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US Military to seize, burn Guantánamo Bay detainees’ art (PHOTOS) — RT US News

Published time: 18 Nov, 2017 13:28 The US Military has decided to seize artwork produced by...

My Guantánamo Diary, Uncensored | By

If I wanted to, I could put my pen down right now, close my office door behind me, and go for a long walk...
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Video: Guantánamo Prisoners on Hunger Strike Say Guards Threatened to Kill Them by Stopping...

https://democracynow.org - Guantánamo Bay detainees who are on hunger strike have accused officials of a sudden change in practice that could result in them...

Tom ‘two-dinners’ Watson joins Guantanamo solidarity hunger strike — RT UK

Published time: 17 Oct, 2017 11:45 Edited time: 17 Oct, 2017 12:59 Labour’s deputy leader...

Guantanamo death penalty case in limbo after defense lawyer mysteriously quits — RT America

The key defense attorney of the man alleged to be behind the USS ‘Cole’ bombing has...

‘Very fine place’: AG Sessions visits Guantanamo detention camp

Published time: 7 Jul, 2017 17:49 US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein,...
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Video: Youngest ever Guantanamo prisoner to receive $8mn from Canadian govt

Canada will apologise and pay the youngest ever Guantanamo detainee, Omar Khadr, CA$10.5 million (US$8mn) for being interrogated under “oppressive ... Via Youtube

Youngest ever Guantanamo prisoner to receive $8mn from Canadian govt – reports

Published time: 4 Jul, 2017 12:41 Edited time: 4 Jul, 2017 13:23 Canada will apologise and...
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Video: ‘Enhanced interrogation’: Guantanamo detainee sues CIA contractors over torture

The lawyers of an inmate at America's infamous Guantanamo Bay prison are suing the creators of the CIA's 'enhanced interrogation' programme - as part...

The "Stamp of Guantánamo" Brands Russian Former Prisoners for Life

​​A staged prison cell in the now-closed Camp 5 of the US prison facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, during a press tour, September 1,...

US court nixes publication of Guantanamo force-feeding video

Published time: 31 Mar, 2017 20:58 Releasing the videos of Guantanamo Bay guards force-feeding an inmate during...

Mystery Surrounds Guantánamo Detainee's "Suicide"

Why did key evidence concerning the alleged ''suicide'' of Guantánamo detainee Al Hanashi go missing? (Image: Lance Page / Truthout; Adapted: christophe dune...
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Video: Trump’s Executive Actions Reverse Obama Policies on Torture, Healthcare & Guantánamo Bay

http://democracynow.org - Today President Trump is flying to Philadelphia, where congressional Republicans are on retreat. He's going in an effort to win more ... Via...

US sends 10 Guantanamo Bay detainees to Oman

Oman has announced it’s accepting 10 Guantanamo detainees, just days before President Obama leaves office. The...

Guantanamo Bay turns 15: A look back at the notorious ‘torture camp’

Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp opened its cells to terrorist suspects 15 years ago, on January 11,...

Gitmo Attorneys: Kelly's Aggressive Role at Guantánamo Makes Him "Unfit" to Lead DHS

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)In advance of the Senate confirmation hearing scheduled this afternoon for Retired Major General John Kelly to lead the Department...

Donald Trump's Pick for Spy Chief Took Hard Line on Snowden, Guantanamo, and Torture

Colleagues of former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., describe the septuagenarian as competent and congenial — the “Mister Rogers” of Republicans, as Sen. Cory Gardner,...

Christmas at Guantánamo: Proof That Anything Can Be Normalized

The Naval base at Guantánamo Bay celebrates the holiday season. (Photo: John Knefel) Holidays at Guantánamo Bay are exercises in strained normalcy. The festivities are...

Obama calls Guantanamo Bay prison ‘waste of money’

US President Barack Obama has expressed disappointment over failure to close the notorious prison of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba during his term in office,...

US guilty of ‘gross miscarriages of justice’ in order to justify Guantanamo – study

A study by Afghan-based research group came to troubling conclusions regarding the US government’s handling of Guantanamo Bay, finding it used bad intelligence and...

Report reveals ‘gross errors’ in evidence against inmates at Guantanamo

Eight Afghan individuals have been held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay for years without concrete evidence, a new report by an...

Europe Turns the Screws on Former Guantánamo Prisoners

The US-run detention centre for "war on terror" prisoners at Guantánamo Bay is truly a collaborative effort; dozens of states worldwide assisted the US...

MI5 lawyer to be grilled by MPs over UK’s role in Guantanamo ‘torture’

MI5’s top lawyer is to answer questions in Parliament over whether the intelligence agency knew...

Ex-Guantánamo Prisoner Awakes From Coma in Uruguay

And in Uruguay, former Guantánamo prisoner Abu Wa'el Dhiab has awoken from a coma amid an ongoing hunger strike demanding he be...

Guantanamo Bay ‘mistaken identity’ inmate denied release – report

The review board of Guantanamo Bay refused to release an Afghan prisoner despite an alleged case of mistaken identity, according to a human rights...

Kansas attorney-general sues DoD over Guantanamo Bay relocation records

Kansas' attorney-general filed suit against the US Defense Department, claiming it failed to produce records related...

House votes to block transfer of Guantanamo detainees

The House of Representatives has added an amendment to the annual military spending bill that would...

‘Continuing battle of frustration’: Guantanamo detainees’ lawyers talk to RT

Gitmo is something of a judicial black hole – a prison on a US naval base...

The Global Trade in Guantánamo Captives

An armed bodyguard stands just behind Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum during a political rally in Shibarghan, Afghanistan, in September 2004. (Scott Eells...
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Video: Remembering Michael Ratner, Pioneering Lawyer Who Fought for Justice from Attica to Guantánamo

http://democracynow.org - The groundbreaking human rights attorney Michael Ratner has died at the age of 72. For over four decades, he defended, ... Via Youtube

Guantánamo and the Politics of Fear

Out of the nearly 800 people who have been imprisoned at Guantánamo over the last fourteen years, only 8 have been convicted...

Castro Demands Obama Drop Blockade, Return ‘Illegally Occupied’ Guantánamo

Fifty-five percent of Americans said they support ending the 54-year-old trade embargo Lauren McCauley During the first family's historic visit to Cuba on Monday, the Cuban...

Obama Visits Cuba, but Will US Ever End Embargo, Give Back Guantánamo?

President Obama has arrived in Cuba for a historic three-day visit, becoming the first sitting US president to visit the island in...
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Video: Obama Visits Cuba in Historic Trip, But Will U.S. Ever End Embargo &...

http://democracynow.org - President Obama has arrived in Cuba for a historic three-day visit, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit the island in...
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Video: Merrick Garland: Where Does Supreme Court Pick Stand on Guantánamo, Death Penalty, Abortion?

http://democracynow.org - As Democrats and Republicans gear up for a battle over whether the Republican-controlled Congress will hold hearings to consider ... Via Youtube

Money, missiles & Guantanamo: Senate hears from US admirals

Commanders of US forces in the Americas told the Senate they needed more funding to counter...
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Video: “Little Guantanamos” in the United States

Investigative journalist Will Porter discusses the secret prisons that the ACLU says are violating inmates' rights. Via Youtube

Guantanamo Travesty: A Consequence Of Unconstitutional War

Daniel McAdams President Obama has made his final effort to fulfill a campaign promise to close down the US detention facility at the Guantanamo naval...
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Video: Obama’s Guantanamo closure plan: ’This is about closing a chapter in our history’

President Obama's final year in office marks the Guantanamo Bay detention facility's 15th year in operation. After delivering his closure plan to Congress, Obama...
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Video: Part 1: Will Obama’s Guantánamo Plan Close the Prison or Just Relocate It...

http://democracynow.org - President Obama has submitted a plan to Congress to close Guantánamo Bay military prison. Despite Obama's pledge to close the ... Via Youtube
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Video: Part 2: Will Obama’s Guantánamo Plan Close the Prison or Just Relocate It...

http://democracynow.org - President Obama has submitted a plan to Congress to close Guantánamo Bay military prison. Despite Obama's pledge to close the ... Via Youtube
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Video: Obama’s Plan to Close Guantánamo Too Little Too Late

Omar Shakir, Bertha Fellow and attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights says, the proposal is very similar to the executive order Obama issued...

The Best Way to Close Guantanamo? Give It Back to Cuba.

(Photo: The U.S. Army/Flickr) In one fell swoop, President Obama could erase the stain of Guantanamo and make major headway on normalization with Cuba. By Alli...
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Video: “Groundbreaking” Expose Shows Pentagon Thwarting Obama’s Bid to Transfer Guantanamo Prisoners

Democracynow.org - In the nearly seven years since President Obama ordered Guantánamo's closure, Republicans have blocked him at every turn. Now a new ... Via...

Pentagon ‘thwarted’ Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay — report

The Pentagon has been “thwarting” the president’s plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison for years, Reuters revealed, reportedly creating bureaucratic obstacles and showing...
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Video: “A Legal Black Hole”: Jeremy Corbyn Calls for Closing of Guantanamo, Hails Release...

In his first U.S. TV/radio interview since being elected the U.K. Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn calls for the closure of Guantánamo Bay. "What on...

Obama rejects Pentagon plan to close Guantanamo

The White House has reportedly rejected the Pentagon’s proposed plan to close the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and build a replacement...

Guantanamo inmate mistakenly held for 13 years due to name mix-up

US officials have admitted they held the wrong man at Guantanamo Bay prison for 13 years because his name was similar to that of...

US Congress passes bill that bans transfer of Guantanamo detainees

The US Congress has overwhelmingly passed a $607 billion “defense policy bill” that prohibits the transfer of detainees from the Guantanamo Bay military prison...

Video: Andy Worthington On Shaker Aamer’s Release And The 112 Men Still Held At...

Please Support The Show — http://richieallen.co.uk/ http://www.AndyWorthington.Co.Uk/ https://www.facebook.com/therichieallenshow ... Via Youtube
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Video: Finally at large: Shaker Aamer freed from Guantanamo, coming home

Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held at Guantanamo Bay, has been released after spending 13-years locked up without charge or trial. He volunteered...
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Video: Freedom for Shaker Aamer: After 13 Years Behind Bars, British Prisoner Released from...

Democracynow.org - British resident Shaker Aamer has been freed from Guantánamo after more than 13 years behind bars. Aamer had been cleared for ... Via...
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Video: Shaker Aamer: After 5,000 Days of Torment, Last British Prisoner at Guantanamo is...

The 14-year nightmare of the last British prisoner at Guantánamo Bay could soon be coming to an end. The United States announced last month...
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Video: “Little Guantanamos” in the United States

Investigative journalist Will Porter discusses the secret prisons that the ACLU says are violating inmates' rights. Via Youtube

Britons furious over continued detention of Aamer in Guantanamo Bay

Several British lawmakers and celebrities have called for immediate release of the last British national held at the notorious US military prison in Guantanamo...

Guantanamo survivors sue psychologists who designed CIA torture program

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three former Guantanamo detainees against two psychologists responsible for creating and overseeing...

Concerns raised over welfare of Guantanamo detainee released to Morocco

Lawyers at international human rights organization Reprieve are increasingly concerned for the safety and well-being of their client Younous Chekkouri, a Moroccan national who was...

Guantanamo inmates must remain locked up indefinitely: Pentagon chief

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said about half the detainees at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba need to be imprisoned...

Revealed: Most Guantanamo Detainees Captured By Warlords, Not US Military

Nadia Prupis Of the 116 men currently detained at Guantánamo Bay military prison, only three were captured by U.S. forces, while the rest were apprehended...
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Video: Artist Mariam Ghani, Daughter of Afghan President, Takes on U.S. Abuse from Guantanamo...

http://democracynow.org - We are on the road in Venice, Italy, the site of the Venice Biennale, the oldest and most prestigious international biennial art...
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Video: Danny Glover and Medea Benjamin on Assata, Guantanamo and Trade as Cuban Flag...

http://democracynow.org - As U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations are officially restored after five decades, we speak to two activists who have spent decades ... Via Youtube

US judge orders release of Guantanamo force-feeding tapes

The US government must release eight of 32 videos depicting the "disturbing" force-feeding of a detainee held for 12 years at the Guantanamo Bay...

Pentagon chief says ‘not confident’ about Guantanamo closure

US President Barack Obama would probably not able to keep his 2008 campaign promise to shut down the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison by the...

Guantanamo detainee details CIA sexual abuse and torture

  (WSWS) - Newly-released testimony from Guantanamo Bay prisoner Majid Khan has shown that the CIA used torture practices that were “far more brutal and sadistic”...

US Military Drops Action Against Guantanamo Nurse Who Refused to Force-Feed

Human rights NGO Reprieve has welcomed the US Department of Defense’s decision, announced today, to drop proceedings against a military nurse who refused to...

Pentagon names new commander of Guantanamo task force

The US task force in charge of the detention camps at Guantanamo Bay will soon have a new commander. The Pentagon announced on Friday...

Expected trials at Guantanamo falls to new low

The US Government has revealed that the number of detainees it expects to be given a trial at Guantanamo has fallen to a new...

How to Close Guantanamo

President Barack Obama once again has made it plain that he intends to close Guantanamo. Those who doubted his previous promises on immigrant rights...

US Acknowledges Conviction of David Hicks, Guantanamo Detainee, Should Not Stand

Raymond Bonner The United States has acknowledged that the conviction of an Australian man held for nearly six years in Guantanamo Bay was not legally...

US Government Releases Cleared Guantanamo Detainees to Uruguay

Six cleared Guantanamo prisoners — including Reprieve client Abu Wa’el Dhiab — have today been released to Uruguay. Mr. Dhiab, a 43-year-old Syrian who was cleared by...

Foreign Secretary ignores concerns over Guantanamo Brit abuse

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has dismissed concerns over the abuse of British cleared detainee Shaker Aamer, in a letter to his lawyer at human...

First-ever trial to assess Guantanamo force-feeding begins today

An unprecedented trial to assess the legality of force-feeding methods used at Guantanamo Bay will begin today, Monday Oct 6, at 10am (EST) in...

White House Losing Ground in Bid to Keep Guantanamo Bay Abuse Secret

Federal judge rejects Obama administration request for secret trial and demands partial public release of videos showing force-feeding abuse of Guantanamo captive Sarah Lazare Federal Judge...

UK drops charges against ex-Guantanamo inmate

Moazzam Begg to be released on Wednesday after seven terrorism charges related to Syria are dropped at pre-trial review. Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, has...

G4S Guantanamo contract ‘breaches UK policy’

The government is being asked to take action against British firm G4S, after it emerged the company has won a £71m contract to provide...

Pentagon Hands Lucrative Guantanamo Bay Deal to Notorious Private Security Company

"It would be much better if the U.S. did not award contracts to companies with horrendous track records and itself stopped human rights abuses...

US wanted Britain to build 2nd Guantanamo — report

Britain could have had its own Guantanamo Bay, according to classified documents detailing discussions between the US and Tony Blair’s government. The prison, which could...

Even a Guantanamo Nurse Refuses to Force-Feed Prisoners

Kevin Mathews We’ve been following the Guantanamo Bay prisoner hunger strikes for some time now, but the situation has inexplicably not improved. In fact, things...

Snowden: ‘If I end up in chains in Guantanamo I can live with that’

“If I end up in chains in Guantanamo I can live with that,” Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor-turned-privacy advocate, told the Guardian newspaper...

Israel takes a page from the Guantanamo playbook

Netanyahu is pushing a new bill to allow the force-feeding of Palestinian hunger strikers. The prime minister is in good company. American practices at the...

Under Cover of Secrecy, Detainees Moved From Afghanistan’s ‘Forgotten Guantanamo’

Estimated 38 detainees left to languish in Bagram prison notorious for torture and abuse The United States has moved a dozen people held at Afghanistan's...

New NDAA Bolsters Guantanamo-Style Indefinite Detention For Americans

Top senators thought you wouldn’t notice. Behind closed doors, they wrote up new indefinite detention and Guantánamo provisions in the annual defense policy bill,...

New Report: NCIS Hid Medical Evidence About Guantanamo Suicides

The Senior Medical Officer (SMO) at Guantanamo who attended at least two of three high-profile “suicides” at Guantanamo nearly eight years ago concluded at...

US judge allows for continued force feeding of Guantanamo Bay prisoner

Nick Barrickman US District Court Judge Gladys Kessler on Thursday ruled to allow the continued force-feeding of 42-year-old Abu Wa’el Dhiab at the Guantanamo Bay...

Guantanamo: US Government forced to reveal that it recorded forcefeeding

Gabriel Black  WSWS Reprinted with permission Through court order, it has been revealed that the US military has been keeping videotapes of the force-feeding of inmates at...

Judge Bans Force-Feeding Of Guantanamo Bay Hunger Strikers

A WASHINGTON judge has ordered the US military to stop force-feeding hunger striking prisoner Abu Wa'el Dhiab at its Guantanamo Bay concentration camp. The order...

Guantanamo Hunger Strikers Accuse US of Manipulating Force-feeding Data

Spencer Ackerman Recent letters written by Guantánamo Bay detainees on hunger strike accuse the US military of manipulating data about the strike and using force-feeding...

US Guantanamo Detainee Killed in Syria While Leading NATO-Backed Death Squad

Tony Cartalucci The Long War Journal reported in its post, “Former Guantanamo detainee killed while leading jihadist group in Syria,” that: Ibrahim Bin Shakaran, a Moroccan...

Guantanamo Detainees Describe Despair 5 Years After Obama Promised Closure

RINF Alternative News Five years after President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay within one year, detainees have described their despair at conditions and their...

Number on Guantanamo Hunger Strike Doubles in under a Month

A new report has revealed that the number of hunger strikers in Guantanamo has doubled since the final set of official figures was released...

State Dept. envoy ‘absolutely convinced’ Guantanamo prison will close

Five years ago this month, newly-elected President Barack Obama signed an executive order meant to close the United States' controversial military prison at Guantanamo...

Last Innocent Uighurs Leave Guantanamo Prison

The Eastern European nation of Slovakia agreed to take the last three ethnic Uighur prisoners who have been detained at Guantanamo since 2002, according...

Detainee ejected from courtroom at Guantanamo trial

By Fred Mazelis 20 December 2013 One of the five Guantanamo detainees facing a possible death sentence was repeatedly ejected from the courtroom during the military commission...

Nativity scenes removed from Guantanamo dining halls after complaints

Fox NewsDecember 19, 2013 The commander of the Guantanamo Bay naval base decided Wednesday to move...

Nativity scenes removed from Guantanamo dining halls after complaints

Fox NewsDecember 19, 2013 The commander of the Guantanamo Bay naval base decided Wednesday to move...

New delay hits 9/11 case at Guantanamo

U-T San DiegoDecember 19, 2013 Prosecutors in the Sept. 11 war crimes case at Guantanamo are...

New delay hits 9/11 case at Guantanamo

U-T San DiegoDecember 19, 2013 Prosecutors in the Sept. 11 war crimes case at Guantanamo are...

Two Guantanamo detainees transferred to Saudi Arabia

The US Defense Department announced Monday the transfer of two Guantanamo detainees to Saudi Arabia, bringing the total number of inmates remaining at the...

General who opened Guantanamo prison urges for shut-down in 2014

The American general in charge of opening the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba has come out in favor of closing the facility, declaring,...

Guantanamo genital searches slammed

The US government has gone too far by searching the genital areas of Guantanamo detainees, who want to meet with their lawyers, a three-judge...

CIA’s Global Shadow War: Hiring Private Mercenaries And Former Guantanamo Inmates

Hollywood Without the Happy Ending Call it the Jason Bourne strategy. Think of it as the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) plunge into Hollywood...

Guantanamo: Twelve Years of Torture, Illegality, and Shame

A litany of physical injuries, psychological deterioration, and illnesses caused by the conditions of the last 12 years are fully documented and are...

