General of course, they go further. They talk about the process and how military commissions across the board for this kind of thing are inappropriate. It is a more establishment figure saying this by someone who is close to it and he is also going further in criticizing the policy. So it is very significant.
Press TV: Then there was those who said that what is happening and there is no question about it. What is happening in Guantanamo Bay prison is against international law The rights of these detainees are being violated on a daily basis.
Now with Major General Lehnert speaking up and shedding light and confirming these rights violations, do you see this issue being taken further in a more international arena?
Gregory: I do not know if the international community will be able to do anything effectively other than expressing more outrage which of course would be very positive development.
Unfortunately the US government does a lot of things that clash with international law and international standards. The American people might rally around more sane policy at this point but unfortunately with the news cycle, you know last year the force-feeding, the hunger strike, these horrible abuses of human rights at Guantanamo got some news and attention and became a story but then the story kind of fell by the wayside even though the abuses continued.
So this is an important development and we have seen some slight movement toward gradually freeing people. The administration finally released a few others not so long ago but it has really become a trickle under this administration.
The Bush administration of course rounded up most of the people but it also released people much more often than this administration which has bragged about being harder against the detainees than the Bush administration.
So I think that really what matters, if we want to see change on this, there needs to be public uproar within the United States.