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The Deeper, Darker Meaning Behind Not Closing Guantánamo


The Deeper, Darker Meaning Behind Not Closing Guantánamo

John Perkins

The other night on John Oliver’s HBO program, I saw a funny montage of President Obama repeatedly stating his intention to close Guantanamo. In the beginning, the youthful president was unequivocal. But with each successive news clip—and as his hair became increasingly grayer—Mr. Obama became less emphatic. He was practically conciliatory in his last public statement about closing the offshore prison. As I said, it was supposed to be funny. But the reality of the situation is not a laughing matter.


The American experiment is over--it ended in failure. Corruption laid waiting in the tall grass and pounced and pounced until the booty was won. The American reality is simply grab as much as you can. Pretty depressing.


Deeply excited by his initial victory, I sent President Obama a well thought out letter by snail mail asking him to consider closing Guantanamo and returning it to Cuba, and at the same time, starting a dialogue as a sort of reset of South American relations. I believed it would return us to November 21, 1963 for another opportunity to “get it right”. Several weeks later I received a form letter back… I shouldn’t have been so naive; but I was. To give President Obama some credit, I can’t know what kind of pressure he was and is under, but it is clear that he didn’t assemble the Cabinet he promised and it certainly hasn’t been an intellectual presidency. No great “Team of Rivals” there.


I think it's Alex Jones who refers to earth as a "Prison Planet."

According to the Buddha (founder of the Buddhist religion), we are all imprisoned upon the wheel of karma until we work off our debts, or learn to be so free of desire and utterly without attachments to earth and its temptations, as to transcend it.

Lately, Guy MacPherson has been saying that our planet--as living being capable of sustaining current life forms, our own included--is already in an unstoppable process of utter collapse.

The cognoscenti on global economics explain that the system has been so over-leveraged to cover the casino capitalism "sky's the limit" bets, that a massive collapse is imminent.

And then there are the neo-cons trying to tease the Russian Bear into direct WW III conflagration.

One takes in these things, along with the insights offered by Mr. Perkins in extending the liberty-deficit at Guantanamo to the rest of us... and one is left feeling demoralized.

Ordinarily, there might be time for a course correction. At this point, collapse may well be upon us although I do find optimism in the SURGE behind Bernie Sander's "feel the burn."

I also realize that just as those living centuries ago were convinced the earth was flat and saw no way out of that paradigm, that there may be some massive collective shift in consciousness that may yet Deliver humanity from the triplicate horrors that lots of felonious persons put into motion. (Some of these actions had the support of some of the people, some of it was coerced, some of it came into practice through martial force and/or deceptions repeated often in the place of truth, and more yet from religions' false prophets.)

Thank you, Mr. Perkins. Your experience in the world of Hit Men for Empire and finding the chutzpah to exit is reminiscent of the Bible's tale of the Prodigal Son.


Guantánamo represents a monumental failure in US policy and diplomacy since 9/11. It defies everything the US stands for.

This is a matter of perspective, depending on the country you happen call home. For so many countries of the world, Gitmo represents exactly what this country stands for. It is the real America, exposed at it's bleeding, cancerous core and reinforced, continuously, with bombs and drone strikes from above.


Thank you and a must read before the conventions and elections in November. What I cannot understand is with all these books i.e. Shock Doctrine: Disaster Capitalism and many other books that outline this corruption and enslaving of peoples of nations across the world, how to they get away with continuing their destructive ways?

There is no accountability, is the whole establishment in on this take over of the worlds resources? The establishments of the West?


"Why our elected officials are so opposed to transferring prisoners to sites in the continental United States may seem easy to understand. However, it begs the question: why should we subject Cuba or any other country to doing what we ourselves dare not do? This is not just seen as a double standard; it is viewed as outright cowardice."

John, I read your original book "Confessions...." some years ago and intend to do so with your new version; a must read for all concerned citizens. But I must state the following:

First, Guantanamo is a stolen part of Cuba and Cubans have nothing to do with what goes on there anymore than some of the other countries peoples around the world who hold the hell hole gulag's maintained and operated by US personnel and their foreign puppet governments.

As such, it is the US Government and those people in it who are directly, and indirectly, responsible for such inhumane and illegal treatment of other people that have to be held accountable to the full extent of the law. Citizens of the US must demand that Guantanamo be given back to its rightful owners, the Cuban people. At that point the gates to this shameful prison will be thrown open by the liberating Cubans, Auschwitz style, and the horrors of this evil place will be opened to the world. Only then will justice begin to be served on those deserving it. Only then can American citizens have any chance of taking pride in being Americans and begin to address the other actions which you so rightly describe in "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man".


Beg to respectfully differ. It is not over until it is over. Read the Declaration of Independence and the Articles which introduce our Constitution. We have the mechanism to change things. Do we have the courage to do so? Those that took on the king risked their lives. Yes I know that each had their reasons, but what resulted were those blueprints giving legitimacy for citizens to take action against those who would dare try and steal those blueprints from us. Paul Revere rides forever in the hearts of a free citizenry.