US officials will no longer to provide information on Guantanamo hunger strikers

By Fred Mazelis6 December 2013 A spokesman for the US military announced this week that the authorities will no longer provide public information on...

BFP Roundtable #01 — Guantanamo, Iran, Open source

Peter B. Collins, Sibel Edmonds and James Corbett of BoilingFrogsPost.com present the latest BFP series, the BFP Roundtable. In this pilot edition of the series the panel discusses the latest “reporting” on Guantanamo by 60 Minutes, the tru...

CIA turned al-Qaeda double agents at Guantanamo base called ‘Penny Lane’

Colin FreemanLondon TelegraphNovember 26, 2013 The CIA used a secret base at Guantanamo Bay nicknamed ‘Penny Lane' to turn some of al-Qaeda's most dangerous terrorists...

Shocking Glimpse Inside Guantanamo: Prisoner Detained Without Charge Since 2002 — “You Cannot Walk...

Shaker Aamer can, for the first time, be heard speaking from his prison cell in Guantanamo Bay as part of a recording made by...

List of Guantanamo detainees

The list of remaining Guantanamo detainees which was released by the Pentagon earlier this year has recently been updated by The Associated Press. After more...

US to build new Guantanamo in Yemen

The Obama administration is negotiating with Yemen to build a new detention facility on its soil that would hold dozens of Guantanamo Bay prisoners,...

‘Systematic’ abuse found at Guantanamo

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says there is “systematic violation of human rights” at Guantanamo. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says there has...

Former Guantanamo detainee was on ground in Benghazi during terror attack

Catherine Herridge, Pamela BrowneFox NewsOctober 25, 2013 A former Guantanamo Bay detainee with Al Qaeda ties...

Former Guantanamo detainee was on ground in Benghazi during terror attack

Catherine Herridge, Pamela BrowneFox NewsOctober 25, 2013 A former Guantanamo Bay detainee with Al Qaeda ties...

Former Guantanamo detainee was on ground in Benghazi during terror attack

Catherine Herridge, Pamela BrowneFox NewsOctober 25, 2013 A former Guantanamo Bay detainee with Al Qaeda ties...

Former Guantanamo detainee was on ground in Benghazi during terror attack

Catherine Herridge, Pamela BrowneFox NewsOctober 25, 2013 A former Guantanamo Bay detainee with Al Qaeda ties...

Guantanamo guards accused of stealing inmates’ private legal documents

US prison guards have been accused of seizing the private legal documents of five prisoners, who have been charged with plotting the September 11th...

Guantanamo Hunger Striking Continues

Guantanamo Hunger Striking Continuesby Stephen LendmanIn early February, detainees began hunger striking for justice. Dozens joined others. Numbers rose to about 130. Some were force-fed. Doing so constitutes torture.Most detainees continued courageous...

US court may allow Guantanamo detainees to challenge forced feedings

Reuters/Shane T. McCoy/Department of Defense/Files A US appeals court showed openness Friday to allowing Guantanamo Bay hunger strikers to challenge force-feeding procedures. Defense attorneys call...

US military to stop updates on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay

Al JazeeraSept. 25, 2013 U.S. military officials announced Monday that they will stop issuing daily hunger...

For Guantanamo Inmates Who ‘Forced World to Listen,’ Struggle Not Over

While both military officials at Guantanamo Bay and lawyers for prisoners say that the numbers of actively participating hunger strikers at the offshore prison...

US censors info on Guantanamo strike

Military officials at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp announced on Monday that they would stop automatically releasing the numbers of detainees being tracked as...

Ex-Guantanamo detainee dies fighting Assad in Syria

Carol RosenbergMcClatchySeptember 18, 2013 Islamic opposition group in Syria has posted a video of the...

Trial of the Century Still Shrouded in Secrecy at Guantanamo

A sketch by a courtroom artist shows self-proclaimed terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, right, as he reviews court documents with his lawyers during the...

Trial of the Century Still Shrouded in Secrecy at Guantanamo

A sketch by a courtroom artist shows self-proclaimed terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, right, as he reviews court documents with his lawyers during the...

Guantanamo Bay: “Indefinite Detention is Unconstitutional”

by Amelia Smith ‘The courts have taken themselves out of the picture as far as Guantanamo goes because they don’t want to interfere with the...

‘We’re back in the 19th century’: Guantanamo 9/11 tribunal suffers mysterious techno breakdown

Defense lawyers for Guantanamo detainees asked the judge in the military tribunal on Friday to suspend pretrial hearings as mysterious computer glitches are just...

Guantanamo prosecutors pushing for 2014 trial for 9/11 case

Prosecutors are asking a military judge to set a September 2014 trial date for the 9/11 case, in a decision that could hinge on...

Former Guantanamo Chief Says Close Guantanamo, End “War on Terror”

Retiring U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Policy William K. Lietzau dropped a bombshell on the Obama administration in an interview with...

Bagram: Torture, Detention Without End at US Military's 'Other Guantanamo'

A lone soldier walks the wall at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan (Photo: J Smith/Flickr Creative Commons)The US military has no plan...

Bagram: Torture, Detention Without End at US Military's 'Other Guantanamo'

A lone soldier walks the wall at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan (Photo: J Smith/Flickr Creative Commons)The US military has no plan...

No Plan to Close Afghanistan's 'Other Guantanamo' Prison

A lone soldier walks the wall at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan (Photo: J Smith/Flickr Creative Commons)The US military has no plan...

Guantanamo Officials Dole Out Solitary Confinement, Beatings to Break Hunger Strike

Photo: Jordan P/cc/flickr A first-hand account from a prisoner at Guantánamo reveals the abusive tactics prison authorities are using to break the prisoners' hunger...

US to Repatriate Two Guantanamo Detainees to Algeria

ReutersJuly 27, 2013 The United States intends to repatriate two detainees held at its controversial prison...

White House skips Guantanamo hearing

Protesters sit in the audience during a Senate hearing on Guantanamo prison on July 24, 2013.The administration of US President Barack Obama did not...

White House ducks out of Senate’s first Guantanamo hearing in five years

Though president Obama recommitted to closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in May, the first Senate hearing in five years held to discuss...

Federal judge backs force-feeding at Guantanamo

  By ...

Guantanamo hunger strikers beginning to eat – military

Nearly all of the Guantanamo Bay inmates participating in a hunger strike have continued eating, US military officials said Friday, in a possible indication...

Rapper Mos Def force fed under standard Guantanamo Bay procedure

Infowars.comJuly 8, 2013 Rapper, actor and activist Yasiin Bey, better known as Mos Def, stars in...

Guantanamo Reports 106 Captives Still on Hunger Strike

Food that is force-fed to detainees on hunger strikes at the detainee medical clinic in Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on June 9,...

“Planning 9/11″: The Five “High-Value” Guantanamo Detainees Improperly Presumed Guilty

It is a bedrock principle of our system of justice that everyone who is charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless and until...

Five "High-Value" Guantanamo Detainees Improperly Presumed Guilty

An Army spokesman in one of the detainee areas in Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Photo: Richard Perry / The New York Times) Truthout...

How You (and President Obama) Can Close Guantanamo Prison

July 2, 2013  | ...

Guantanamo force-feedings to be synchronized with Ramadan fasting schedule

While a mass hunger strike continues at Guantanamo, a spokesperson for the American prison camp has confirmed that the upcoming monthlong fast for Ramadan...

How You (and Obama) Can Close Guantanamo

July 1 marks the first day in office for Clifford Sloan, newly appointed Guantanamo closure envoy. Shortly after his May address on counterterrorism, President...

Secrecy squabbles disrupt Guantanamo hearing in 9/11 case

Jane SuttonReutersJune 21, 2013 Secrecy disputes disrupted a pretrial hearing on Thursday in the Guantanamo war...

A Hunger Strike for Justice at Guantanamo

A group of veterans from various wars are now on a long-term, hunger strike to close down Guantanamo and free, and free most of the remaining prisoners who continue to languish in horrific conditions there.

A Psychologist’s Guantanamo Nightmare

Although psychologists are better known for interpreting the dreams of others, sometimes we have nightmares of our own. The one recounted here took shape...

Guantanamo prisoner recounts ordeal

The file photo shows a detainee with guards at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.A prisoner currently on hunger strike in the notorious...

Guantanamo Prisoner’s Case Demonstrates Unfairness of Military Commissions

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/guantanamo_prisoners_case_demonstrates_unfairness_of_military_commissions_2/ Posted on Jun 19, 2013 ...

US picks new envoy to oversee Guantanamo closure

The US State Department is expected on Monday to announce the appointment of a new lawyer to oversee the closure of the infamous Guantanamo...

‘Guantanamo a stain on medical ethics’

The file photo shows a detainee with guards at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.A US doctor and two lawyers have demanded an...

Guantanamo Bay hunger strike grows; 41 now being force-fed

Peter FinnWashington PostJune 7, 2013 The number of hunger strikers being force-fed by the U.S. military...

US deploys extra forces in Guantanamo

Soldiers enter an area of the US Guantanamo Bay prison complex. (File photo)The United States is dispatching additional soldiers to the Guantanamo Bay prison...

125 More Guards Head to Guantanamo to 'Help' With Solitary Confinement, Force-Feeding of Prisoners

(Photo: Justin Norman/cc/flickr)The U.S. Army Reserve is sending 125 troops from Puerto Rico to serve as additional guards at Guantánamo, the Associated Press reported...

No progress ending Guantanamo hunger strike or prisoner transfers since Obama speech

President Obama announced his intention to resume cleared prisoner transfers out of Guantanamo Bay in May. However, according to Lt. Col. Barry Wingard, who...

125 More Guards Head to Guantanamo to 'Help' With Solitary Confinement, Force-Feeding of Prisoners

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Guantanamo inmates on hunger strike demand new doctors

Detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility have published a chilling plea in hopes of having the military appoint a new team of...

Guantanamo inmates on hunger strike demand new doctors

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UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has scolded the US for failing to close Guantanamo prison, warning it “has become an ideal recruitment tool...

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As Men at Guantanamo Hunger Strike, Human Rights Activists Respond With Fast and Demonstrations

WASHINGTON - March 26 - On Sunday, March 24 human rights activists throughout the United States began a seven day fast and series of actions in solidarity with the men currently on hunger strike at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Dozens of men, according to detainee lawyers, are entering their seventh week of a hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention and a new wave of alleged abuses. The U.S. Navy now reports that three hunger strikers have been hospitalized and that ten are being force fed — a practice condemned by human rights organizations and used in efforts to “break” prior hunger strikes at Guantanamo. Attorneys also report that some hunger strikers have lost consciousness and are experiencing severe drops in body weight.

Already, Witness Against Torture (WAT) has demonstrated in locations large and small —from New York City, to Chicago, to Perrysburg, Ohio. At least 80 people nationwide are participating in the fast, with more joining each day. Activists are also writing letters to the detainees and reaching out to the White House, U.S. Southern Command and the Department of Defense with newly urgent calls that the notorious prison close.

In New York City on Sunday, Witness Against Torture created dramatic images in front of the Times Square military recruiting station, juxtaposing the iconic orange clad, black hooded figures with the advertisements for the Navy and Marines.

“It is tragic,” says New York City WAT organizer Jeremy Varon, “that the men at Guantanamo should have to risk death through hunger to protest the denial of their basic rights. The hunger strike signals the colossal failure of the Obama administration, which promised to close Guantanamo, and of Congress, which has placed enormous barriers to ever shuttering the prison. If the hunger strikers start dying, we know where the blame for their deaths lies.”

In Chicago, protestors gathered on Sunday in front of President Obama's private home, reading the names of all 166 men still held at Guantanamo. Pat Bronte, an attorney for several detainees in Guantanamo, told the protesters how much it means to them to know that Americans are standing with them in their pursuit of justice.

Chicago’s Jerica Arents, a teacher at DePaul University, says, “Participating in the fast serves as a physical reminder to me that there are men languishing in Guantanamo, refusing food because it is the only means they have to protest their indefinite detention.”

“More than four years after President Obama promised to close Guantanamo,” says WAT organizer Frida Berrigan, “the U.S. government is investing tens of millions of new dollars in the prison facility. I can understand why the detained men feel so helpless about ever leaving Guantanamo and being reunited with their families. We have not forgotten them, and continue our struggle to close the prison.”

Actions in New York, Illinois, California, Connecticut, Ohio, and other locations will continue throughout the week and can be viewed at www.witnesstorture.org/events/

166 men remain imprisoned at Guantanamo. 86 have been cleared for release. All are subject to indefinite detention and held at a cost to U.S taxpayers of $800,000 per year per man.

‘We Have Not Forgotten Your Suffering’: Group Calls for Nationwide Fast in Solidarity with...

(Photo: Witness Against Torture)Activists across the country began a week-long fast on Sunday in solidarity with the hunger striking detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison in a mass action meant to remind the prisoners and their families that "we have not forgotten their suffering."

Organized by the Guantanamo prisoner rights group Witness Against Torture (WAT), the protest is scheduled to last through Saturday, March 30. Throughout the week, vigils and rallies are scheduled in cities nationwide including New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Des Moise, Los Angeles, and Northampton, Mass.

"We will gather [...] to denounce the barbaric practice of torture and indefinite detention and to demand justice for the men at Guantanamo," the group writes in a call to action. "We will continue to organize, agitate and witness in defense of human rights and the U.S. Constitution."

According to the group, some demonstrators will continue to fast every Friday "until President Barack Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo is fulfilled."

Many hunger strikers at the prison have not eaten since February. Attorneys for the detainees estimate that over 100 prisoners are taking part in the protest—though prison officials have only acknowledged about twenty of the men. Representatives and supporters of the detainees at Guantanamo have become increasingly concerned over the health of the strikers and worsening conditions for those being held at the prison.

Speaking with RT on Sunday, Lt. Col Barry Wingard, a US military attorney who advocates for the detainees, describes the men living 'in animal cages.' The interview continues:

Wingard: The last time I saw my clients was between the February 25 and March 8. I visited with them multiple times. I was shocked at the condition they were in. In fact, we were the first people who broke the story that the hunger strike had begun around February 6 or 7 and had continued on. My client at that point had lost 26 pounds (12kg) and at this point it’s official that he’s lost almost 40 pounds (18kg) – one third of his body weight from 147 pounds (67kg).

RT: How long can they go on like that?

Wingard: I can imagine we’re getting near to the end when something serious is going to happen. The administration down in Guantanamo Bay initially denied the report that the hunger strike was occurring. They then said it was seven, then 14, then 21 people. They then said it wasn’t the largest hunger strike in history. Then they came out and said it’s 24, 25, and today 26 people. So the story is getting more accurate as we go, but we’re running out of time.

RT has also published a timeline cataloging the details of the ongoing prisoner hunger strike.

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Activists join Guantanamo hunger strike in week of fast

Published time: March 25, 2013 10:25
Members of the organization Witness Against Torture, some of them wearing orange prison jump suits with handcuffs and a hood over their heads, end their demonstration urging the government to close down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, outside the U.S. Supreme Court January 11, 2012.(AFP Photo / Astrid Riecken)

In a gesture of solidarity with Guantanamo Bay prisoners, who are continuing their month-long hunger strike, activists across the world have launched a week-long fast. The campaign will also include protest rallies and vigils.

The action, organized by the Guantanamo prisoners support group Witness Against Torture (WAT), began on Sunday and is to last through March 30. Some activists plan to continue fasting every Friday until the prison is closed, the group says.

The fast will be accompanied by public gatherings to protest against the existence of Guantanamo prison and the condition of people held there.

“We will gather for action in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other cities domestically and internationally next week to denounce the barbaric practice of torture and indefinite detention and to demand justice for the men at Guantanamo,” WAT says.

The activists also released a list of 166 names of Gitmo detainees, calling on supporters to flood the prison with letters of solidarity and remind the management “that the world has not forgotten the hunger strikers."

WAT organized similar fasts of solidarity annually since 2010. The group itself was formed back in 2005 and has since been trying to make the US government close the notorious prison through vigils, marches, nonviolent direct action and other measures.

Lawyers of the detainees say more than a hundred of Guantanamo prisoners have been on a hunger strike since early February, with some putting their health at considerable risk. The protest was reportedly caused by mistreatment on the part of the guards, including searches, confiscation of personal items and desecration of Korans.

Guantanamo Bay management has been downplaying the scale of the protest, saying that it considers only a handful of detainees to be genuine hunger strikers.

