Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day 100 of the hunger strike so many of those signing would say, time to close Gitmo!

Signers include:
John Cusack, Wallace Shawn, Junot Diaz, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Eve Ensler, Dave Eggers, Glenn Greenwald, Paul Haggis, Bianca Jagger, Ariel Dorfman, Erica Jong, Michael Moore, Ron Kovic, Moby, Tom Morello, Mark Ruffalo, James Schamus, Carl Dix, Oliver Stone, Cindy Sheehan, and Cornel West, joined by attorneys for the Guantanamo prisoners and hundreds of others who stand for justice

Add your name:

And while some prefer to resurrect dated articles hyping the rate of detainee recidivism, here's a current, in-depth report:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Watch Today's Briefing on the Guantanamo Detainees

Participants spoke about a recent report on detainee treatment at the Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba which confirmed the use of torture. They also talked about continuing efforts to transfer or charge detainees, and urged the Obama administration to be more aggressive in closing the prison. They responded to questions from the audience.

Panel members: Rep. Jim Moran (VA), Kristine Huskey (Assistant Professor), Pardiss Kebriaei (attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights), Lawrence B. Wilkerson (retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell), Dr. George Huntsinger ( ordained Presbyterian minister and Hazel Thompson McCord Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ. )

Thursday, May 9, 2013

25 Former Prisoners Urge President Obama to Close Guantánamo

 Gee, I wonder how many of them have gone on to attack the US again...

From Andy Worthington's most recent post:

Open letter from former Guantánamo prisoners
The Observer, May 5, 2013

Former inmates of the notorious prison say Barack Obama must made good on his claim to want it closed
The hunger strike by our former fellow prisoners at the Guantánamo prison camp should have already been the spur for President Obama to end this shameful saga, which has so lowered US prestige in the world.
It is now in its third month and around two-thirds of the 166 prisoners there are taking part. They are sick and weakened by 11 years of inhumane treatment and have chosen this painful way to gain the world’s attention. Eighty-six of these men have been cleared for release by this administration’s senior task force. Who can justify their continuing imprisonment? This must be ended by President Obama.
Since the opening of the prison camp, numerous prisoners held at Guantánamo have sporadically taken part in hunger strikes to protest their arbitrary imprisonment, treatment and conditions. This, however, is the first time the overwhelming majority of the prisoners are taking part — and for such an extended period.
It will, in a few months, be 12 years since the first prisoners were sent to Guantánamo by the Bush administration to avoid fair treatment and fair trials. At first the world was shocked by the images of shackled kneeling men in orange jumpsuits wearing face masks, blacked out eye-goggles and industrial ear muffs — in order to prevent them from seeing, hearing and speaking. Then they were mostly forgotten.
However, over time their voices did get heard as recurrent and corroborative stories of torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment came out when some of the men who endured it were released. Of the 779 prisoners once held at Guantánamo, 612 have been released — without charge, or apology. We are among these men and it is through our testimony — and that of the prisoners left behind, via their legal teams — that the voices of those who know the evil of Guantánamo are finally being heard.
Last week, a report by the Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment, which included two former senior US generals, and a Republican former congressman and lawyer, Asa Hutchinson, who served as administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency from 2001 before being appointed in January 2003 as Undersecretary in the biggest division of the Department of Homeland Security, described the practice of torture by the US administration as “indisputable”. The report also stated bluntly that the treatment and indefinite detention of the Guantánamo prisoners was “abhorrent and intolerable” and called for the prison camp to be closed by next year. Despite these findings the US administration continues to employ tactics that include:
  • The abuse of the prisoners’ religious rights, such as the desecration of the Qur’an
  • The use of chemical sprays and rubber bullets to “quell unrest”
  • Regular and humiliating strip searches
  • Extremely long periods in total isolation
  • Interference in privileged client/attorney relationships
  • Lack of meaningful communication with relatives
  • Arbitrary imprisonment without charge or trial
The present hunger strikes are a result of the culmination of over a decade of systematic human rights violations and the closing of every legal avenue for release. The appalling methods of force-feeding several of the prisoners in a crude attempt at keeping them alive, by strapping down their arms, legs and heads to a chair and forcing a tube through their nostrils and forcing down liquid food into their stomachs, demonstrates the absence of any morals and principles the US administration may claim to have regarding these men.
President Obama claimed he wanted to close Guantánamo and promised to do so. Four years after his initial promise, he has again acknowledged that Guantanamo is not necessary and must close. Speaking on 30 April 2013, the US president reaffirmed his commitment as it was, “not necessary to keep America safe, it is expensive, it is inefficient … it is a recruitment tool for extremists; it needs to be closed.”
We hope that on this occasion, such words are not mere empty rhetoric, but a promise to be realised.
  1. We make the following recommendations:
  2. For the American medical profession to stop its complicity with abusive forced feeding techniques.For conditions of confinement for detainees to be improved immediately.
  3. That all detainees who have not been charged should be released and
  4. That the military commissions process should be ended and all those charged should be tried in line with the Geneva Conventions.
Signed, former prisoners,
Moazzam Begg, UK
Sami Al- Hajj, Qatar
Omar Deghayes, UK
Jamal al-Hartih, UK
Ruhal Ahmed, UK
Richard Belmar, UK
Bisher al-Rawi, UK
Farhad Mohammed, Afghanistan
Waleed Hajj, Sudan
Moussa Zemmouri, Belgium
Adel Noori, Palau
Abu Bakker Qassim, Albania
Adel el-Gazzar; Egypt
Rafiq al-Hami, Tunisia
Salah al-Balushi, Bahrain
Sa’d al-Azami, Kuwait
Asif Iqbal, UK
Shafiq Rasul, UK
Feroz Abbasi, UK
Jamil el-Banna, UK
Murat Kurnaz, Germany
Sabir Lahmar, France
Lahcen Ikassrien, Spain
Imad Kanouni, France
Mourad Benchellali, France