I was a delegate to our state convention for Barrack Obama. Worst mistake I have ever made in my life. Whatever the reasons for Obama being such a dismal failure to all the people who put such faith in his promises as a man and as our President, are surely unknown to most, but I will say it again, "The man has turned out to be a fraud and a coward." Yes he let it slip at that White House dinner, "look what happened to MLK (or did he sayJFK)", I'll leave that to your memory, but any person who sends others to die, who indiscriminately orders the killing of others and who allows the torture and illegal imprisonment of others to save his political skin and assure his retirement speaking fees is a coward. Sending others to die for their country and being afraid to do the same is cowardice in my mind. (I know, "dying for their country" is a false statement to make, but many were wrongly coerced into thinking just that). That said, I would like to ask all CD readers to give a little dough to keep this site alive; I did and have over the years. I also give to several others like Consortium, Truthout, Truthdig, and a couple more. These sites are like magazines, but even better, as we can express our views to each other and know that there are others out there paying attention; even some trolls. Who cares if there are some trolls, anyway? Fear and guilt are two of the worst human emotions. Let's shrug off both.


Yes, Feel the Bern.


Comm'on! Join the establishment ' s 'tailgate' party! Go, go, USA!

What fools so many have been; what fools so many have become. There is in reality, however, only one team. Team Earth and all humanity and all life who together make up a large part of it. We either collectively become responsible players on Earth's team and live, or we humans continue with our cancerous ways and we all die and take the innocents with us.


Thank you Mr. Perkins. Am preparing the girding before reading your updated book.
I think that much of what has happened since 9-11 is the result of what I call "Mission Accomplished, Inc."
(Don't need to elaborate for fellow CD'ers.)
I think it'll always be an open question as to why Obama made the right turn so quickly; he either pulled the classic bait & switch, or he was (and is) under an unknown degree of duress.


The books you cite likely have a very low readership, which would explain in part why the devolution continues.


I am reading "The Assassination of Julius Caesar" by Michael Parenti and it's mind-blowing that the SAME kinds of corruptions notable today were well in practice in that era, about 2500 years ago!

Capital--before capitalism existed--always exerted undue influence. After all, if someone has lots of gold (or whatever the collateral in use), they can BUY protection in the form of soldiers/private guards, and buy law, and buy the influence of representatives.

David Icke has a fascinating documentary on the role played by Saturn in myth and practice. And Saturn represents the concretization of power starting with the banking system and ruling elites.

Remember: knowledge of a thing is not necessarily commensurate with the power or influence to alter that thing.

Slaves were quite aware of slavery, yet lacked the power to shift the system OF slavery.

In a sense, we are all captive to capital and the controls of Big Money.

Like I said, the same kinds of false narratives, planting evidence, accusing the reformer of being a danger to society, and other canards go WAY back in time and are hardly limited to U.S. culture.


This country was founded upon the exploitation of the Native peoples. All one need do is compare The Constitution of the Iroquois to that which our founding fathers constructed to see how it has all come to this. In exchange for their vast land and resources the white supremacists gave them pieces of broken glass. We travel the world like snake oil salesmen promoting our brand of 'democracy' which is, according to Plato, the lowest form of government.

It is unfortunate that we are collectively buying into the negativity and allowing all of this to become so depressing. This is exactly what the global junta is banking on---collective demoralization. We are overwhelmed by the extent of evil the people who we voted to represent us as leaders have promulgated throughout the world, and the real joke on us is that we are paying for it in every conceivable way. We have failed to hold these people accountable, but we also must remember that ultimately they have no recourse but to destroy themselves. There is one power that keeps all of our hearts beating every single second. That much we seem to forget as technology exceeds our humanity. It is all very pitiful, isn't it?

"When justice fails, we appeal to Heaven." - John Locke


Women, Blacks, Latinos, and the poor had virtually NO power and NO voice in any of these decisions. But still, forum regulars traffic in a one-size-fits-all WE frame that grants no particulars to the particulars of power, influence, assets, access, intelligence, integrity, position, etc.

Since society is structured as a hierarchy, power follows down the hierarchy. The struggle for democracy--based on a society that truly allots freedom and justice for all--is akin to don Quixote's "Impossible Dream." It's never been accomplished and remains a struggle in perpetual process.


This article was about promoting his new book and not about those thrown into the dungeon of Guantanamo.

While it is good that he has repented his former cynical evils and been 'born again' as a progressive pundit... He is still a salesman and one can see why he was good at it. However he said nothing really about Guantanamo or its prisoners or even why Obama has failed to close it. He did explain about EHMs as he calls what he did.

I can appreciate that he repented (rethought what he was doing) and turned over a new leaf but that doesn't mean he is now a saint. I think that people like Freida Berrigan who went to Guantanamo and held long fasts and vigils to bring attention to the plight of the detainees when they had virtually been forgotten by the world comes far closer. People of good will have been arrested and paid some personal price for decency's sake and in support of those being force fed and imprisioned without trial.

Some would use them only as a means to promote a new book after seeing a funny clip on Obama on a TV show.

Yay Freida... You have a deep heart.


How much clearer can John be ? The corrupt Empire of the military worshiping USA has been exposed by Perkins, Snowden,Manning , Ken O'Keefe and others. Maybe the masses are catching on to the Bushes, Clintons et al.


Right... pay no attention to the Bernie phenomenon and so much principled action on so many fronts. You define matters through the narrow prism of what DOMINATORS do.


Do most USAians support "current Guantanamo policy"? If so, that's a worry and what a waste of time 1776 and all that has turned out to be. We did it better in 1649. I thought the USA stood for freedom from tyranny etc etc etc.