Guantanamo Hunger Strike Continues – No Legal Basis for Holding Prisoners


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Transcript

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to this week's edition of The Ratner Report with Michael Ratner, who now joins us from New York.Michael's president emeritus for the Center for Constitutional Rights, and he's chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He's also a board member of The Real News.Thanks for joining us again, Michael.MICHAEL RATNER, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: It's good to be with you, Paul.JAY: So I guess you're following the hunger strike in Guantanamo.RATNER: Well, I'm following it very closely. I don't know if everybody knows, but the Center for Constitutional Rights, where I worked at the time and where I still have an affiliation, we're the first human rights organization to bring a Guantanamo case. In fact, sitting in this very office, I heard about a man named David Hicks, who on January 11 was sent to Guantanamo, and by February 2002, the Center for Constitutional Rights, along with a couple of other attorneys, had brought the first litigation to try and get those people attorneys, to get their names, etc.And here we are, 11 years later, more than 11 years, and Guantanamo is still there. It's still there with 166 people. Eighty-six of those people have actually been cleared for release.And, you know, you have to sit there and say, this is just an outrage. I mean, you had 86 people there who even the U.S. says shouldn't be there, and they've been there going on, some of them, into their 11th year, probably 12th year soon. It's just an outrage. And you have to ask yourself, if any other, quote, civilized country in the world did this, wouldn't the people be screaming if a country did this and had an offshore facility where they kept people without trial, people who were cleared for release, and there was literally no movement to get them out? What would we be saying? Shouldn't we be screaming? Isn't it all our fault that we're not?Well, you know, I remember when I represented a group of Guantanamo people who were from Haiti, and they were the HIV camp that was in Guantanamo in '92, '93, very early. It was the first use of Guantanamo for that reason. And we couldn't do anything. We weren't making any progress. And what the Haitians did was go on a hunger strike. They said, look it, lawyers, you've done what you can. You can't do any more. We're taking our lives into our own hands. We're doing what we're going to do.And that's really--if you look at Guantanamo today, that's what's going on. The government tries to underestimate, tries to say that this hunger strike is not serious. But in fact in the last week it's doubled. It started perhaps as a dozen. It's now up to 24. It may be even higher than that.The reasons for the hunger strike are--the main reason, apparently--and I wasn't down there, but other attorneys were--was really a misuse by the military of the Quran, the way they either looked for it or inspected it or cleaned it, which always causes issues among the Muslim population at Guantanamo. Second issue is, apparently, deteriorating conditions at Guantanamo. A third issue, which is obvious, is, as I said, 166 people who may be there forever, who may have the only way of getting out of there as being death--and 86 of those, as I said, are clear. But there is no way out. And the hunger strike is a way of bringing attention to it.But, you know, to the extent that I've known hunger strikers--. And I knew a man named Sami Al-Arian, who is now an Al Jazeera reporter in Qatar. He was on a hunger strike for a period of time. And there's actually a film made about those hunger strikes. And I remember sitting next to him in the movie and the incredible pain I felt when the doctors in a sort of--in a doctor-like way talked about how they force-fed the hunger strikers. But if you're on a hunger strike, you would have to say it amounts to torture. You sit into a chair. You're restrained in your head, your arms, and your legs so you can't move. And they force a very large tube down your nose into your stomach. And then they pour some kind of liquid into the tube, sometimes apparently abusing that, pouring too much liquid, sometimes maybe, whatever, not enough, sometimes pouring too fast or too slowly. But it's a form of torture.So you understand what these 24 (or whatever the actual number is) people on a hunger strike are willing to do to make their point that we're sick and tired of being at Guantanamo. We shouldn't be here. We should be transferred to other countries.JAY: I thought that was kind of interesting, 'cause the American general responsible was saying, oh, it's not because of the Quran, we haven't mistreated these sorts of issues. He said, they're just frustrated. Well, yeah, you're frustrated 'cause you're sitting in a place you may never get out of, and half of you have been cleared.RATNER: And there's no charges. There's nothing. I mean, these people, as I said--the exact number is 86 have been cleared. There's 46 others who are simply in indefinite detention and haven't been cleared and haven't been charged. And there's 31 people, I think, roughly, of people that they plan to charge before part of these, quote, military commissions, which we can talk about, but exactly right.I mean, think about it. The rest of your life, taken from your family, taken from your children, no current plan to do anything to get any of them out.And what's interesting about that is the Center for Constitutional Rights recently had a hearing in front of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. It doesn't have a lot of authority, but it does have moral authority to say, United States, what are you doing here? The U.S. came to that commission hearing. And really the Center asked two questions. Do you still plan to close Guantanamo? And what steps are you taking? You know, they always mouth that we're--yes, we plan to close it. But when you ask them what steps they are taking, you get a big goose egg, zero. In fact, this recent Obama administration, the one that just took office, has actually abolished the office to close Guantanamo, taken Ambassador Fried out of that office, transferred him into the legal advisers office, and there's not even a person at the State Department trying to close it.Now, you might ask at this point: why--considering Obama promised to close it within a day or two of taking office over four years ago, why hasn't he closed it? He wrote an executive order. It says, close it in a year. And that would have made it closed in 2010, January 20, 21. It was one of his first acts of office in doing so. And somehow, over three years later, it has not been closed. And, in fact, there's no plans for even getting another person out of it.There are a number of reasons why nothing has happened to close Guantanamo. I put most of them at Obama's feet. But, of course, there's antediluvians in our Congress and in our government.But let's go through what those three reasons are. The first is Obama showed tremendous weakness even after signing the executive order saying it should be closed. The first case that came to him was a few weeks after he was in office, the case of the Uyghurs, Muslims from Western China. They had been caught, caught, captured--taken prisoner is the better word--and some kind of bribes in Afghanistan, brought to Guantanamo. But it was soon realized that they hadn't done anything and they shouldn't be there. The federal court ordered them released into the United States. The Uyghur community in Washington said, we'll take them. No risk to anybody. Obama gets clay feet, cold feet, whatever kind of feet you want to call them, and says, I'm not going to bring them into the United States; it's I who decide that; the court doesn't. At that point, Obama looks incredibly weak on this issue.Then what happens is Congress gets into the issue. Congress passes, over the last three years, various versions of the National Defense Authorization Act, which we've talked about on this show before, that has to do with Americans and whether they can be captured and all that. It also has to do with how our military's supported. But it also has provisions about Guantanamo, and it says that any person transferred from Guantanamo--not just to the United States; you can't do that at all under the NDAA--but to another country, you have to notify Congress 30 days in advance. And there has to be a certification by the attorney general of various factors, that the person is not a danger, etc. Well, you know, Obama could tomorrow direct his attorney general to take the 86, certify each one, and give notice to Congress, and transfer them. It doesn't say Congress is going to stop it; it just requires his certification. But has Obama done it once? Has he certified one person to be transferred out of Guantanamo under the NDAA? The answer is no.JAY: Michael, I don't get--according to the Obama administration, what is the legal basis for keeping people who have been cleared in jail?RATNER: Paul, the answer is: there is no legal basis, none at all. Under even their worst legal scenarios that they make up, they're obviously--if they were prisoners under criminal law, they're not charged with anything, they should be out. If they were held under the laws of war as, you know, prisoners of war or captives in a war, then they could be held to the end of war. But they're not being held as that, because they're not considered to be combatants or captives. They were cleared of any of that. So there's no reason under military law. And there's no reason under what we call the third way, the U.S. idea that it can pick up terrorists--quote, "terrorists"--anywhere in the world and hold them indefinitely. They're not under that category.So there is absolutely no legal basis. The courts know there's no legal basis. The courts have on occasion ordered them to be released, that they're ignored by the administration. The administration says it rules where people go. Congress has now gotten in the act, saying they have to be certified. As I said, the second basis for releasing them would be a certification. Obama has not done that and hasn't done that.The third reason they have been held up is a number of them are from Yemen. Perhaps half of them are from Yemen. Yemen is a country, according to our government, that's unstable, that has problems. And even though 56 of the cleared people are from Yemen and have been cleared, they're not being sent to Yemen. Obama put a moratorium on sending anyone to Yemen, even though they're as innocent as you and I going to Yemen. Somehow they fear that if they go to Yemen, they'll become terrorists or something like that. I don't know. But there's a moratorium on Yemen.So if you look at the three things, it's Obama's weakness, it's Congress, which made it difficult and requires a certification, which Obama has so far not been willing to do, and there's Obama having a moratorium on sending people to Yemen.So here we sit with 186 people [sic] at Guantanamo, 86 on no charges, and the world should be screaming. I mean, I don't understand it. And the question is: what are we going to do about it?There is some activity. There's--the Center for Constitutional Rights has a number of actions on the website. But also, starting on March 24, there's a one-week hunger strike here in solidarity in the United States and around the world. The group is called Witness Against Torture. Their website is WitnessTorture.org. And you can go to that site. There's a number of actions you can take, including joining in a seven-day hunger strike, or even missing a meal, certainly writing letters and all of that, but actually showing your outrage.I mean, we used to ask ourselves--and, of course, it's not close to what happened in places like Germany or Chile or other places, but where was the population while this was going on, while a human outrage is going on? And each of us has to ask ourselves. People stranded and left forever in an offshore prison, and the United States population and its media is completely passive about it.JAY: Alright. Thanks for joining us, Michael.RATNER: Thanks for having me, Paul.JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

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Over 100 Guantanamo inmates ‘on hunger strike,’ possibly in grave condition

Published time: March 12, 2013 08:43

Image by US military: two members of the military walking out of the 'Camp Six' detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Lawyers for Guantanamo Bay inmates have claimed “all but a few men” are on a hunger strike over their Qurans being taken away. The condition of the strikers "appears to be rapidly deteriorating and reaching a potentially critical level," they said.

Most of 130 people housed in Camp 6 of Guantanamo Bay may be involved in the strike.

"My client and other men have reported that most of the detainees in Camp 6 are on strike, except for a small few who are elderly or sick," Pardiss Kebriaei, a New York lawyer representing Yemeni detainee Ghaleb Al-Bihanim, told AFP.  Men have reported coughed up blood, lost consciousness and were forced to move to other wings of the facility for observation.

The first reports of the widespread hunger strike in Guantanamo emerged in early March.

The protest was allegedly sparked by interference with the inmates' personal belongings.

Since approximately February 6, 2013, camp authorities have been confiscating detainees’ personal items, including blankets, sheets, towels, mats, razors, toothbrushes, books, family photos, religious CDs, and letters, including legal mail; and restricting their exercise, seemingly without provocation or cause,” the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) said in a March letter to the US Military.

They added that men's Qurans were confiscated in a “desecrating” manner, and that prayer time was not respected. Most, if not all, of the Guantanamo detainees come from the Middle East, and are devout Muslims.

This image reviewed by the US military shot through a one way mirror shows a detainee in Cell Block B of the "Camp Six" detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, January 19, 2012. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Prison officials have acknowledged that the hunger strike is taking place. However, they deny that it is a large-scale event: Nine detainees are refusing food, five of whom are being fed through tubes inserted into their stomachs, according to Robert Durand, director of public affairs for the Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

Durand also said that the claims of desecration of the Quran were unfounded.

"To be clear: there have been no incidents of desecration of the Quran by guards or translators, and nothing unusual happened during a routine search for contraband," he told AFP.

Guantanamo Bay is a US Military prison facility opened on the wake of 9/11, as part of the George W. Bush administration’s 'War on Terror.' The prison currently holds 166 people, many of whom have spent over a decade there without official charges brought against them. Washington has alleged the inmates are terrorists who plotted or acted against the American people. Guantanamo Bay became a source of heated public debate after it was revealed that US forces had tortured detainees.

Barack Obama promised to close the facility at the beginning of his first term as president, but the facility remains open.

Guantanamo Prisoners Have Been on Hunger Strike for Three Weeks, Lawyers Announce

Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay’s Camp 6 have been on hunger strike for roughly three weeks in protest of their treatment by guards and military officials there, the prisoners' lawyers announced Monday.

Detainee looks through fencing inside Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, June 26, 2006 (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) The prisoners' lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights and habeas counsel sent a letter to military officials at Guantanamo requesting they take immediate action to improve the situation.

CCR released the following statement Monday:

After more than 11 years of indefinite detention and abuse, humiliation and reprisals, the military appears to be arbitrarily cracking down on the men detained at Guantanamo, going so far as to search their Qur’ans and confiscate family photos. In response, the men have felt that their only option to protest peacefully was to go on hunger strike, which has continued for more than three weeks and is now endangering their lives and health. Its failure to close Guantanamo aside, this administration should be far beyond such cruelties, particularly given how many of the men still trapped there have been unanimously cleared for transfer.

The letter notes:

Since approximately February 6, 2013, camp authorities have been confiscating detainees’ personal items, including blankets, sheets, towels, mats, razors, toothbrushes, books, family photos, religious CDs, and letters, including legal mail; and restricting their exercise, seemingly without provocation or cause. [...]

Arabic interpreters employed by the prison have been searching the men’s Qur’ans in ways that constitute desecration according to their religious beliefs, and that guards have been disrespectful during prayer times. [...]

These actions, and the fact that they have affected so many men, indicate a significant departure from the way in which the rules have been formulated and implemented over the past few years. [...]

As a result of these practices, we understand that the men are suffering greatly and that a large number have gone on a hunger strike, which is now in its third week. As their health has deteriorated, we have received reports of men coughing up blood, being hospitalized, losing consciousness, becoming weak and fatigued, and being moved to Camp V for observation. Detainees have also expressed feeling increased stress, fear, and despair. It is clear that their health will only worsen unless and until the hunger strike ends, which requires taking immediate steps to address the reasons for their protest…

Read the full letter here.

Kevin Gosztola at FireDogLake adds:

Detainees first began to engage in hunger strikes in 2002. The hunger strikes had a definite impact. The strikes from 2002 to 2005 effectively changed the dynamics in the prison. Former detainee Binyam Mohamed said there was no law and a colonel was saying, “’I do what I like’ but after the hunger strike – the big hunger strike of 2005 – they actually started implementing some kind of law that we knew about.” But, come 2006, the prison began to force feed detainees that were striking and force tubes down detainees’ throats in a manner that successfully convinced many of the detainees to end their resistance.

In March 2011, Jason Leopold of Truthout reported detainees continued to participate in hunger strikes with the hope that the conditions of their detention would improve or so they would no longer have their basic due process rights violated.

The tenth anniversary of the opening of the prison in January 2012 reportedly saw prisoners mark the anniversary by engaging in three days of protest that included hunger striking. [...]

When considering the fact that 166 prisoners remain in confinement and 86 of them have been cleared for release by a review task force authorized by President Barack Obama, it would seem fulfilling these two demands would be the least the military or government could do. [...]

When considering the fact that 166 prisoners remain in confinement and 86 of them have been cleared for release by a review task force authorized by President Barack Obama, it would seem fulfilling these two demands would be the least the military or government could do.

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Stephen Colbert on the Charade at Guantanamo

The "trial" of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is Kafka-esque, to say the least.

February 28, 2013  |  

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On last night's Report, Stephen Colbert took on the trial of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has been held at Guantanamo Bay for nearly six and a half years.

But as Colbert explains, Mohammed's trial isn't really much of a trial. The alleged terrorist faces a "one-of-a-kind military tribunal designed by President Bush, implemented by President Obama and inspired by President Kafka." The tribunals make a mockery of transparency, forcing reporters to watch behind a soundproof glass and listen to proceedings with a 40-second delay. If at any point the military judge feels insecure information is disclosed, he can hit a "mute button" that sets off sirens and a red light on his chair. Colbert notes that the alert "also means men's dress pants and slacks are 20 percent off."

"I know that these military tribunals are unconventional," Colbert said. "In that they may not be covered under the Geneva Conventions."

When the siren went off in January, defense lawyers feared people were listening to conversations between them and clients at the defense table. After discovering hidden mics in defense meeting rooms, who could blame them?

"Hey, they said justice is blind," Colbert mused, "They never said she was deaf."
 

Watch:

Torture at Guantanamo: Lt. Col. Stuart Couch on His Refusal to Prosecute Abused Prisoner

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Today we spend the hour taking an inside look at the Guantánamo military prison, where 166 men remain locked up. Many have been held for over a decade without charge. Our first guest today was one of the first military officers assigned to prosecute prisoners at Guantánamo. Stuart Couch joined the Marines in 1987, enrolled in law school, became a military prosecutor, and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He eventually left active duty but returned after the September 11th attacks. A friend of his, Michael Horrocks, died on September 11th. Horrocks was the co-pilot of United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center.

AMY GOODMAN: Two months after the attacks, President Bush issued an order creating military commissions to try prisoners captured abroad. Lieutenant Colonel Couch's first assignment was the prosecution of a man named Mohamedou Ould Slahi. At one point, Slahi was described as "the highest value detainee" at Guantánamo Bay. The case would change Couch's life and put him at the center of a national debate around torture, interrogations and ethics.

Couch's story is featured in the new book, Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay. It's by Wall Street Journal reporter Jess Bravin. Later in the show, we'll be joined by Jess, but first we turn to Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch, who's joining us from Charlotte, North Carolina, where he now works as an immigration judge.

Lieutenant Colonel, welcome to Democracy Now! Talk about the first day you went to Guantánamo and what you found.

LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, Amy, it was in October of 2003, shortly after I had joined the Office of Military Commissions. And on that particular day, I was waiting to watch the interrogation of one of the detainees who had been assigned to me to prosecute his case. This was a detainee that was particularly cooperative and involved in some very serious activities in the Gulf region. As I was waiting in a room next to his interrogation room, I heard some loud heavy metal rock music playing down the—down the hallway. I went down to investigate. I thought it was a couple of guards that were off duty and didn't realize that we were getting ready to conduct the interview. So I walked down the hallway, and as I reached the room where the source of the music was coming out, the door was cracked. And I looked into the room, and I could—all I could see was a strobe light flashing. The rest of the lights in the room were out, but from the flashes of the strobe light, I could see a detainee in orange sitting on the—seated on the floor and shackled, hand to feet, and rocking back and forth.

There were two civilians who asked me, you know, what was I doing. And I said, "I'm Lieutenant Colonel Couch. You need to turn that down. What's going on here?" And they just basically told me to move along, and shut the door in my face. There was a judge advocate reservist with me, and I said, "Did you see that?" And his immediate response: "Well, yes. That's approved." And so, that was my first inclination that there was—of evidence of coerced interrogations going on at Guantánamo.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, what did you do at that point?

LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, I started mulling that over. For me, it was—it was a degree of a flashback. Before I had become a lawyer, I was a naval aviator in the Marine Corps, a C-130 pilot. And part of that training as an aviator, we were sent to a school called SERE school—Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape. It's a school conducted by various Department of Defense entities to help train aviators for how to conduct themselves if they're ever taken into captivity by the enemy. Basically, it's—the course is based upon lessons learned of the treatment of aviators in the war in Vietnam and also the treatment of our own POWs that suffered in Korea. And so, what I saw occurring on that day in October of 2003 was right out of the SERE school playbook. It was precisely the same treatment that I had received there.

And so, having had that experience, my immediate concern was, if this is how the evidence is being collected in some of our cases, it's going to be inadmissible, because it's going to be at least coercive and at worst torture that precipitates that information. And so, there—at that time, I was still becoming acquainted with the military commissions process that had been set up. The rules and standards of admissibility of evidence were significantly different than I was accustomed to, both in civilian prosecutions as well as military courts-martial. And so, in my view, this incident sort of crystallized for me very quickly that there were going to be some problems with some of the evidence that we were to use.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, this, of course, was in 2003, before the Abu Ghraib photos were revealed to the world and where—before there was real discussion of possible mistreatment or torture of prisoners in U.S. custody. Could you talk about the—when you then began to get the case of Mohamedou Ould Slahi and what you found as you began to deal with that particular case?

LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, by the—not long after I joined the office in August of 2003, the Slahi case was presented to me. And at that time, to our knowledge, he was one of the very few detainees held at Guantánamo Bay that had a 9/11 connection. As I was studying over the different statements that he had made, the intelligence reports that had come out of his interrogations, I could see a trend where he was uncooperative for a long period of time, but then, beginning in the later part of the summer of 2003, I saw where he began to give up significant information. And so, again, as a prosecutor, my view was past conduct and what evidence I had of past conduct and what was going to be his connection to 9/11, if any.

The vast majority—virtually all of the evidence I had against Slahi at that point were his own statements, as well as statements of another detainee. And so, to determine the veracity of that information, I had to find out, OK, why is he saying the things he's saying about his own conduct? And I actually plotted it out over a chart on a timeline, and I could see a definite point where he went from giving no information to giving a lot of information. And so, that was—after I saw what I saw in October of 2003, my concern was, if this—if these were the kinds of interrogation techniques that were being applied to Slahi to get his cooperation, then we might very well have a significant problem with the body of evidence that we were able to present as to his guilt.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Could you go into the details of some of his interrogations and what they reported?

LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, at that time—at that time, I was not privy to what techniques were applied in his interrogations. All I had was the intelligence reports that came out that stated what he—what admissions he made. And I do want to make sure I'm clear on this, that none of the information that I'm going to talk about today is classified at this point; it's all been subject to a congressional inquiry and is a matter of congressional record.

I requested information to tell me, OK, give me the circumstances of the interrogations and interviews where Slahi was giving his information, again, in preparation for the day down the road that I would have to present this evidence in court, with the concern of basically credibility of the information. That information was not provided to me. I had a criminal investigator that was working on this case, and as we began to discuss these matters, he had the same concerns that we might have a problem with the evidence. And I would note he's—he was also a former marine, as well, so we had a lot of commonality on how we viewed the world. This criminal investigator had unofficial sources of information on the intelligence side. There was kind of this dividing line between the law enforcement efforts at Guantánamo and the intelligence efforts at Guantánamo. My investigator had sources of information on the intelligence side, and he was able to start receiving documents and information that painted, for lack of a better term, the rest of the story—in other words, why—you know, what was the nature of these interrogations. And that information was coming out piecemeal.

And so, over the subsequent eight or nine months, it became clear that this information—that what had been done to Slahi amounted to torture. Specifically, he had been subjected to a mock execution. He had sensory deprivation. He had environmental manipulation; that is, you know, cell is too cold, or the cell is too hot. He, at one point, was taken off of the island and driven around in a boat to make him believe that he was being transferred to a foreign country for interrogation. He was presented with a ruse that the United States had taken custody of his mother and his brother and that they were being brought to Guantánamo. It was on a letter with fake letterhead from the State Department, I believe it was. And in the letter, there was a discussion that his mother would be the only female detainee held at Guantánamo and concerns for her safety.

So, any one of these individual things, I don't believe, as a legal matter, rose to the level of torture, until I got evidence of an email between one of the officers responsible for the—for the guards that were guarding Slahi and a military psychologist. And there was this discussion over this email about the fact that Slahi was experiencing hallucinations. And then—and the psychologist, as she was giving her opinion as to this concern raised, it was clear to me that she was aware that the circumstances of Slahi's detention had been set up to such a point where he would experience these types of mental breakdown.

And at that point, I had done some research. We had another lawyer in the office, another prosecutor, who was very experienced in international law, and I had discussed the issue with him. And under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment—it's a treaty that was ratified by the United States in 1996—under that treaty, there is a definition of torture. And under that definition of torture, it includes mental suffering. And so, as I put it all together, what I saw was the fact that Slahi ultimately began to give information after all of these different interrogation techniques had been applied to him. I came to the conclusion we had knowingly set him up for mental suffering in order for him to provide information—

AMY GOODMAN: He was also sexually humiliated.

LT. COL. STUART COUCH: —and that that met the definition under the U.N. Torture Convention.

AMY GOODMAN: Is that right? He was also sexually humiliated.

LT. COL. STUART COUCH: He was. The evidence I saw was—apparently, he had a—he had an issue about the fact that he had been unable to impregnate his wife. And the interrogators at some point learned that and then began to capitalize on that with various issues related to sexuality. There was like a room set up with photographs of male and female genitalia on the walls, a baby crib, just some kind of, you know, just bizarre types of efforts related to his sexual hang-up, if you will.

AMY GOODMAN: We're going to break and then come back to this discussion, and we'll be joined, as well as Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch, retired U.S. Marine Corps prosecutor, by the author of the book called Terror Courts, Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal. This is Democracy Now! Back in a minute.

[break]

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Lieutenant Colonel Couch, if you could, talk to us about your decision to tell your superiors that you did not feel you could prosecute this case because of the issues of possible torture.

LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, Juan, it was—again, it was sort of an incremental thing. I was receiving this information from a criminal investigator that he was gleaning through these unofficial sources. And after studying the U.N. Torture Convention, I found that there was a provision under Article 15 of the U.N. Torture Convention that said any evidence derived as a result of torture was inadmissible in any proceeding. And so, you know, I was trying to figure out, OK, what is "any proceeding"? And as I could tell from the source material behind the U.N. Torture Convention, I came to the legal conclusion that that included a military commission, as we were conducting them at that time under the president's military order of November of 2001.

I then turned to the ethical concern about what information did I need to be able to turn over to a defense counsel for Slahi in the future. And I would note, at that time, Slahi did not have a defense counsel, because we had not gone through the formal process of bringing a charge against him. So, I reviewed the pertinent ethical obligations. Under the discovery provisions of the president's military order at that time, it was evidence of his guilt known to the prosecution. And another provision was that the detainees would have a full and fair trial. And so, it was a very broad, broad construct, if you will, for discovery. As I looked at the ethical obligations that we have in the United States under the ABA Model Rules, and specifically under the rules of professional conduct of my bar, the state of North Carolina, I concluded that if I was in possession of information that, if given to his defense counsel, would allow his defense counsel to utilize those protections under Article 15 of the U.N. Torture Convention, I had that obligation to turn over to that defense counsel what I knew. And that was, again, prospective.

I was wrestling with these—with this legal issue and with this ethical issue. And then, ultimately, you know, one Sunday when I was in church, it all kind of came together. I describe myself as an evangelical Christian. I was attending a church service in the Anglican tradition, and it was a baptism of a child. And anybody who's ever been to one of these services knows that at the end of the baptism all of the congregants in the church stand up, and the pastor goes back and forth with basically the tenets of the Christian faith. And one of those tenets was that we would respect the dignity of every human being. And it was at that time, when I was professing that on Sunday, begged the question to me, if this is what you believe as a Christian, then how does that inform how you're going to act the other six days of the week? And that really, for me, was the moral point that I came to of what I had to do next.

And what I did next was I went and met with the chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions. I told him my legal opinion. I told him my ethical opinion. And then I stated in—you know, I have a moral reservation at this point that what's been done to Slahi is just reprehensible, and for that reason alone, I'm going to refuse to participate in the prosecution of his case. Shortly, within a couple of days, I reduced that—those positions into writing. I provided them to the chief prosecutor. And then, after a few days, I was told to transfer that case to someone else and for me to get busy on my other cases.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, in that memorandum, you not only raised the question, you said that, quote, "If these techniques are deemed to be 'torture' under the [Geneva] Convention, then they would also constitute criminal violations of the War Crimes Act." And you went on to say, "As a practical matter, I am morally opposed to the interrogation techniques employed with this detainee and for that reason alone, refuse to participate in his prosecution in any manner." Now that must have been a bomb for you to put that into a memorandum to your supervisors in resigning from the case. What was the reaction?

LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, he wasn't happy about it. And—

AMY GOODMAN: And his name was?

LT. COL. STUART COUCH: —in our—that was Colonel Bob Swann. He was not happy about it. I felt like putting it into a memorandum was what I had to do to allow him to make an informed decision about the reservations that I had. My hope was that that memorandum would be shared with higher authorities over in the Department of Defense; you know, even if he didn't agree with my legal reasoning or my ethics opinion or my moral reservations, for that matter, at least to present to someone, "Hey, this is a potential issue that could be raised, and we need to be able to address that." And to my knowledge, that memorandum was never shared outside of the office.

AMY GOODMAN: So the defense never saw it, either.

LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, at this point, Slahi has never been charged in a military commission. He does have of counsel who represents him for a habeas corpus petition that he has brought in federal court, but where that memorandum went after that point, I don't know.

Mystery, Paranoia, Confusion: You Won’t Believe What’s Happening at Guantanamo

A mystery is unfolding that highlights the peculiarities of the military commission system.

February 3, 2013  |  

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Over the week of January 28-31 a great mystery played out at JTF-GTMO, the notorious military base and indefinite detention facility better known as Guantanamo Bay. The question at hand: who cut the media feed during a pre-trial hearing for Khalid Sheik Mohammed, self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11, thus temporarily censoring the proceedings? Was there an unknown, outside force controlling the court? If so, who was it? What was intended to be a dry week of legal wrangling became a full-on whodunnit that was part Law & Order, part spy novel – if the final 50 pages had been blacked out.

On top of that, the week ended with defense attorneys openly questioning whether their conversations with clients were being secretly monitored. “We have significant reasons to believe we have been listened in [on],” David Nevin, defense attorney for KSM said at at press conference. “After this week,” said defense attorney James Connell, “the paranoia levels have kicked up a notch.”

If none of this sounds familiar, you can be forgiven. In the Obama era, news about GTMO (the military doesn't use the “i”) is either unwarrantedly optimistic – we're closing it, we swear – or, more frequently, totally ignored. And, quite tellingly, rather than close the prison, Obama has instead decided to close the office responsible for determining how to close the prison.

Last week the government held a round of what's called pre-trial motion hearings, which establish the specific rules of a trial. Given the almost complete lack of precedent in military commissions – more on that shortly – this process is even more important than it would be in a normal court.

The cast of characters in this would-be Agatha Christie play are numerous and colorful. At the center are Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his four co-defendants, all of whom stand accused of war crimes and face the death penalty. They've been detained at GTMO since 2006.

The attorneys representing the accused are an impressive posse of civilian and military lawyers given the difficult task of navigating a legal universe that, despite the government's claims to the contrary, often feels like it's being created before our very eyes.

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins is the lead prosecutor and the man most singularly tasked with defending the legitimacy of this young legal universe. Gen. Martins is the picture of the military's self-perception. Tall, disciplined, and by all accounts extremely intelligent, he's also stoic as a Brit. He once said, after being asked his feelings on a week's events, “I don't tend to experience highs and lows in litigation.”

Overseeing the endeavor is Army Colonel Judge James Pohl, a man with a self-deprecating sense of humor and a passing resemblance to Bill Murray.

The final character in this drama is the new legal universe itself. Military commissions, as GTMO trials are called, are a confusing mix of civilian court, which is overseen by the judicial branch, and courts martial, the justice system for members of the military, which is under the purview of the executive branch. Military commissions are similarly overseen by the executive branch, though Gen. Martins is quick to point out any similarity they share with civilian court. Congress created military commissions in 2006, and updated them in 2009.

Last week was supposed to be boring. But then lightning struck, the lights went out, and when they came back on there was a dead body in the middle of the room – metaphorically speaking, of course. The mystery had been set in motion.

Mystery

It's hard to imagine the week going any worse for the government. On the first day of proceedings, a previously unknown, outside entity reached into the courtroom like the hand of god and cut the audio/visual feed to the media – which is on a 40-second delay – apparently surprising even the judge. The judge and his assistant, a court security officer (CSO), have always had the authority to cut the feed, but they didn't hit the button. Neither had the CSO's assistants.

Mystery, Paranoia, Confusion: You Won’t Believe What’s Happening at Guantanamo

A mystery is unfolding that highlights the peculiarities of the military commission system.

February 3, 2013  |  

Like this article?

Join our email list:

Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.

Over the week of January 28-31 a great mystery played out at JTF-GTMO, the notorious military base and indefinite detention facility better known as Guantanamo Bay. The question at hand: who cut the media feed during a pre-trial hearing for Khalid Sheik Mohammed, self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11, thus temporarily censoring the proceedings? Was there an unknown, outside force controlling the court? If so, who was it? What was intended to be a dry week of legal wrangling became a full-on whodunnit that was part Law & Order, part spy novel – if the final 50 pages had been blacked out.

On top of that, the week ended with defense attorneys openly questioning whether their conversations with clients were being secretly monitored. “We have significant reasons to believe we have been listened in [on],” David Nevin, defense attorney for KSM said at at press conference. “After this week,” said defense attorney James Connell, “the paranoia levels have kicked up a notch.”

If none of this sounds familiar, you can be forgiven. In the Obama era, news about GTMO (the military doesn't use the “i”) is either unwarrantedly optimistic – we're closing it, we swear – or, more frequently, totally ignored. And, quite tellingly, rather than close the prison, Obama has instead decided to close the office responsible for determining how to close the prison.

Last week the government held a round of what's called pre-trial motion hearings, which establish the specific rules of a trial. Given the almost complete lack of precedent in military commissions – more on that shortly – this process is even more important than it would be in a normal court.

The cast of characters in this would-be Agatha Christie play are numerous and colorful. At the center are Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his four co-defendants, all of whom stand accused of war crimes and face the death penalty. They've been detained at GTMO since 2006.

The attorneys representing the accused are an impressive posse of civilian and military lawyers given the difficult task of navigating a legal universe that, despite the government's claims to the contrary, often feels like it's being created before our very eyes.

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins is the lead prosecutor and the man most singularly tasked with defending the legitimacy of this young legal universe. Gen. Martins is the picture of the military's self-perception. Tall, disciplined, and by all accounts extremely intelligent, he's also stoic as a Brit. He once said, after being asked his feelings on a week's events, “I don't tend to experience highs and lows in litigation.”

Overseeing the endeavor is Army Colonel Judge James Pohl, a man with a self-deprecating sense of humor and a passing resemblance to Bill Murray.

The final character in this drama is the new legal universe itself. Military commissions, as GTMO trials are called, are a confusing mix of civilian court, which is overseen by the judicial branch, and courts martial, the justice system for members of the military, which is under the purview of the executive branch. Military commissions are similarly overseen by the executive branch, though Gen. Martins is quick to point out any similarity they share with civilian court. Congress created military commissions in 2006, and updated them in 2009.

Last week was supposed to be boring. But then lightning struck, the lights went out, and when they came back on there was a dead body in the middle of the room – metaphorically speaking, of course. The mystery had been set in motion.

Mystery

It's hard to imagine the week going any worse for the government. On the first day of proceedings, a previously unknown, outside entity reached into the courtroom like the hand of god and cut the audio/visual feed to the media – which is on a 40-second delay – apparently surprising even the judge. The judge and his assistant, a court security officer (CSO), have always had the authority to cut the feed, but they didn't hit the button. Neither had the CSO's assistants.

Judge Furious Over Mysterious Censors at Guantanamo Bay Trials

A military judge presiding over a pretrial hearing at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base ordered an end to a secretive U.S. government agency's censorship of what the media can and can't hear in the courtroom, following an unexpected blackout of hearings earlier this week.

Observers watch the Sept. 11 hearings from a viewing gallery at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Janet Hamlin, AFP/Getty Images) On Monday, sound from the courtroom that feeds into a soundproof media booth and through a feed to journalists in closed-circuit viewing sites on the US East Coast, was mysteriously cut during a discussion of a secret CIA prison—where the suspects of the 9/11 case, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants, were held and potentially tortured before transport to Guantánamo—leaving reporters and other observers in the dark for several key minutes of the discussion.

The judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, said the the information that had been blacked out was not officially confidential, and thus should not have been censored.

Pohl said earlier that he did not previously know there was anyone outside of the court that could censor the proceedings.

"The cutting of the feed revealed for the first time that a still unidentified entity outside the courtroom was listening in to proceedings with a finger on the kill switch," Al Jazeera reports.

The mysterious censor, who has had control over what reporters can and can't hear in the courtroom, is said to come from an Original Classification Authority, a term that could refer to a number of government agencies, Democracy Now! reports.

Kevin Gosztola at FireDogLake adds that the OCA, "likely works in cooperation with the CIA and is tasked with ensuring that even the tiniest amount of information on the CIA’s Rendition, Detainee & Interrogation (RDI) program is not heard by the press."

"The episode shows the OCA may censor unclassified language," he added.

In Pohl's angry rebuke of the episode, he insisted that "this is the last time ... any other third party will be permitted to unilaterally decide that the broadcast should be suspended."

However, Pohl added emphatically that he and the court security officer were the only ones with authority to suspend the broadcast coming out of the courtroom, implying censorship in and of itself is not the problem, but who has the power to censor.

Defense lawyer James Connell said many questions still remain:

The judge ordered that the prosecution must disconnect that censorship authority of the OCA. The extent to which monitoring has taken place and will continue, however, is an open question. An emergency motion was filed today which addresses that issue after it came up this week and the judge has said that will be the first issue to take up on February 11. I hope that we will take a preliminary baby step towards finding out the truth of what is going on in the military commission but events so far may say that that hope is unfounded.

Pohl is also considering halting the entire case over allegations from defense lawyers that the same censors have been using technology to eavesdrop on the lawyers' private conversations with defendants in both the courtroom and in other parts of the detainee compound.

Navy Lt. Commander Walter Ruiz, attorney for one of the defendants, criticized the anonymous government monitoring system for curtailing the tribunal process.

"Who is the invisible hand?" Ruiz asked. "Who is pulling the strings? Who is the master of puppets?"

U.S. Secret Prisons and the Guantanamo Trials, Systematic Torture

WAR CRIMES AND TORTURE: Guantánamo and back: an interview with Moazzam Begg

According to UN investigations in 2010 there are more than 27,000 prisoners held by the U.S. in more than 100 secret prisons around the world and on 17 ships as floating prisons. These are almost entirely Muslim prisoners.

According to Center for Constitutional Rights 92% of the prisoners held just at Guantanamo are not “Al-Qaeda fighters” by the U.S. government’s own records and 22 were under 18 years of age when captured.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed one of the 5 now on trial at Guantanamo was subjected to water board torture 183 times. He wore a camouflaged vest to court to make the point that he was once part of the U.S. armed and paid mujahideen force in Afghanistan in 1980s and U.S. proxy army in Bosnia in 1990s.  The U.S. can be expected to treat its proxy army in Syria and Libya in the same way.

U.S. government targeted kidnappings and assassinations are today continued through daily drone attacks with Hellfire missiles in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Mali and as far as the Philippines. Again thousands of civilians, including youth and women are among the victims.

President Obama had promised to close Guantanamo Prison as one of his first acts as president in 2009. Yesterday it was decided instead to close the office and eliminate the special envoy Daniel Fried whose role was to close the prison at Guantanamo. Daniel Fried’s role will now be to intensify the sanctions on Iran and Syria.

Close Guantanamo and ALL U.S. secret prisons! End the drone wars! End the Sanctions!

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Secret Censor Revealed at Guantanamo Military Commissions

Secretly censored in Guantanamo military commission(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)Combat the epidemic of misinformation that plagues the corporate media! Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to Truthout and keep independent journalism strong.

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - Who else is monitoring the Guantanamo military commissions proceedings?

That's the key question that came up during the second half of pretrial hearings Monday afternoon at the military commissions tribunal for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other prisoners accused of planning the 9/11 attacks.

At issue was who controls the use of a censor button inside the military courtroom which triggers a red flashing warning light, cutting the audio and video feed to media and other observers watching the proceedings through closed-circuit television in the gallery.

The military judge and a court security officer can implement the censor button. It is supposed to be used if classified information is discussed in open court.

Apparently, another person is controlling another censor button somewhere on the courtroom premises, and neither defense attorneys representing the suspects nor the judge seemed to know who was responsible for pressing it just moments after David Nevin, Mohammed's attorney, started to discuss the title of a motion pertaining to his client's detention at a CIA-operated black-site prison.

As soon as Nevin said the word "secret," the warning light, which is silent, started to flash and the sound of white noise was fed through the audio feed. Moments later, the monitors inside the gallery went black. The outage lasted three minutes. Nevin then approached the bench and engaged in a discussion with the judge. (The courtroom is visible to members of the gallery but is separated by soundproof glass; the audio feed is delayed by 40 seconds).

When court reconvened, Army Col. James Pohl, the military judge, appeared to be upset.

"The 40-second delay was initiated, but not by me," Pohl said. "I'm curious as to why."

"Who is listening to this? Who is controlling these proceedings?" Nevin asked. 

Pohl said the matters he and Nevin discussed during those two minutes in which the audio was cut off did not require use of the censor button, and since neither he nor the court security officer was responsible for triggering the disruption, he wanted to know who was.

"If some external body is turning the commission off under their own view of what things ought to be, with no reasonable explanation because I ... there is no classification on it, then we are going to have a little meeting about who turns that light on or off," Pohl said.

Nevin and attorneys representing the other 9/11 suspects said the defense would not be able to move forward with their case until they knew who was in control of that censor button and who else was monitoring the commissions.

"I thought it was the court security officer," said Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz, the military commissions attorney defending Mustafa al Hawsawi. "Who else is monitoring?"

Joanna Baltes, a Justice Department attorney representing the government on secrecy issues, seemed to know why Nevin's comments were censored and who was responsible for using the censor button. However, she would only discuss the issue in a closed session.

Later Monday evening, James Connell, defense attorney for Ammar al Baluchi, explained to reporters that the government would make an audio/visual technician available as a witness Tuesday to "address how the audio feeds work."

Connell said he did not know the identity of the technician. Connell added that he "thought there was one button and it was in control of the court security officer."

In response to a question from Truthout about the nature of his remarks prior to being censored, Nevin said he simply was trying to articulate that Mohammed has "the right to be present when issues related to his detention is discussed."

"Is that too much to ask?" Nevin said. "May he [Mohammed] be present to hear those discussions? You capture him in 2003 and torture him for three and a half years and he may be put to death."

The defense motion in question pertains to the preservation of the black-site prisons in Europe where Mohammed and his co-conspirators were detained - and tortured - before being transferred to Guantanamo in 2006.

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, Guantanamo's chief prosecutor, also spoke with reporters to provide insight from the government as to what transpired regarding the use of the censor button.

He suggested that Pohl and the defense attorneys are well aware of the rules that are in place governing military commissions because the judge implemented them, and that the use of the censor button in particular is outlined in a December 8, 2011, document describing a court security officer's responsibilities.

Still, Martins noted that an expert witness would be on hand tomorrow to discuss Pohl's own rules about court security.

Martins also said the portion of Nevin's comments that was censored would be restored to the hearing transcript "as soon as possible."

But by Tuesday morning, Pohl's tone dramatically changed. He said he thought about the issue overnight and decided against allowing an audio/visual expert to give testimony because he did not know who the "right" person would be to testify about courtroom security involving the audio feed and who controls the censor button.

He noted, however, that "only the judge has the authority to close the courtroom," a comment that appeared to be directed at the individual who cut off the audio feed. 

What was made clear on Tuesday is that Pohl seems to be unware about the technology used in his courtroom. 

"I think you give me way too much credit as to what I know about what's happening in this courtroom from a technology standpoint," Pohl said in response to statements Martins made Tuesday morning noting that Pohl authorized all of the courtroom audio and visual guidelines and the security measures in place pertaining to those rules. 

So the issue about who controls the censor button during the proceedings remains unresolved. But Baltes, the Justice Department prosecutor, offered up a hint about the identity of the invisible hand. She said Tuesday morning the "original classification authority" reviews the military commission audio feeds. The authority is likely the CIA as the issues Nevin began to discuss revolved around Mohammed's detention at CIA black site prisons. 

The confusing turn of events during the first day of a week of pretrial hearings on a series of motions in the case underscored the chaotic nature of the military commissions.

Just two days earlier, Martins had urged members of the media who traveled to Guantanamo to cover the hearings to "withhold judgment" about the process. He impressed upon the media that he is a staunch advocate of "transparency" even though certain aspects of the case, such as the treatment the prisoners endured while in CIA custody, is shrouded in secrecy and is prohibited from being discussed in open court.

Phyllis Rodriguez, a White Plains, New York, resident whose son, Gregory, 31, died on 9/11 and is attending this week's hearings, however, has already made up her mind.

"I wish it were on US soil. I wish it were in federal court," she said, referring to the 9/11 trials.

Technical Legal Issues

Mohammed, whose beard was dyed red, and two other accused al-Qaeda terrorists, Walid bin Attash and Ramzi bin al Shibh, arrived in court Monday morning dressed in their traditional white tunics and outfitted as soldiers in camouflage jacket and vests. Their ankles were shackled when they were led into the courtroom by Guantanamo guards. Al Baluchi and Hawsawi did not wear camouflage attire, nor were their ankles shackled as they were led to their seats in the back of the courtroom.

The men were engaged in the proceedings throughout the day, thumbing through thick binders of motions and other legal material.

Highly technical legal issues dominated much of the morning session. For example, in order for the defense to receive classified information from the government, the attorneys have to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) promising to protect the information. But Connell took issue with some of the language in the proposed MOU, specifically over the use of the words "agree" and "agreeing."

"If we change 'agreeing to comply' to 'acknowledging a duty to comply,' I have no problem with it," Connell said about the MOU. "And if we change that 'I agree to be bound by the terms of the order' to 'I acknowledge that I am bound by terms of the order,' that is me acquiescing in the order of the court rather than me voluntarily agreeing to the terms of the order."

The government objected, and Pohl noted that the only way the defense will receive classified information is if they agree to the conditions set forth in the MOU and sign it.

Another matter that arose in the morning session and was resolved later in the afternoon pertained to the 9/11 defendants acknowledging verbally to Pohl that they understood they had the right to appear at the hearings and the right not to appear. Pohl demanded that the defendants state to him that they understood these rights, and if they refused to engage him, they would be forced to appear at the hearings.

Speaking to the accused individually, Pohl asked each of the men if he understood his rights and if he had any questions. All of the defendants said they understood their rights, but bin Attash added, "We don't have any motivating factors that would invite us to come to the court."

"We have been dealing with our attorneys for about a year and a half and we have not been able to build any trust with them," he said through an interpreter. "Our attorneys are bound and we are bound also. There are many things that the court could do to help us, help motivate us to attend the court, but there is nothing that would motivate us to come.

"Yes, I understand my rights very well. But I want you to understand the situation that we are in. The government does not want us to hear or understand. The prosecution does not want us to hear or understand or say anything. And they don't even want our attorneys to do anything."

One of bin Attash's attorneys, Cheryl Bormann, who dresses in a black abaya that covers her body when she appears in court, told Pohl she has not been able to send her client a letter since October 2011.

"In order for me to have a conversation with Mr. bin Attash, I have to make plane arrangements 14 days in advance to come down here for a week at a time so that I can have a short conversation with Mr. bin Attash," she said. "And then when I get down here, I'm not even permitted to bring in a list of things that I need to discuss with Mr. bin Attash or any draft motions that I might want to review with Mr. bin Attash, or, in fact, provide him with information I think might be relevant to the next commission proceeding. It has probably irretrievably affected my ability to communicate with Mr. bin Attash. And when I say 'my,' I mean everybody on the defense team for Mr. bin Attash. I know you don't understand this because you don't live my life."

During a hastily arranged news conference with reporters Monday evening, Bormann said she suspects her conversations with bin Attash are being recorded by the government when she meets with him to discuss the case.

"I have no confidence it is not," she said, adding that the military commissions has fallen short in living up to its motto, "Fairness, Transparency, Justice."

Truthout’s Jason Leopold on His Upcoming Trip to Guantanamo, His Update on the Gitmo...

In this wide-ranging conversation with Jason Leopold, Truthout’s lead investigative reporter, he talks about his upcoming trip to Guantanamo, the impact of the new pro-torture film Zero Dark 30, the scheduled sentencing of former CIA agent Kiriakou, and his fifth report on the reported suicide of Gitmo prisoner Adnan Latif. We start with Leopold’s announcement that he’s been approved to cover the trial of Khaled Sheikh Muhammed at Guantanamo Bay, and will travel there at the end of January.  We talk about the sharp limitations on coverage and the rules of evidence that appear to preclude a fair trial.

We talk about the new film Zero Dark 30, and the way it cements the myths that torture is OK, and produces usable intelligence.  It also burnishes the image of the CIA, despite the numerous known cases where it tortured innocent people and bungled investigations.

Next, we discuss the recent plea deal taken by John Kiriakou, a CIA agent who helped capture Abu Zubaidah in 2002, who was mistakenly thought to be al Qaeda’s #3 leader.  Kiriakou, who was misled to believe that Zubaidah cracked during his first waterboarding, did not participate in torture sessions, but went public in 2007.  Leopold interviewed him in a 2010 video report, and asked Kiriakou about Deuce Martinez, whose name surfaced in the later investigation.  We talk about NY Times reporter Scott Shane’s remarkable January 6 report, which revealed Shane’s contacts with Kiriakou that drew Shane into the investigation, related to Martinez.  Ultimately, Kiriakou pled guilty to revealing a different agent’s name to a reporter, who did not even publish it.  So far, Kiriakou is the only person going to jail related to Bush’s torture program.

Finally, we talk about Leopold’s dogged efforts to get to the truth in the case of Yemeni Adnan Latif, who was reported a suicide on September 8, 2012 at Guantanamo.  We recap how Latif was not a terrorist, was approved for release by both Bush and Obama officials, and the contradictions in the initial death reports and his autopsy.

Correction:  In our interview, PBC states that the corporate media has barely covered the Latif story.  One exception is a recent “Op-Doc” posted on the NY Times website, a 9-minute video that shows the return of Latif’s remains to his family last December.  Credit is due to the producer, Laura Poitras.  The video is embedded in Leopold’s report.

Protestors and Former Detainees Mark Guantanamo Anniversary in London

Context: As yet there are no context links for this item.

Transcript

Hassan Ghani

Another year, and another sombre vigil outside the US embassy in London. A somewhat eclectic gathering in near freezing temperatures ensured that 11 years of Guantanamo did not go unmarked.Aisha Maniar, London Guantanamo Campaign“It’s down to the public now. President Obama broke his promise four years ago to close Guantanamo Bay. The argument with so-called terrorists, is that terrorists act outside of the law; but what we actually see is governments acting like mafia, like terrorists themselves, and they too are acting outside the known confines of the law. There’s no exceptions for the use of torture, there’s no reason for arbritrary detention – if people have committed crimes then try them, in a normal court of law. Try them and then lock them up. Don’t lock them up and then hold them for eleven years and say ‘oh these people are bad because we say so’.”Alice, Student Activist“It’s just unintelligible that it would still be open. And especially the inhumane treatment to people that have been proven innocent.”Hassan GhaniOf the nearly 800 men and children held in Guantanamo over the years, today 166 still remain. More than half of them have also cleared for release, some many years ago. But despite having come out clean after years of detention without trial, interrogations, and torture - or what the US department of defence called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’, they remain trapped in this legal blackhole.Staff at ‘Reprieve’, the legal action charity, have been working on some of the cases.Hilary Stauffer, Deputy Director of Reprieve“The US Congress in 2010 passed a law called the National Defence Authorisation Act – that is the defence bill for the year, that’s just the spending bill that manages the budget for the army. But they also tacked on a provision in there that had a lot to do with Guantanamo.It said that no US funds could be used to transfer detainees. It said that detainees could never be transferred or resettled in the United States, even the ones that are completely innocent. And it said that if they were going to be released, the Secretary of Defence, the Secretary of State, and the Director of National Intelligence all had to agree. And that the country he went to had to certify that he would never commit an act of terrorism again, certify that he would never pose a threat to the United States ever again, and had to certify that they would watch him in perpetuity. And it’s very difficult to meet those, no one’s been released since the NDAA came into effect, except through political deals behind the scenes.”Hassan GhaniAmong those cleared for release several years ago is the last remaining British resident in Guantanamo, Shaker Aamer. His family have been campaigning on his behalf. But, for the moment, there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel.Hilary Stauffer, Deputy Director of Reprieve“In many cases these men don’t want to go back to where they are from. Shaker is a British resident, he’s married to a British citizen, has children who are British citizens, but he’s originally from Saudi Arabia. If he went back to Saudi Arabia he’d probably be very very mistreated or tortured, because that happens in a lot of places, these guys go back to countries that are less democratic than others, and it’s guilt by suspicion. So they don’t want to go back to their country of origin, they want to be resettled to a third country. But in many cases these countries say ‘if the US wont take them, why should we?’”Hassan GhaniFor those who’ve survived rendition, torture and detention without trial, and have begun rebuilding their lives, the mental scars are enduring. And the anniversary brings with it a reminder of those left behind.Bisher al-Rawi, Guantanamo Detainee 2002-2007“We write them letters, we keep in touch with their families, we try to send them news. And although it’s extremely important to work, it’s extremely painful. Every day is a reminder. I look in the faces of my children and I think of the brothers who have left their children behind, the brothers who have not had families – people who got married and never had kids.”Hassan GhaniOmar Deghayez was held in Guantanamo for five years. At one point he was beaten so badly, that he lost the use of one of his eyes.Omar Deghayes, Guantanamo Detainee 2002-2007“They were holding my head back and holding me down, and then he pushed his fingers into my eyes. I didn’t understand what he was doing so I had my eyes clearly open, until I felt the pain of his fingers coming wholly inside the eyes, and he was pushing harder. So I closed my eyes but it was too late when his fingers were already inside. And the officer kept saying to him ‘more more’, and the guard was screaming, because he was I think frightened himself, saying ‘I am I am’.I think they wanted to make an example of us, we were in a ‘Oscar’ block where they thought we were rebellious, because they did that to me and then they went to the next cell and the next cell, and they did it to all of them. It was one night they did that. Several people lost their eyes.The mistreatment in Guantanamo will last with you, I think, forever. It’s a grave wound, probably it will stay in the heart, in the psyche, of the person.”Hassan GhaniLike other former detainees, he too feels a sense of guilt at being free when others remain inside.Omar Deghayes, Guantanamo Detainee 2002-2007“There are still people who were with us, comrades, people who are inmates, friends of ours, people who we lived with and we promised that when we go out.. they had expectations that we would be able to speak about them – especially us in the United Kingdom, because many who are released to Saudi Arabia, Yemen and others are gagged, imprisoned, sometimes silenced by force.When they heard the announcement in Guantanamo that I was going to be released, people were celebrating as if they were going to be released. Because they know my background, I’m a lawyer, a human rights lawyer, and on top of that I speak English, on top of that I’m in the UK.”Hassan GhaniBut while media attention is generally drawn to Guantanamo, the US administration and the CIA hold prisoners in even more controversial facilities in other countries around the world, known as black sites, where few know what really goes on. And now, with drone strikes, human rights organisations say the Obama administration has completely bypassed the whole legal process.Hilary Stauffer, Deputy Director of Reprieve“It’s a controversial policy, but instead of capturing terrorism suspects he’s often just killing them abroad through drone strikes, so that you negate the need for a prison if you’re not even bringing people to any kind of trial, or you’re just killing them on the ground. Generally, the vast majority of them are just unnamed alleged terrorists abroad, but nobody has any idea what they’re being charged with. And drone strikes are particularly problematic because Obama has said that his justification is basically anybody in military age, between 18 and 65, is a target, a potential militant, and it’s up to them to prove after the fact that they weren’t a militant. But if they’re dead, it’s very difficult to prove that.”Hassan GhaniFor protestors outside the US embassy in London, Guantanamo remains a powerful symbol of a wider unjust system, and they say they know their work isn’t over if the prison closes tomorrow.“It’s likely that opponents of the US government’s network of renditions, black sites, and drone killings will be meeting here for many more years to come. The US administration says that some of the detainees it currently holds can be held indefinitely, without charge or trial, pending an end to hostilities, as prisoners of war. The seemingly never-ending, ever-expanding, war on terror. Hassan Ghani, for the Real News, London.


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US Law Prohibits Transferring Guantanamo Prisoners to America

guantanamo

FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legislation proscribes it.

January 11, 2013 marks Guantanamo’s 11th anniversary. More on that below.

On January 11, 2002, its first 20 prisoners arrived. It’s one of many US torture prisons globally.

Most held there are innocent victims. They’re not terrorists. They’re lawlessly detained. Many remained for years uncharged and untried. Fundamental rights are denied.

Seton Hall University Law Professor Mark Denebeaux analyzed unclassified government data. He got them through FOIA requests.

They revealed what’s vital to know. The vast majority of Guantanamo detainees weren’t accused of hostile acts. Afghan bounty hunters seized around 95% of them.

They sold them to US forces for $5,000 per claimed Taliban and $25,000 for alleged Al Qaeda members. Evidence of criminality wasn’t sought.

Washington wanted prisoners. It still does. Innocence or guilt didn’t matter. It still doesn’t.

What George Bush began, Obama continues. It’s institutionalized. Torture and other crimes against humanity reflect official US policy.

On January 20, 2009, Obama became America’s 44th president. He promised closure. On January 22, 2009, his Executive Order followed. It said:

“By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to effect the appropriate disposition of individuals currently detained by the Department of Defense at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base (Guantánamo) and promptly to close detention facilities at Guantánamo, consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice…”

He promised “immediate review of all” detainees within 30 days and “humane standards of confinement.”

He lied. He’s a serial liar. He broke every major promise made. He’s a moral coward. He’s an unindicted war criminal. He belongs in prison, not government.

He’s got four more years to wage war on humanity. Expect him to take full advantage.

On January 3, 2013, the ACLU headlined “NDAA Prevents Closing Guantanamo, Could Lead to Claims of a Right to Discriminate.”

On December 31, 2012 (New Year’s eve), Obama signed FY 2012 NDAA legislation. He assumed diktat authority. He’s now judge, jury and executioner.

NDAA lets him order anyone arrested and indefinitely detained. He can do so based solely on suspicions, unfounded allegations, or none at all. US citizens are included. They can be targeted at home or abroad. There’s no place to hide.

FY 2013 NDAA repeats the same authority. Obama again signed quietly on New Year’s eve. Doing so helps institutionalize greater harshness. It’s fast-tracking America toward full-blown tyranny.

It targeted Guantanamo detainees. The ACLU explained, saying:

Obama signed NDAA. It “jeopardizes his ability to meet his promise to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay during his presidency.”

It “contains a troubling provision compelling the military to accommodate the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of all members of the armed forces without accounting for the effect an accommodation would have.”

It “restricts Obama’s ability to transfer detainees for repatriation or resettlement in foreign countries or to prosecute them in federal criminal court.”

“Originally set to expire on March 27, the transfer restrictions have been extended through Sept. 30. As recently as October, Obama reiterated his commitment to close Guantanamo. Currently, 166 prisoners remain at the prison camp.”

According to ACLU director Anthony Romero:

Obama “utterly failed the first test of his second term, even before inauguration day. His signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions, will be extended.”

He “jeopardized his ability to close Guantanamo during his presidency.”

“Scores of men who have already been held for nearly 11 years without being charged with a crime – including more than 80 who have been cleared for transfer – may very well be imprisoned unfairly for yet another year.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) reported on “torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of” Guantanamo prisoners.

Documented evidence was obtained. Abusive treatment is standard practice. Waterboarding is one of many tactics.

Others include beatings, painful hog-tying, prolonged stress positions, electric shocks, sensory deprivation, extreme heat and cold, deafening sounds, and much more.

CCR described prolonged isolation. “Approximately 70%” of detainees “are in solitary confinement or isolation,” it said.

“Virtually none have ever been charged, and most will never be charged or tried.”

“Yet, they remain in ‘super-maximum security confinement’ conditions.” Doing so exceeds what’s psychologically tolerable.

Pentagon authorities won’t acknowledge what’s done. Euphemisms substitute. Prisoners get greater “privacy” and “single-occupancy cells,” they claim. Hell is hell. Sanitizing it doesn’t wash.

Conditions speak for themselves. Cells are small, windowless steel cages without access to natural light or air. Fluorescent lights stay on 24 hours a day. Sleep is impeded.

Attorney Brent Mickum represents Bisher al-Rawi. He’s “slowly but surely, slipping into madness,” he said. He has no human contact. He’s entirely cut off from the outside world. So are most others.

Attorney Clive Stafford Smith said his client smeared feces on his cell walls. When asked why, he couldn’t explain.

Prisoners are zombie-like. They resemble the living dead. Appalling treatment continues out of sight and mind. Media scoundrels say nothing.

CCR explained Guantanamo by the numbers:

Since 2002, an estimated 779 men were detained. Nearly all were Muslims. Another 664 men were transferred from Guantanamo. It now holds 166 indefinitely.

According to US government records, 92% aren’t terrorists. They’re not Al Qaeda fighters. Eighty-six men cleared for release remain detained.

Another 46 are indefinitely held without charge or trial. Washington claims they can neither be released or prosecuted.

Twenty-two or more prisoners were under 18 when captured. Twelve or more fear torture or persecution if returned to their home countries. They’ll remain detained until or unless other nations offer them safe havens.

Ten years or longer reflect how long most men have been held without charge or trial. Nine died in captivity. Two were forcibly sent to Algeria “despite credible fears of abuse.”

No US government officials have been held accountable. None will be. They freely get away with murder, torture, and other unconscionable abuses. They do it out of sight and mind.

Obama authorized it. He’s guilty of gross crimes against humanity. So are other complicit government and Pentagon officials.

Guantanamo remains open. Obama won’t close it. The New York Times tried having it both ways. On November 25, 2012, it headlined “Close Guantanamo Prison.”

Obama promised, it said. He pledged no more torture and abuse. It “was a bold beginning.” It’s unfilled. He continues Bush administration practices. He claims executive power.

During last year’s presidential campaign, Guantanamo “scarcely came up.”

At the same time, NYT editors “trust” he’ll fulfill his pledge. He spurned it for four years. Expect no change ahead.

Jennifer Daskal is Georgetown University adjunct professor. Formerly she was Justice Department counsel to the assistant attorney general. She’s senior counterterrorism counsel for Human Rights Watch.

On January 10, her Times op-ed headlined “Don’t Close Guantanamo.”

Earlier she favored closure. No longer. She believes “Guantanamo should stay open – at least for the short term.”

Dozens of prisoners can’t be prosecuted, she said. They’re “too dangerous to be transferred or released.” Why she didn’t explain.

She turned international law on its head. She claims they’re “held under rules of war” that permit “detention without charge for the duration of hostilities.”

False! Bush officials called them “unlawful combatants.” They’re now classified “unprivileged enemy belligerents.”

Language changed but not intent or lawlessness. Francis Boyle told this writer and others earlier. He said Bush spurned Geneva, constitutional and US statute laws.

He “created an anti-matter of legal nihilism where human beings (including US citizens) can be disappeared, detained incommunicado, denied access to attorneys and regular courts, tried in kangaroo courts, executed, tortured, assassinated and subjected to numerous other manifestations of State Terrorism.”

Obama continues the same practices. Lawlessness is official US policy.

Dascal claims “legal authority” permits detaining them. She says Guantanamo today “is a far cry from” 2002. She ignores continued abusive treatment.

She claims most detainees “live in communal facilities where they can eat, pray and exercise together.”

On June 24, 2012, Jimmy Carter headlined “A Cruel and Unusual Record.”

He condemned America’s “widespread abuse of human rights.”

He cited targeted assassinations, indiscriminate drone killings, indefinite detentions without charge, warrantless spying, abusing people based on “their appearance, where they worship or with whom they associate,” keeping Guantanamo open, and obtaining confessions by torture.

What Bush authorized, Obama continues. Illegal practices remain policy. Torture is institutionalized. International law is spurned. Constitutional rights don’t matter.

America “abandon(ed) its role as the global champion of human rights,” said Carter. Remaining Guantanamo prisoners “have little prospect of ever obtaining their freedom.”

US authorities “revealed that, in order to obtain confessions, (prisoners were) tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers.”

National security priorities prevent defense attorneys from raising these issues responsibly.

“Instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends.”

Dascal disagrees. Closing Guantanamo “would do more harm than good,” she claims. Keep it open, she urges. Violating international, constitutional, and US statute laws wasn’t explained.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) headlined “January 11: (National) Day of Action Against Guantanamo.”

“Join us,” it said. “Call on President Obama to fulfill his promise.” Demand he uphold human rights.

“166 men remain detained at Guantanamo.” Most never should have been sent there in the first place.

They’ve been lawlessly held “over ten years without any charge or trial. They must be tried in a fair (civil) court or released. Guantanamo must be shut down.”

At 1:30PM in Washington, activists gathered outside the Supreme Court. They marched past Capitol Hill to the White House.

The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church hosted a 2:30PM interfaith prayer service. Efforts continue to do the right thing. Over 25 organizations participated.

They include CCR, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, CloseGuantanamo.Org, Code Pink, Council on American Islamic Relations, Veterans for Peace, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Physicians for Human Rights, Women Against Military Madness, and others.

Obama ignores them. He spurns rule of law principles. He’s defiant. He’s obstructionist.

Keep Gitmo open, he ordered. Torture and other forms of abuse continue out of sight and mind. They reflect official US policy.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/us-law-prohibits-transferring-guantanamo-prisoners-to-america/US Law Prohibits Transferring Guantanamo Prisoners to America

Eleven Years of Guantanamo; Drone Strategy Consolidates Under Brennan

Michael Ratner: From Guantanamo to Brennan at CIA, Obama carries on the policies of George Bush.

TRANSCRIPT:

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to this week's edition of The Ratner Report with Michael Ratner, who now joins us from New York City.

Michael is president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin, and a board member for The Real News. Thanks for joining us, Michael.

MICHAEL RATNER, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Good to be with you, Paul.

JAY: So what are you following this week? I guess the big issue will be the anniversary of Guantanamo.

RATNER: I wish I could say it's a big issue. Of course it's a big issue. But it's a grim anniversary. It's the 11th year of Guantanamo. We're entering the 12th year. The U.S. has had that detention camp since January 11, 2002. The original order came down in November 2001. That's the order that the Center for Constitutional Rights and myself has been challenging since that time. And despite our challenges, despite Obama, we still have Guantanamo there. And we have a Guantanamo—and these numbers are important—that 166 people still remaining at Guantanamo, and that 86 of those, 86 have been cleared for release. That means they're innocent, they shouldn't be there anymore, and they are still there. And they've been there going on, in some cases, 11 years, ten years, nine years. Still there. So we're still running a detention camp.

JAY: Why are they still there if they've been cleared for release?

RATNER: You know, that gets into the big issue on Guantanamo. It gets into the president's promise to close it. The president on January 22, 2009, wrote an executive order saying exactly it has to be closed in one year from this date and saying it's in the national security interests of the United States and the foreign policy interests and the interests of justice to close Guantanamo. And yet it remains open.

So the big question is: why? Well, you know, politicians are politicians. And what happened in Guantanamo—I can do a couple of factors quickly, but they're still at the politicians' door. One is [incompr.] the first people who were ordered released from Guantanamo when Obama became president, the Uyghers from Western China, which is the Muslim split-off group from China, they were picked up in Afghanistan. The U.S. refused to let them come into the United States, despite a federal court order and despite a Uyghur community that was willing to take them in, and despite their complete clearance for release. Obama showed weak knees. That was early in his term, you know, probably by February or March.

And then, after he refused to let those Uyghurs into the United States, Congress got in the act. And that goes on and on. Congress then said nobody from Guantanamo can come to the United States, nobody from Guantanamo can be sent to any other country, unless there are all kinds of hurdles that they go through and clearances.

And that's now reflected in, like, two years of legislation, which we've talked about before, called the National Defense Authorization Act. Obama signed that again. That contains the Guantanamo restrictions on transfer to the United States and to other countries. Obama said in his signing statement, I think a lot of it's unconstitutional and I may override it. He said that last year as well. But I don't expect him to do it.

So my prediction: you and I will be celebrating, sadly, this grim anniversary year after year. And I put it—yes, I put it at the feet of Obama. I put it at the feet of Congress, and also the courts. While at my office we won a right for the Guantanamo detainees to challenge their detentions in courts, that right has not been carried out by the courts, and we have not yet gotten people out in the last few years as a result of any of the litigation. All of it has been reversed in the appeals court.

And so we're sitting there now with what I consider to be an incredible human rights and political outrage. The only way people seem to be getting out of the camp now is by death. And we had one death in September, a man named Adnan Latif, who'd been there for ten years. Government claimed suicide. Who knows. It was an overdose of drugs somehow. How he got that in a detention camp when there's a camera on you every second is unclear to me.

So Guantanamo is really like the albatross around Obama's neck. But be honest: it's not the only albatross. If we look at what the Obama administration has done, the areas that I care about and have litigated, he's not very much different than President Bush was. If you look at Guantanamo, [it] exists. You look at military commissions, which are those special rum trials, still going on. If you look at death by drone, more under Obama by far than under Bush. If you look at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is the right that they've given the government to surveil your and my conversations, it's as broad as it's ever been. They don't even have to name the U.S. citizens they're surveilling anymore. They can go to the secret court and get a warrant and say, we just want to investigate The Real News, pick up all the American citizens they want by wiretap, and that's it. So Obama on those issues is really hand-in-glove with President Bush. And on torture, of course, yes, he did do an order to stop the worst forms of torture—waterboarding and otherwise. That had actually ended by the time Obama took office.

JAY: What about the appointment of John Brennan as director of the CIA?

RATNER: Well, that really seals what I've been saying about the two wings of the same bird sense of Bush and Obama on these national security issues that I've been discussing. John Brennan has been the national security adviser for President Obama in the White House. The reason he was that adviser was because he couldn't get to be head of the CIA, which is what Obama wanted to appoint him to four years ago. And he couldn't appoint him to that because Brennan set up the counterintelligence center or the Counterterrorism Center in Washington to fight terrorism. And as part of that, of course, we had the torture techniques employed widely. Brennan was head of that. We had rendition employed widely. Brennan was head of that. So there was too much opposition for Brennan to get to be head of the CIA.

Go ahead now four more years. Brennan's been heading the drone program for President Obama. He's become like a brother, as far as we can tell, to President Obama on the drone program. What happens next? Obama nominates Brennan to be head of the CIA. Is there going to be significant opposition? I doubt it. The torture stuff probably won't come up at all. It seems that every member of Congress or at least every member of the Senate is on the same page or almost the same page on the drone issues with a few exceptions. And so probably Brennan is going to sweep through.

So what does that tell you about what's happened to the country? When we had Bush in office, I had a tremendous amount of support for the opposition that my office and others have had to Guantanamo, drones, the torture program, getting people prosecuted for torture [inaud.] Obama's taken office, that support has evaporated. And worse than that, they're now putting into the head of the CIA one of the architects of the Bush program, and actually the head of the drone program, essentially. We've seen a normalization now of these issues in the country.

JAY: Just to be clear, when you said head of the drone program, now we know from—'cause they told The New York Times, this is Brennan and Obama sitting around, deciding who's going to be killed.

RATNER: That's where they make up the kill list. Obama said he signs off on it personally. It includes a wide variety of people, not just people who are alleged terrorists, who they know the names of; it includes what are called signature strikes, which are just people who have characteristics they say belong to terrorists or in the areas where terrorists allegedly hang out; and it includes people killing outside of war zones, which is, I think, what people are really getting upset by, because it may be one thing—it's like a bomber if you're fighting a shooting war, to drop bombs on, you know, the other side; but when you're talking about people who were not in uniforms, who were not in a war zone, but are living in Yemen or living in Somalia, or could be living in the United Kingdom or right here in the United States, you're talking about something else. And that's who's going to be the head of our CIA.

So I would say that this country on those issues is really in a hell somewhere. I mean, we have a long way to come back. Eleven years of Guantanamo, six, seven, eight years of drones, a dozen years of torture and no prosecutions for it, and then you throw into the mix the last little bit, a nice film like Zero Dark Thirty—and I mean nice facetiously—that essentially makes an argument that torture works and that we need torture to protect ourselves in the United States. Luckily, while it was nominated for an academy award, its director, who should not be directing, Kathryn Bigelow, was not nominated. But the film confirms, really, what this country has become, which is a country where torture is considered acceptable and necessary for its protection.

JAY: Alright. Thanks for joining us, Michael.

RATNER: Thank you, Paul.

JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

‘Guantanamo creates deep wounds’ — former detainees

The flag over a war crimes courtroom in Camp Justice at US Naval Base Guantanamo Bay in Cuba (Reuters / Michelle Shephard / Pool)

(13.3Mb) embed video

Guantanamo Bay is sending a very disturbing signal to the world as it legalizes torture, say former detainees. In an interview with RT they shared their painful memories and the feeling of guilt facing the innocent people imprisoned.

Former Guantanamo detainee, Bisher Amin Khalil Al-Rawi, 52, is an Iraqi citizen who became a UK resident in 1980s. He was held in Guantanamo from 2002 to 2007. Al-Rawi argues that he was arrested by the Gambian National Intelligence Agency while on a business trip in Banjul Airport. He was then turned over to US authorities and transferred to Guantanamo Bay. He was held under suspicion of having links with Al-Qaeda.

Al-Rawi tells RT that he still feels guilt in front of those other prisoners who have been cleared off, but still remain in Guantanamo.

Bisher Amin Khalil Al-Rawi
Bisher Amin Khalil Al-Rawi

­“I do not know why I was released and others were not, especially when you know that people who have been cleared still remain in Guantanamo. At the time when I was released I do not know whether I was cleared or not. And I think one cannot but feel uncomfortable and that guilt is lingering in you. Why am I out and they are still in there?”

“Dictators are pressing people, we all know that, but oppression from countries that have put themselves forward as the leaders of the free world, I think oppression from them should not be tolerated. The UK is my country, it is my home, but I think the government can do much more to help. The US needs to be reminded of the wrongs that it is committing.”

Former Guantanamo detainee Omar Deghayes, 43, is a Libyan citizen with residency status in the UK. He was held in Gitmo for five years from 2002 to 2007. Deghayes was arrested in Pakistan and then taken into US military custody and sent to Guantanamo.  After his release he was returned to Britain, but was arrested under a Spanish warrant. In 2008 the extradition attempts were dropped.

Omar Deghayes
Omar Deghayes

Deghayes believes that the message US is sending by enforcing torture is very disturbing and says it creates deep wounds that are not healed easily.

“I have been released now for four years, since December 2007. But the memories of Guantanamo are very clear because of what had happened. The mistreatment does not go away easily. It does create a deep wound that will last a long time. When we talk about Guantanamo, these things do come back.”

“The message that Guantanamo sends to the world is very disturbing and very serious [and] has to be opposed and spoken against. In the US the people who committed the crimes which legalized and engineered torture in Guantanamo not only have not been prosecuted or accounted for what they had committed, but they are at large campaigning very powerfully with media – and now film – to justify and make torture acceptable to the American public at large. Such a message is very dangerous and has to be opposed.”

Human rights lawyer Saghir Hussain talked about Guantanamo prisoner Shaker Aamer, who is a Saudi Arabian citizen and the last British resident held at Gitmo. Aamer was cleared for release by the Bush administration in 2007 and the Obama administration in 2009, but remains in detention.

Saghir Hussain
Saghir Hussain

“The promise [to bring Shaker Aamer back home] has not been fulfilled and that is very disappointing and we urge the British government to fulfill the promise made to the former detainees, who despite their own personal emotional sufferings are strongly concerned about Shaker Aamer and the fact that he is still not back.”

Hussain also spoke out against the ‘Secret Justice’ bill that would allow national security evidence to be heard behind closed court doors.

“[The] Secret Justice bill would allow a Secretary of State to tell the judge what is secret and what is not. So there is no judicial oversight as to what can be open in court.”

11 Years of Guantanamo; Brennan CIA Nomination Consolidates Drone Assassination Strategy

Context: As yet there are no context links for this item.

Bio

Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He is currently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. He and CCR brought the first case challenging the Guantanamo detentions and continue in their efforts to close Guantanamo. He taught at Yale Law School, and Columbia Law School, and was President of the National Lawyers Guild. His current books include "Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-First Century America," and “ Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder.” NOTE: Mr. Ratner speaks on his own behalf and not for any organization with which he is affiliated.

Transcript

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to this week's edition of The Ratner Report with Michael Ratner, who now joins us from New York City.

Michael is president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin, and a board member for The Real News. Thanks for joining us, Michael.MICHAEL RATNER, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Good to be with you, Paul.JAY: So what are you following this week? I guess the big issue will be the anniversary of Guantanamo.RATNER: I wish I could say it's a big issue. Of course it's a big issue. But it's a grim anniversary. It's the 11th year of Guantanamo. We're entering the 12th year. The U.S. has had that detention camp since January 11, 2002. The original order came down in November 2001. That's the order that the Center for Constitutional Rights and myself has been challenging since that time. And despite our challenges, despite Obama, we still have Guantanamo there. And we have a Guantanamo—and these numbers are important—that 166 people still remaining at Guantanamo, and that 86 of those, 86 have been cleared for release. That means they're innocent, they shouldn't be there anymore, and they are still there. And they've been there going on, in some cases, 11 years, ten years, nine years. Still there. So we're still running a detention camp.JAY: Why are they still there if they've been cleared for release?RATNER: You know, that gets into the big issue on Guantanamo. It gets into the president's promise to close it. The president on January 22, 2009, wrote an executive order saying exactly it has to be closed in one year from this date and saying it's in the national security interests of the United States and the foreign policy interests and the interests of justice to close Guantanamo. And yet it remains open. So the big question is: why? Well, you know, politicians are politicians. And what happened in Guantanamo—I can do a couple of factors quickly, but they're still at the politicians' door. One is [incompr.] the first people who were ordered released from Guantanamo when Obama became president, the Uyghers from Western China, which is the Muslim split-off group from China, they were picked up in Afghanistan. The U.S. refused to let them come into the United States, despite a federal court order and despite a Uyghur community that was willing to take them in, and despite their complete clearance for release. Obama showed weak knees. That was early in his term, you know, probably by February or March. And then, after he refused to let those Uyghurs into the United States, Congress got in the act. And that goes on and on. Congress then said nobody from Guantanamo can come to the United States, nobody from Guantanamo can be sent to any other country, unless there are all kinds of hurdles that they go through and clearances. And that's now reflected in, like, two years of legislation, which we've talked about before, called the National Defense Authorization Act. Obama signed that again. That contains the Guantanamo restrictions on transfer to the United States and to other countries. Obama said in his signing statement, I think a lot of it's unconstitutional and I may override it. He said that last year as well. But I don't expect him to do it. So my prediction: you and I will be celebrating, sadly, this grim anniversary year after year. And I put it—yes, I put it at the feet of Obama. I put it at the feet of Congress, and also the courts. While at my office we won a right for the Guantanamo detainees to challenge their detentions in courts, that right has not been carried out by the courts, and we have not yet gotten people out in the last few years as a result of any of the litigation. All of it has been reversed in the appeals court. And so we're sitting there now with what I consider to be an incredible human rights and political outrage. The only way people seem to be getting out of the camp now is by death. And we had one death in September, a man named Adnan Latif, who'd been there for ten years. Government claimed suicide. Who knows. It was an overdose of drugs somehow. How he got that in a detention camp when there's a camera on you every second is unclear to me. So Guantanamo is really like the albatross around Obama's neck. But be honest: it's not the only albatross. If we look at what the Obama administration has done, the areas that I care about and have litigated, he's not very much different than President Bush was. If you look at Guantanamo, [it] exists. You look at military commissions, which are those special rum trials, still going on. If you look at death by drone, more under Obama by far than under Bush. If you look at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is the right that they've given the government to surveil your and my conversations, it's as broad as it's ever been. They don't even have to name the U.S. citizens they're surveilling anymore. They can go to the secret court and get a warrant and say, we just want to investigate The Real News, pick up all the American citizens they want by wiretap, and that's it. So Obama on those issues is really hand-in-glove with President Bush. And on torture, of course, yes, he did do an order to stop the worst forms of torture—waterboarding and otherwise. That had actually ended by the time Obama took office.JAY: What about the appointment of John Brennan as director of the CIA?RATNER: Well, that really seals what I've been saying about the two wings of the same bird sense of Bush and Obama on these national security issues that I've been discussing. John Brennan has been the national security adviser for President Obama in the White House. The reason he was that adviser was because he couldn't get to be head of the CIA, which is what Obama wanted to appoint him to four years ago. And he couldn't appoint him to that because Brennan set up the counterintelligence center or the Counterterrorism Center in Washington to fight terrorism. And as part of that, of course, we had the torture techniques employed widely. Brennan was head of that. We had rendition employed widely. Brennan was head of that. So there was too much opposition for Brennan to get to be head of the CIA. Go ahead now four more years. Brennan's been heading the drone program for President Obama. He's become like a brother, as far as we can tell, to President Obama on the drone program. What happens next? Obama nominates Brennan to be head of the CIA. Is there going to be significant opposition? I doubt it. The torture stuff probably won't come up at all. It seems that every member of Congress or at least every member of the Senate is on the same page or almost the same page on the drone issues with a few exceptions. And so probably Brennan is going to sweep through. So what does that tell you about what's happened to the country? When we had Bush in office, I had a tremendous amount of support for the opposition that my office and others have had to Guantanamo, drones, the torture program, getting people prosecuted for torture [inaud.] Obama's taken office, that support has evaporated. And worse than that, they're now putting into the head of the CIA one of the architects of the Bush program, and actually the head of the drone program, essentially. We've seen a normalization now of these issues in the country. JAY: Just to be clear, when you said head of the drone program, now we know from—'cause they told The New York Times, this is Brennan and Obama sitting around, deciding who's going to be killed.RATNER: That's where they make up the kill list. Obama said he signs off on it personally. It includes a wide variety of people, not just people who are alleged terrorists, who they know the names of; it includes what are called signature strikes, which are just people who have characteristics they say belong to terrorists or in the areas where terrorists allegedly hang out; and it includes people killing outside of war zones, which is, I think, what people are really getting upset by, because it may be one thing—it's like a bomber if you're fighting a shooting war, to drop bombs on, you know, the other side; but when you're talking about people who were not in uniforms, who were not in a war zone, but are living in Yemen or living in Somalia, or could be living in the United Kingdom or right here in the United States, you're talking about something else. And that's who's going to be the head of our CIA. So I would say that this country on those issues is really in a hell somewhere. I mean, we have a long way to come back. Eleven years of Guantanamo, six, seven, eight years of drones, a dozen years of torture and no prosecutions for it, and then you throw into the mix the last little bit, a nice film like Zero Dark Thirty—and I mean nice facetiously—that essentially makes an argument that torture works and that we need torture to protect ourselves in the United States. Luckily, while it was nominated for an academy award, its director, who should not be directing, Kathryn Bigelow, was not nominated. But the film confirms, really, what this country has become, which is a country where torture is considered acceptable and necessary for its protection.JAY: Alright. Thanks for joining us, Michael.RATNER: Thank you, Paul.JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


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Gitmo-go-round: No solution in sight on 11th Guantanamo anniversary

January 11 marks the 11th anniversary since the first inmates were airlifted into the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. With an almost blanket ban on transferring prisoners out of Camp Delta in operation, it is unlikely to be the last one.

­The date has been met with outright condemnation by human rights groups – with accusations that have been aired repeatedly over the past decade, to no avail.

“The USA’s claim that it is a champion of human rights cannot survive the Guantánamo detentions, the military commission trials, or the absence of accountability and remedy for past abuses by US personnel, including the crimes under international law of torture and enforced disappearance,” stated Rob Freer of Amnesty International.

Since George W. Bush established the detention camp that would operate outside normal standards of justice on a secluded base in Cuba, Guantanamo has – perhaps more visibly than anything else – eaten away at any moral high ground the US had in its War on Terror.

"The United States has an operation that can only be described as a medieval torture chamber.  It’s in violation of Geneva Convention, and in violation of the US constitution. It violates legal principles such as trial by jury that goes back thousands of years," anthropologist Dr. Mark Mason said to RT.

But while extraordinary renditions, military tribunals and “enhanced interrogation techniques” are largely a part of Camp Delta’s history (the last inmate was brought here in 2008) its continuing existence is perhaps even less justifiable.

It is one thing to capture and hold (potentially) genuine terrorists no-holds-barred, but it is another to be keep innocent people in jail. Shockingly, out of the 166 prisoners who are reported by outside sources to remain in Guantanamo, more than half have been cleared and are actually due for release. But they won’t be allowed to leave.

Just how confident Barack Obama sounded of closing Guantanamo during his initial campaign (repeatedly calling it the terrorists’ top “recruitment tool”) seems implausible in the light of what has happened since.

Obama ordered Guantanamo Bay shut within a year early in 2009, and still promised he would do so during his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech later this year.

What has happened since has been repeated obstruction by Congress, and a consistent display of weak political will from the President. Initial plans to transfer the prisoners to a newly-constructed facility in Illinois, dubbed “Gitmo North”, were struck down by lawmakers.

Further, they used the financial oversight committee to rule that no federal funds could be used to move any Guantanamo inmate to the US mainland.

Attempts to try suspects in US courts were also resisted by local politicians.

But at least acquitted suspects or enemies who have served their term could be repatriated to their own countries (providing they wanted them and could guarantee them safety – hardly a given).

This is no longer easily possible either. In 2011 Congress imposed a rule where the US Defense Secretary would have to sign a waiver promising that any released Guantanamo inmate would not harm America in the future.

As a result, only two people have been released from the facility since 2010. The only other way for people to leave has been to die of illness or to commit suicide.

Congress has overpowered the president by bundling the measures in with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the overall defense budget of the country. Obama has the power to veto the entire piece of legislation, but not to challenge it.

Obama has threatened to do so several times as Congress has imposed more and more stringent measures on Guantanamo, yet has backed down every time.

The latest NDAA, which further lessens the chance of Guantanamo closing, was signed only earlier this week. Obama reiterated that he wished to shut down Camp Delta, but rationalized his decision by saying “the need to renew critical defense authorities and funding was too great to ignore.”

To many of his supporters in the media and politics, Obama has been handed a problem of someone else’s making, for which there is no solution. But human rights experts have been roundly unimpressed.

“Under international law, domestic law and politics may not be invoked to justify failure to comply with treaty obligations. It is an inadequate response for one branch of government to blame another for a country’s human rights failure. International law demands that solutions be found, not excuses,” said Rob Freer.

“The burden is on Obama to show he is serious about closing the prison,” echoes Andrea Prasow from Human Rights Watch.

With extraordinary legal barriers to anyone leaving now in place, it is likely that Obama will not be able to shut Guantanamo even in his second term. It is not clear his successor will even want to.

In the meantime, this is what will remain:

A $150 million-a-year facility (which, as pointed out by the Obama administration, works out at $800,000 per inmate) that has produced only seven convictions, and holds more than 40 “indefinite detainees” – people who have been told they will face no charges due to lack of evidence, but will not be released, as the US has reason to believe they are dangerous, together with nearly 90 people who should not be there at all.

Whatever danger these people pose to the US (and no one argues that some of them are extremists), it is not likely to be greater than the damage Guantanamo is doing to its reputation.

“After 11 years, Guantanamo has immense symbolic power. To all those who believe in justice, truth and the rule of law it represents a continuing injustice,” Aisha Maniar, from the London Guantanamo Campaign, told RT.

Protestors wear orange prison jump suits and black hoods on their heads during protests against holding detainees at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay during a demonstration in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on January 8, 2013 (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)
Protestors wear orange prison jump suits and black hoods on their heads during protests against holding detainees at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay during a demonstration in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on January 8, 2013 (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

Guantanamo’s continuing legacy 11 years later and President Obama’s second term

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Coincidence? Guantanamo term ends as Bush’s does

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - It was no coincidence the U.S. military jurors at Guantanamo timed the prison sentence they gave...

Bin Laden Firm to Build Saudi Arabian Prisons to Replace Guantanamo Bay

Saudi Arabia prisons to replace Guantanamo bay Pakistan Daily  Saudi Arabia is to build five modern prisons in the kingdom to replace US Guantanamo detention facility,...

Guantanamo detainee petitions rights panel over torture

A Guantanamo detainee on Wednesday urged a human rights panel that investigates abuse cases in the Americas to review his accusations that he was...

US: Amnesty slams Bin Laden driver’s Guantanamo trial

AKI | Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden's former driver, Salim Hamdan, convicted by a US military jury on Wednesday of supporting terrorism, did not...

Guantanamo dangles new incentive for detainees

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA – In hopes of encouraging better behavior among terrorism suspects in a maximum-security facility here, parts of it will be gradually...

Judge Bars Evidence Against Terrorism Suspect at Guantanamo Trial

By Carol J. Williams | A military judge says some statements by Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a driver for Osama bin Laden, were made in...

Judge rejects attempt to block Guantanamo trial

A U.S. military judge has rejected another attempt to halt the first Guantanamo war crimes trial. The Navy judge's ruling comes as a civilian judge...

9/11 suspect to defend self at Guantanamo trial

AP News | A Guantanamo prisoner accused in the Sept. 11 attacks complained Wednesday that his confinement and obstructions by the U.S. military are...

US war crimes court to resume at Guantanamo

AP | U.S. military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay resume this week even as new legal challenges could throw the system into further turmoil. Five men...

Judge to Bush admin.: Guantanamo is top priority

AP News | A federal judge overseeing Guantanamo Bay lawsuits ordered the Justice Department to put other cases aside and make it clear throughout...

Guantanamo Bay may be turned into marine ‘rapid reaction’ base

By Damien McElroy in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba | The United States is considering transforming the Guantanamo Bay terrorism prison into a base for a...

Guantanamo’s days numbered, tough choices ahead

ANDREW O. SELSKY | This was a sleepy Navy outpost before the U.S. began using it to hold prisoners in the wake of the...

Guantanamo detainees made to feel like ‘nomads’

Detainees at Guantanamo Bay are turned into "nomads" to keep them agitated and to punish those who break rules, a Sudanese journalist recently released...

Senate probes Pentagon-Guantanamo contacts

It is no secret that American military personnel at Guantanamo Bay and other US-run prisons have stripped detainees naked, used dogs to scare them,...

Wrongly jailed detainees found militancy at Guantanamo

By Tom Lasseter | GARDEZ, Afghanistan – Mohammed Naim Farouq was a thug in the lawless Zormat district of eastern Afghanistan. He ran a...

Guantanamo trials fall short, says Arbour

By Stephanie Nebehay | UN HIGH Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said yesterday that planned Guantanamo war crimes trials fell short of international...

Martyrs in the making at Guantanamo

By Tim Rutten | Thursday's arraignment before a military tribunal of five Al Qaeda members accused of planning and assisting the 9/11 terrorist atrocities seemed...

U.S. defends removal of Guantanamo judge

By Michelle Shephard | The military judge in charge of the U.S. war crimes trials at Guantanamo Bay is defending the removal of the...

The last Briton in Guantanamo faces death penalty

By Robert Verkaik | A British resident who is facing the death penalty in Guantanamo Bay has made a final desperate plea to Gordon...

‘We Are Stuck’ With Guantanamo, Gates Says

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who last year said he would look for ways to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison, has told the...

Guantanamo official says he’s not resigning

AP | A Pentagon official said Wednesday he will not resign as legal adviser to war-crimes tribunals at Guantanamo, despite his removal from the...

Ex-Guantanamo detainees to sue US

By Akhtar Amin | Two former Guantanamo Bay prisoners from Sudan, who were picked up from Peshawar, are demanding an apology and planning to...

Ex-Guantanamo man: “Torture is terrorism”

By Opheera McDoom - KHARTOUM | Reuters - Al Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj returned home to Sudan on Friday after more than six years...

Osama bin Laden’s driver walks out on Guantanamo trial

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - AP | Osama bin Laden's former driver walked out on his war-crimes tribunal Tuesday, saying he did not believe...

The legal evils of Guantanamo Bay

Alasdair Palmer reviews Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law by Philippe Sands. Torture Team centres on a single document: a memo,...

Guantanamo Bay eight sue British secret service

Fiona Hamilton The three men from Tipton launched a lawsuit against the American authorities two years ago, alleging they were mistreated during their time...

From Inside a Cage at Guantanamo

McCain says he wants Guantanamo closed

Supporting many European Union officials stance, US Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has called for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay...

Guantanamo Prisoner Charged in Embassy Attack

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The U.S. has charged a Guantanamo prisoner with war crimes for the deadly 1998 al-Qaida attack on the American...

Pentagon Destroys Guantanamo Evidence

The Pentagon "likely" overwrote or deleted video recordings of a Guantanamo detainee that were subject to a court preservation order, according to a Department...

Guantanamo: The Bigger Picture?

 The U.S. base at Guantanamo has been called many things. The "gulag of our time" (Amnesty International General Secretary Irene Khan, May 2005). "The...

Guantanamo detainee’s request for key witness OKd

Prosecutors must make available a military commander who allegedly altered a report to cast blame on their client for the killing of a U.S....

Guantanamo detainees allowed phone calls

 Cuba: The US military has agreed to let detainees make regular phone calls to their families from the Guantanamo Bay prison, where many have...

The Guantanamo Files

A freelance historian and journalist, Andy Worthington has spent several years looking at the undercurrents of post-war British social history - in particular the...

New Charges of Guantanamo Torture

By Adam Zagorin | Time Magazine Majid Khan is seen in 1999 during his senior year in high school in...

Guantanamo as a symbol

By Ramzy Baroud Guantanamo is a dark spot in U.S. history and shall go down in world history as a symbol of injustice and oppression 11...

US official wants Guantanamo shut

  The highest US military officer says he would like to see the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay closed because its image has damaged America's...

Guantanamo: Six Years of Injustice – and Counting

By Mary Shaw  January 11, 2008, will mark the sixth anniversary of the first arrival of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. While some of Gitmo's residents probably...

Guantanamo “Living like an animal living in a cage”

By Mohamed Vall in Khartoum, Sudan Adil Hassan Hamad can scarcely believe he is back with his family in Sudan, because only days ago he was...

UN expert: Guantanamo hearings unfair

By FRANK JORDANS A U.N. human rights expert said Wednesday he found on a recent visit to Guantanamo Bay that the prison camp is not...

US repatriates 15 from Guantanamo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The U.S. announced Wednesday that it has sent 15 prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay prison back to their home...

They used us like rats and dogs at Guantanamo

Mamdouh Habib says he was beaten until his final days in the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and has accused Australian officials of...

Habib ‘told not to talk about Guantanamo torture’

AAP FORMER Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib says he did not reveal details of his torture in early interviews with media and others because he...

Former Guantanamo Chaplain tours UK

Former Guantanamo Chaplain tours UK for the first time, Shares platform with ex-detainees By Cageprisoners Cageprisoners is hosting a series of events around the UK, and...

Guantanamo manual posted on Internet

The U.S. military's operating manual for the Guantanamo prison camp has been posted on the Internet, providing a glimpse of the broad rules and...

Guantanamo Torture Sanctioned by Bush & Rumsfeld

LISA THOMPSON When military investigators questioned Erie County Judge Michael E. Dunlavey about reported prisoner abuse during his tenure at the Guantanamo Bay camp for...

Human rights expert calls for Guantanamo closure

A United Nations human rights expert called on the US to put on trial or release all people detained as “unlawful enemy combatants”, move...

Mauritanian in Guantanamo ‘abuse’

Mr Mohamed spent more than four years in captivity A Mauritanian man freed from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay says he suffered "physical...

Guantanamo lawyers barred from visiting or writing prisoners

By Ben Fox    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico Attorneys for at least 40 Guantanamo Bay prisoners have been barred from visiting or writing their clients because of...

Guantanamo: “Ghost” Prisoners Speak At Last

The Guantánamo Transcripts: “Ghost” Prisoners Speak After Five And A Half Years, And “9/11 hijacker” Recants His Tortured Confession By ANDY WORTHINGTON In another resounding...

Guantanamo Brit To Sue Security Services

A man who was held in Guantanamo Bay is to launch legal action for damages against MI5 and MI6. Detainee in Cuba prison Tarek Dergoul, 29,...

Castro: Cuba not cashing U.S. Guantanamo rent checks

Yahoo flamesong 20th August 2007 The United States pays Cuba $4,085 a month in rent for the controversial Guantanamo naval base, but Cuba has only once...

Britain wants Guantanamo detainees

Channel 4 News The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has written to the United States government urging the release of five former UK residents still being...

Briton tells of Guantanamo ordeal

A British resident released from Guantanamo Bay after being held for more than four years has said that the US failed to observe fair...

Russia and US accused of abusing men freed from Guantanamo Bay

Andrew Osborn The Kremlin and the United States have been accused of flouting international law in areport which tells the little-known story of seven Russian...

Guantanamo hearing begins for Hicks

An Australian detainee at Guatanamo Bay in Cuba has become the first prisoner held at the US military base to face prosecution under revised...

Gonzales, Cheney Blocked Appeals to Close Guantanamo

THOM SHANKER and DAVID E. SANGER  In his first weeks as defense secretary, Robert M. Gates repeatedly argued that the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay,...

Trusted fact-checker? Politifact duped by Bergdahl satire piece, tediously explains why it’s fake —...

One of the top fact-checking websites, tasked with combatting the spread of fake news by the...

MI5 missed chance to stop Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi — RT UK News

Intelligence services failed to act on tip-offs suggesting that the Manchester Arena suicide bomber should...

Trump tweets after Army Sgt Bergdahl spared prison term — RT US News

Published time: 3 Nov, 2017 15:45 Edited time: 3 Nov, 2017 18:44 US Army Sergeant Bowe...

Everything Is Terrible

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Gitmo judge throws Marine general in confinement for 21 days for contempt — RT...

The Marine general in charge of war court defense teams has been ordered into confinement for...

‘Idiotic’: Rights Groups Slam Trump for Reactionary ‘Send Him to Gitmo’ Threat

Civil rights advocates are pushing back against President Donald Trump's knee-jerk reaction to Tuesday's attack in New York City and for saying he would...

‘Treating returning ISIS fighters as prisoners will make them go underground’ — RT UK...

There has to be a reintegration program for returning ISIS fighters because if they are...

‘Block Murdoch’s takeover of Sky,’ Labour’s Tom Watson urges competition watchdog — RT UK...

Published time: 23 Oct, 2017 14:37 Edited time: 23 Oct, 2017 14:45 Holding the media...

The Balanced Budget

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Supreme Court clears path for military trial of USS Cole attack suspect — RT...

The US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by a man detained at Guantanamo  Bay,...

Did an ISIS ringleader receive British taxpayer money?

Published time: 27 Sep, 2017 10:12 Edited time: 27 Sep, 2017 11:00 An Islamic fighter...

Natural Disasters Agree: It's Climate Change

Natural Disasters Agree: It's Climate Change This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without...

Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief ©Universal Uclick This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license...

Navy evacuates over 5,000 personnel from Florida base ahead of Hurricane Irma

As Hurricane Irma sets its crosshairs on southeast Florida, the US Navy is evacuating thousands of...

Dissent

Dissent This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the...

Bergdahl court-martial: Prosecutor won’t use alleged Army deserter’s statements against him

Statements made by Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl during his five-year captivity by the Taliban will not be...

Gitmo judge lifts stay on 9/11 trial hearing

A Guantanamo judge has lifted a ban on military commission hearings at the island after an...

Explanation of Benefits

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The Tyranny of the Courts: The Case of Omar Khadr

Trump supporters are still reeling from the ability of the courts to paralyze his presidency. This is due to a thoroughly biased...

Very Normal

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‘Opportunities missed’ to stop radicalization of British brothers killed fighting in Syria – report

Two teenage brothers from Brighton who were killed while fighting in Syria were radicalized under...

Peter Van Buren: Drinking Rum Until I Understand the Cuban Embargo

It was easier for me to pass through Cuban customs and immigration than it was for me to come home to the U.S. “Be...

Kowtowing to the Military

The neo-cons in Canada are all a-twitter that their government is going to give Omar Khadr some $10 million in damages in payment for...

No Gitmo for ‘Blackflag’: Suspected terrorist to stand trial in Pennsylvania

Published time: 22 Jul, 2017 01:03 Edited time: 22 Jul, 2017 11:56 An Algerian national accused...

Doctor Who Cares if She’s a Woman?

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A Terrorist’s Big Payday, Courtesy of Trudeau

Canada’s prime minister hands millions to Omar Khadr, whose victims may not be able to collect. Omar Khadr pulled the pin from...

Don't Feed the Nuclear Club

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US soldier’s widow seeks cash from husband’s alleged killer after Canada ‘paid him $8mn’

Published time: 13 Jul, 2017 11:56 The widow of a slain US soldier is fighting to...

Detective Donald Solves a Mystery

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‘Subhuman Conditions’: Largest women’s prison in US without water for days

Published time: 12 Jul, 2017 15:54 Florida's Lowell Correctional Institution, which holds female offenders between the...

U.S. Soldier, Widow to Seek Injunction to Halt Ottawa’s Payout to Terrorist, Omar Khadr

The widow of an American soldier killed in Afghanistan and another former U.S. soldier partially blinded by a hand grenade plan to...

The Criminal Laws of Counterinsurgency

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today,...

The Criminal ‘Laws’ of Counterinsurgency

A new book traces how the CIA and U.S. counterinsurgency warfare operatives adopted lessons from the Nazis’ fight against the...

WikiLeaks disclosures on Iraq, Afghanistan did not damage US – report

Leaked US military files provided to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning did not significantly harm national security,...

Trump to roll back parts of Obama’s landmark Cuba policy

US President Donald Trump is expected to reverse parts of the landmark reengagement with Cuba, championed...

Spy agencies expect torrent of new job applications after London Bridge attack

Published time: 6 Jun, 2017 12:58 Britain’s spy agencies expect the recent terrorist attacks in...

Terrorist threat now ‘completely different,’ new strategy needed – police chief

Britain must come up with a new strategy combining spies, tech firms, police and communities to deal with the unprecedented danger now posed by...

Hiding the Ugly Business of Torture

Exclusive: A grisly feature of the “war on terror” was America’s descent into torture, but the powers-that-be have decided that...

It Appears Trump Admin. Wants to Bury Senate Torture Report Forever

The Trump administration is moving to keep the lengthy Senate report on the CIA's torture and detention program forever from the public eye, the...

The Problem with Dividing ‘Good Muslims’ from ‘Bad Muslims’

All right, America. We need to have a talk. The president recently returned from Saudi Arabia, where he gave his Muslim hosts a speech about...

"Whatever Is Ahead of Me Is Far More Important Than the Past": Chelsea Manning...

The source for some of the most explosive revelations in a generation walked free from a military prison on Wednesday morning. Army Private Chelsea Manning...

Freed 28 Years Early, Chelsea Manning Can Finally Go Home

Chelsea Manning was the first of her kind, bringing a new type of whistleblowing to the public eye. In 2010, Manning leaked an impressive...

From torture to freedom: Manning’s supporters reflect on her 7-year nightmare

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been released, after enduring seven years of imprisonment and torture. John Pilger,...

Soon-to-released Chelsea Manning wants to help others after prison

Published time: 10 May, 2017 00:38 Whistleblower, Chelsea Manning, has issued her first statement since President...

RT America earns Silver & Bronze World Medals at NY Festivals World’s Best TV...

RT America has been awarded one Silver Medal and two Bronze Medals at the annual New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards. Question more,...

‘El Chapo’ complains about reruns, tap water, poor view at New York prison

Published time: 24 Apr, 2017 19:41Edited time: 25 Apr, 2017 07:49 Notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín 'El...

U.S. Strikes in Syria Are an Illegal Response to Atrocity

No one disputes that Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians is illegal, immoral, and unacceptable. But Assad’s illegality does not excuse...

Obama’s Bulwark against Torture: Will It Stop Trump?

Just after President Trump’s Inauguration, a draft of an executive order was leaked which indicated his intent to seek a formal review on whether...

UK jail to get first of its kind ‘extremists only’ block – report

In an apparent first of its kind attempt, the UK is planning to move convicted...

What He Could Do

What we are witnessing now is the birth of a new political order, and the more frantic a handful of media elites become, the...

“Decolonizing the Mind”: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam

When Terry Holdbrooks Jr., converted to Islam in 2003, he was inundated with death threats and labeled a ‘race traitor.’ If a religious conversion ever...

The Political Economy of ‘Moral Authority’

In her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last year (7/28/16), Hillary Clinton forcefully rebutted President Donald J. Trump’s call to “make America...

‘No to racism’: around 30K take part in London march against discrimination (VIDEO)

Published time: 19 Mar, 2017 07:34 Around 30,000 people took to the streets of London on...

‘Misguided’ Obama counter-extremism program ‘almost exclusively’ targeted Muslims – report

A program introduced by the Obama administration to deal with radicalization “almost exclusively” targeted Muslims, a...

DOJ Docs Raise Questions About Gorsuch's Views on Torture and Executive Power

With just days until Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a new trove of documents is raising additional...

US Senate approves Coats for director of national intelligence

Published time: 15 Mar, 2017 18:12Edited time: 15 Mar, 2017 18:27 Dan Coats has been confirmed as...

British medical students killed in Iraq after joining ISIS

Two British medical students who left their university in Sudan to work as doctors for...

Trump’s DNI pick takes hard line on Russia, Gitmo & snooping

Former Senator Dan Coats (R-Indiana), nominated by President Donald Trump to be director of national intelligence, wants to keep the detention camp in Guantanamo...

British ISIS suicide bomber was ex-Gitmo detainee who won £1mn compensation

Suicide bomber Abu-Zakariya al-Britani detonated a car bomb outside an Iraqi military base southwest of Mosul, 12 years after winning £1 million ($1.25 million)...

British suicide bomber ‘wasn’t being monitored’ because Theresa May ‘downgraded surveillance’

While serving as home secretary, Prime Minister Theresa May downgraded the surveillance of an extremist...

British ISIS suicide bomber linked to Manchester jihadist network

Published time: 24 Feb, 2017 11:16Edited time: 25 Feb, 2017 13:45 Suicide bomber and former Guantanamo...

Border-shooting case could have implications for drone victims, Supreme Court says

Supreme Court justices are likely split over a case in which a US border agent killed...
video

Video: Gitmo Alive: Trump has no plans to close notorious prison

The Trump administration is reportedly drawing up an executive order, which could see Islamic State terrorists being housed in Guantanamo Bay prison. Via Youtube

9/11 ‘mastermind’ says attacks were America’s fault

The alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks has reportedly said that 9/11 was a result of hawkish US foreign policy and...

Gitmo 2.0 Called 'Disaster': Draft Executive Order Reveals Trump Plan to Expand Offshore Prison

A draft executive order reported to be circulating within the Trump White House calls for keeping the notorious Guantánamo Bay prison open and allowing...

US administration backs away from plan to reopen CIA ‘black sites’ – media

The Trump administration will not proceed with plans to reopen the infamous CIA prisons to interrogate...

‘El Chapo’ facing life in ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’ as legal journey begins

Notorious drug kingpin ‘El Chapo’ appeared in a federal court in Brooklyn facing 17 charges relating...

Draft executive order on CIA ‘black sites’ renews questions about Trump’s torture policy

President Donald Trump’s openness to waterboarding and torture of terrorist suspects could lead to the review and ultimate reopening of CIA interrogation programs used...

Why Did War Criminal Obama Grant Clemency to Manning?

The bona fide war criminal Barack Obama commuted the unjust prison sentence of political prisoner and courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning (along with Oscar López...

From winning to inauguration: Trump's top ten attention grabbers

Donald Trump hasn’t shied away from controversy since winning in November. Ahead of his inauguration as...

Trump’s personality will have serious impact on foreign policy, warns Chatham House

Donald Trump’s “brash, thin-skinned” personality is likely to have serious impacts on allies and enemies...

The long goodbye: As Trump inauguration approaches, Obama seeks to save legacy

With the clock running out on his presidency, Barack Obama is taking some last-minute steps to...

Obama’s Failed Presidency

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org I’m a former lifelong Democrat, stating here a clear and incontestable fact: Barack Obama is a failed President. It’s true...
video

Video: Several anti-Gitmo protesters arrested in Washington as notorious prison turns 15

Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp opened its cells to terrorist suspects 15 years ago, on January 11, 2002. Torture, unlawful detention, and hunger strikes have...

Sleep deprivation, scaring with dogs, force feeding: Torture allegations as Gitmo turns 15

Exactly 15 years ago, the first inmates were transferred to the infamous Guantanamo prison, with the...

‘We’re Seeing the Result of a 40-Year Assault on the Liberal Mainstream’ – CounterSpin...

Janine Jackson interviewed Ellen Schrecker about the New McCarthyism for the January 6, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. Ellen Schrecker:...

Obama ‘actively considering’ commuting Chelsea Manning prison sentence – sources

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning is reportedly on President Barack Obama’s shortlist for commutation, sources have told NBC’s...

Trump Fear-Mongers on Gitmo as White House Readies for Additional Transfers

On the same day the White House confirmed plans to transfer more Guantánamo Bay detainees before President Barack Obama leaves office later this month,...

Trump gouges Obama on Gitmo as final detainee transfers announced

As President Barack Obama prepares to release 19 more Guantanamo detainees, President-elect Donald Trump tweets his disapproval. Having vowed to “load it up with...

Are Governments Attempting to Curtail Dissent of Seniors by Stopping Social Security Checks?

Governments go to pretty low tricks to silent dissent -- curtailing ones travel to neighboring countries and now stopping Social Security checks. First, in 2005...

Cyber command, anti-US propaganda, troop increases: Obama signs defense spending bill into law

With a deadline fast approaching, President Barack Obama signed the latest National Defense Authorization Act to...

Final Gitmo transfers under Obama will leave Trump with over 40 detainees

President Barack Obama will pass on at least 41 of the remaining 59 prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to President-elect Donald Trump,...

‘Allahu Akbar’ shouts heard at Syria solidarity protest in London

Hundreds of people attending a demonstration outside the Syrian embassy in London chanted “Allahu Akbar”...

The Structural Legacy of Capitalist Democracies

In recent times, and probably since the establishment of universal voting, presidents-elect have systematically violated or broken their promises to their supporters. ...

NPR Guest Warns Against Living Wages With Fantasies of $16 Apples

Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff thinks we need to keep exploiting immigrant labor. To comment on Donald Trump’s naming retired Marine Gen. John Kelly...

So This Is What a National Nervous Breakdown Looks Like?

Nobody Won the 2016 Election Elections have consequences, as the cliché goes, and those consequences are unpredictable, perhaps never more unpredictable than when no one...

'Corbyn For PM' single goes for top spot at Christmas (VIDEO)

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has been called many things in his political career, but...

Requiem for the Obama Administration, Trump Edition

The problems many are now predicting under the Trump administration did not start on November 8. The near-unrestrained executive power claimed by the Obama...

Nine Things President Obama Could Do Before Leaving Office to Reveal the Nature of...

President Obama walks along the colonnade from the residence to the Oval Office at the White House on Election Day in Washington, November 8,...

House passes intelligence bill aimed at thwarting Russia's 'influence over people & govts'

The House of Representatives has passed an intelligence bill aimed at tackling what Washington claims is...
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Video: Saudi rehab centre used to recruit & train jihadists – Gitmo prisoner

Saudi Arabia is using one of its 'terrorist rehab' centres to recruit and train jihadists, according to testimony from a prisoner at Guantanamo. A...

Military draft for women among dropped ideas in compromise 2017 defense bill

Congress has managed to finalize a $618.7 billion defense bill for the 2017 fiscal year, boosting it with an extra $3.2 billion for manpower,...

25 Things Trump Shouldn’t Do

Liberals and progressives, if they were honest, would say that Donald Trump should resign or jump off Trump Tower. Conservatives and libertarians, even if...

Trump’s UN pick: Where Nikki Haley stands on Middle East, other foreign policy issues

President-elect Donald Trump has offered the post of US ambassador to the United Nations to Governor...

Obama says he ‘can’t pardon’ Snowden unless whistleblower goes to court

President Obama gave an interview to German media outlets Spiegel and ARD during his visit to...

Trump cabinet picks send Twitter into meltdown

Critics of President-elect Donald Trump reacted to his newest Cabinet picks with the same outrage they expressed over his choice of chief strategist. His...

Gambling on the Unknowable Trump

Donald Trump’s victory may have shaken up the System but it also revealed a recklessness (or a desperation) among Americans...

No Matter Who’s Prez

By Laurence M. Vance November 2, 2016 Although the Libertarian Party has virtually no chance of winning any presidential election, the presidential campaign of any...

How Washington Turned Ireland Into an International Scofflaw

Roger Cole of PANA, Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh, and Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch, a group that monitors U.S. military flights in and out...

Abducted, Tortured, Held 14 Years Without Trial, ‘Gitmo Diary’ Author Finally Free

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who documented his torture and imprisonment in the 2015 Guantánamo Diary, on Monday was finally returned home to his native Mauritania. Upon...

Surviving Torture in a CIA Secret Prison: Khaled al-Sharif of Libya Recounts Horrors

A shocking new report details how harsh American interrogation methods have led to devastating psychiatric disorders in former prisoners. The New York...

Gitmo detainee granted rectal surgery after CIA ‘torture by sodomy’

Charged in connection with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Guantanamo detainee Mustafa al-Hawsawi will reportedly miss a pretrial hearing Friday in order to “rest up”...

How the NY Times Commits Its Crimes

…pretends to do investigative reporting. Before the United States permitted a terrifying way of interrogating prisoners, government lawyers and intelligence officials assured themselves of one...

Promises Not Kept

On his second day in office as president of the United States, Barack Obama issued an executive order to make good on his promise...

British companies rake in billions from Pentagon military contracts

UK defense firms have earned more than £47 billion ($60 billion) from US military contracts...

Assange: WikiLeaks will publish all US election docs by Nov. 8

WikiLeaks will release documents on the US presidential elections before November 8, the group’s founder, Julian...
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Video: Lawyer for Gitmo Prisoners Released to Uruguay: They Haven’t Seen Their Families in...

http://democracynow.org - We speak with a lawyer who helped to represent the six Guantánamo prisoners who the U.S. government released to Uruguay, ... Via Youtube
video

Video: Exclusive Interview with Ex-Gitmo Prisoner on Hunger Strike in Uruguay & Lawyer Who...

http://democracynow.org - We go to Uruguay for an exclusive interview with former Guantanamo prisoner Jihad Abu Wa'el Dhiab as he continues a hunger strike...
video

Video: Exclusive: Ex-Gitmo Prisoner Dhiab Awakes from Coma in Uruguay

http://democracynow.org - And in Uruguay, former Guantánamo prisoner Abu Wa'el Dhiab has awoken from a coma amid an ongoing hunger strike demanding ... Via Youtube

CIA & White House tried to suppress Senate torture probe – report

A Senate report into the CIA’s use of torture and its cover-up was heavily redacted and...

UK police will soon start bagging people’s heads during arrests

Metropolitan Police officers will soon be able to use specially designed bags, known as spit hoods, to cover suspects’ heads during arrests and in...

Abu Zubaydah: Torture’s ‘Poster Child’

Exclusive: The ugly legacy of George W. Bush’s torture program continues to haunt U.S. foreign policy as the “poster child”...

Trump pledges to ‘track’ all immigrants to prevent visa overstays

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump promised to introduce a tracking system for all immigrants in...

CIA torture prisoner makes case for Gitmo release in first public appearance in 14...

A Guantanamo detainee, who the CIA tortured as a suspected top leader of Al-Qaeda but never officially charged, has made his case for release....

Declassified justice: Gitmo lawyer explains CIA censorship of clients

President Barack Obama’s recent release of 15 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay marked the largest single transfer...

10 Orwellian Moments

The Intercept recently began releasing batches of top secret internal newsletters from the most important division of the NSA, the Signals Intelligence Directorate, or...

ISIS, immigration and ideology: Trump speaks on foreign policy

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is announcing his foreign policy vision in a speech in Youngstown,...

Pentagon releases report on 107 Gitmo detainees

A Republican US senator has compelled the Department of Defense to release a comprehensive, unclassified report...

McCain’s comments may compromise Bergdahl charges

Comments made by Senator John McCain about Bowe Bergdahl could be grounds to throw out the...

The Scourge of Youth Detention

What we’re changing is a culture in an organisation within the youth detention system and I think we’ve come a long way in that...

Defeating Islamic Terrorism. Here’s How…

As terrorism struck again in Nice and Germany and… Donald Trump outlined his policy against Islamic State: as president, he will seek a full...

British ISIS hostage John Cantlie appears thinner with longer hair in new propaganda video

Kidnapped British journalist John Cantlie has appeared in a new Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL)...

The Terror Suspect Who Had Nothing to Give

"I would be strapped to a board by my arms and legs and by my waist (which was very painful because of...

Atoning for Washington’s ‘Mass Kidnapping’ in the Indian Ocean

United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency personnel arrive, 1971. (Photo: Kirby Crawford / Wikipedia) One week after British voters decided to exit the European...

British govt urged to come clean on ‘links to torture’ after Iraq invasion

“Faulty evidence” extracted by torture and used to justify the US and UK invasion of...

The US Needs a New Peace Movement — No Matter Who Wins in November

Activists protest in a demonstration against the war in Iraq in San Francisco, California, on March 20, 2003. (Photo: Rom) "He who laughsHas...

CIA psychologists admit creating post-9/11 ‘torture’ practice for $81mn

Two former CIA psychologists have partially admitted to having advised torture and inhumane treatment for detainees,...

The Long-Hidden Saudi 9/11 Connection

Almost 15 years ago, warnings of an Al Qaeda attack were flashing red amid evidence of Saudi complicity, but George W. Bush...

Counting the Crimes of the War on Terror

Nuna Mas, or “Never Again”: The official Argentine report on the crimes of the country’s “dirty war.” (Photo: Arte es disfrutar / Flickr) “The cold was terrible...

CIA forced to release post-9/11 torture evidence, unclear if arrests will follow

Disturbing details of "illegal" torture techniques used by the US government after the 9/11 attacks were...

Obama no longer seeking to shutter Gitmo: Report

US President Barack Obama’s administration no longer deems viable using an executive order to close down the controversial the Guantanamo Bay military prison in...

Orlando shooter Omar Mateen not first G4S employee to go on deadly rampage

Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen is not the first employee of British security giant G4S...

US approves airlines to fly to Cuba

Six airlines received approval from the US Department of Transportation to begin the first scheduled flights...

‘I just do my job’: Gitmo guards show RT around the indefinite detention camp...

The new RT special GTMO 2016 offers a kaleidoscope view of the Guantanamo Bay military prison...

Got Milked? US ‘Defense’ Spending 2017

“The White House said Tuesday that President Barack Obama will veto the Senate’s version of the annual defense policy bill,” Richard Lardner of...

Scandal-ridden security giant G4S charged with guarding nation’s cash at Royal Mint

Britain’s Fort Knox will be guarded by the firm that mishandled security at the 2012...

GTMO 2016: Special report on the future of the detainment camp

Closing the Guantanamo Bay prison has long been a point of contention in the US, with...

Secrecy abounds over 12 Gitmo detainees, attacks on Americans

Since a Pentagon official reported two months ago that some dozen former Guantánamo detainees were responsible...

Bollywood-boarding: UK special forces in Libya ‘torture’ ISIS with Indian pop tunes

UK special forces operating in Libya are blasting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) positions with...

‘Mental torture’: Gitmo inmate testifies against guards at US prison camp

A Somali detainee at Guantánamo Bay has accused guards at the high-security Camp 7 of using...

Preparing for the Next Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend was replete with parades, American flags, and tributes to our war dead, but little reflection on war, particularly the...

Slush funds, secrets and splurges: How Pentagon budgets keep getting bigger

Despite unprecedented levels of funding, the US Department of Defense says it is not getting enough...

A Fond Farewell to New York’s Peace Pentagon

The Peace Pentagon, at 339 Lafayette Street, in January 1991, during the Gulf War. (WNV / Ed Hedemann) Nearly 20 years ago, as I left...

‘Has Our Country Gone Just Mad?’

CounterSpin re-aired a classic interview with Michael Ratner on the May 20, 2016, episode.   Michael Ratner: “Has it just gone mad, that we can look at pictures...

CIA-tortured Zubaydah called to testify against Gitmo harsh techniques

Captured and tortured by the CIA after 9/11, then locked up in Guantanamo Bay without charges,...

Declassified memo shows multiple Saudi connections to 9/11 plotters

Recently declassified information that a flight certificate of an Al Qaeda operative linked to 9/11 turned up in an envelope from the Saudi...

Political prisoner Chelsea Manning appeals ‘excessive’ 35yr whistleblowing sentence

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning is appealing her conviction under the Espionage Act for releasing more than 700,000...

Can the Greens Deliver at Last?

Natalie Bennett recently announced she will not be standing for re-election as leader of Britain’s Green Party. I’m pleased about that. She should have...

Historical Amnesia and the Destruction of the Senate Torture Report

When Winston Smith thinks he has finally made contact with the underground movement he has always hoped existed, in George Orwell’s 1984,...
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Video: NSA involved in Gitmo interrogations – new Snowden leak

The NSA participated in Guantanamo Bay interrogations, newly released leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden show. A decade's worth of NSA newsletters ... Via Youtube

Vox’s CIA-Backed ‘Democracy’ Standard Is OK With Slavery and Women Not Voting

Defining democracy is a notoriously difficult thing, but much is revealed by how media outlets choose to do so. One popular metric is called “Polity...

Michael Ratner Is Gone; You're Still Here

Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rig