View Full Version : What Will it Take to Close Guantanamo??

05-15-2013, 09:49 PM
Will Obama close Guantanamo?

As hunger strike by 100 detainees reaches its third month, the US president returns to calls for prison's closure.

Inside Story Americas Last Modified: 03 May 2013 11:01

The closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre was a top priority for Barack Obama during his first term as the US president, but since he began his second term, Obama has barely spoken of Guantanamo.

The prison in Cuba was also left largely out of the public discourse in the United States. But a now three-month-long hunger strike by more than 100 detainees has changed that.

"The men using their peaceful and really the only form of protest that's left to them .... The men are in a state of desperation. The conditions are absolutely deplorable. Men have lost 30, 40 pounds. They're emaciated. They're dispirited ..."
Vincent Warren, Center for Constitutional Rights executive director

As the strike by inmates protesting their indefinite detention continues, the Pentagon has cleared the force feeding of 20 detainees, a move supported by Obama.
"I don't want these individuals to die. Obviously, the Pentagon is trying to manage the situation as best as they can," said Obama. "But I think all of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this?"

But the American Medical Association (AMA), the largest association of US physicians, has sent a letter to Chuck Hagel, US secretary of defense, protesting against the force feedings, arguing they violate medical ethics.
"The American Medical Association (AMA) noted in 2005 and 2009, when concerns arose about the treatment of hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay Base, that the forced feeding of detainees violates core ethical values of the medical profession. Every competent patient has the right to refuse medical intervention, including life-sustaining interventions," read the AMA letter.

"We urge you to ensure that this matter receives prompt and thorough attention to address any situation in which a physician may be asked to violate the ethical standards of his or her profession."

But one Pentagon spokesman told Carol Rosenberg, Miami Herald reporter, that it is "un-American" to let a detainee starve and that it "violates the very code of civilised peoples everywhere".

So as the crisis in Guantanamo intensifies, is it finally time for justice to be done?
Inside Story Americas, with presenter Shihab Rattansi, discusses with guests: Vincent Iacopino, senior medical advisor for Physicians for Human Rights; John Knefel, independent journalist; and Vincent Warren, Center for Constitutional Rights executive director.

"I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can't describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn't. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone."

Samir Naji al-Hasan Moqbel, a Guantanamo detainee



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05-16-2013, 01:44 AM
Unfortunately a new congress.

sister herb
05-16-2013, 07:42 AM
I think we need stronger and united Ummah, which could press USA with political and economy sanctions to release prisoners and close places like Guantanamo - but I think also that at these times getting new congress is much easier task.

Unfortunately to us as muslims. imsad

05-23-2013, 10:09 PM
SubhanAllah, has to be one of the most precious azaans in this world....

Morning Prayers at Guantanamo's Camp 5

On May 15, military officials at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility escorted visiting media to maximum security Camp 5, where non compliant prisoners are held, for a rare opportunity to observe the prisoners' morning prayer.

The visit took place amid a mass hunger strike that is now entering its fourth month and counts 103 prisoners taking part in the protest. Media arrived at the camp at 4:30 am and had to remain silent as the officer in charge of the camp did not want prisoners to know we were present. The prisoners did not leave their cells for prayer so we were unable to see them. What you are hearing is the leader's call to prayer being done from inside of his prison cell.

The closest we in the media came is when one prisoner stuck his arms through a bean hole to hand the guard something. The guards on the block are checking the prisoners cells every one to three minutes in accordance with their standard operating procedures

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05-29-2013, 12:55 PM
We don't need to close it. Just need to release the prisoners. Closing it will do nothing. Prisoners will be taken to some other prison. :/

05-30-2013, 12:29 AM
Originally Posted by Gator
Unfortunately a new congress.
Term limits! Starting now!

Ali Mujahidin
05-30-2013, 03:39 AM
Originally Posted by GuestFellow
We don't need to close it. Just need to release the prisoners. Closing it will do nothing. Prisoners will be taken to some other prison. :/
Yes, I think this is the right solution. It's not Guantanamo which needs to be closed. It's the prisoners which we want to be released. If necessary, set up a special court to handle all the cases, so that the guilty, if any, do not get released together with the innnocent.

05-30-2013, 09:12 PM
Guantanamo guard converts to Islam, demands release of detainees

Terry Holdbrooks was deployed to the Guantanamo Bay detention center to guard detainees. The Phoenix, Ariz., resident has become a devout Muslim and an unlikely advocate for the prisoners’ rights.

Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 5:51 PM

Terry Holdbrooks

Terry Holdbrooks converted to Islam in December 2003 after speaking with the prisoners he was guarding at Guantanamo Bay.

Terry Holdbrooks

Terry Holdbrooks self-published a book about his conversion to Islam and about the atrocities he witnessed as a guard at Guantanamo.

Death threats are just another part of life for Terry Holdbrooks Jr.
The ex-U.S. Army employee converted to Islam in 2003, inspired by the faith of the Guantanamo detainees he was charged with watching. Since then, he says he has lost his friends, received violent threats, and been labeled a “race traitor” online.

But he hasn’t gone quietly. The 29-year-old has done his fair share of media and has even signed on for a job as a speaker for the Muslim Legal Fund of America. Now the devout Muslim is racking up frequent flyer miles and touring the country with what he calls the “truth about Gitmo.”
“Gitmo was supposed to be a cushy deployment since we were just going to babysit detainees,” Holdbrooks said. “But it changed me.”

The Phoenix, Ariz., resident spent the year between 2003 and 2004 guarding U.S. military prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was often given the job of escorting detainees to interrogation rooms. He says he witnessed atrocities committed by his fellow American soldiers that he never thought were possible.

Speaking on the phone to the Daily News, Holdbrooks rattled off the grim list.
“I saw people put in stress positions for eight hours until they defecated themselves,” he said. “Then the guards would come in and emasculate them.”
He said he saw prisoners shackled to the ground with the air conditioner set high, then doused with cold water. He said that menstrual blood was smeared on their faces and that they were forced to hear the same music on repeat for hours.

Shane T. McCoy/Department of Defense via AP

Roughly 100 prisoners at the facility are reportedly on a hunger strike to protest their indefinite detentions.

“Gitmo is 100 percent antithetical to the basis of our legal system,” he said. “That’s not the America I signed up to defend.”
While preparing for deployment, Holdbrooks said the Army trained him to think of the prisoners as the “worst of the worst” and “lower than humans.”

“They said these were Al Quaida and Taliban, people who hate America and hate freedom,” Holdbrooks said.
But at least 86 of the 166 men currently held in the detention center have been cleared for release. Some have been held for years without formal charges. They are unable to transfer out because of restrictions in their home countries and laws passed by Congress, according to Human Rights Watch.
Despite the trying situations, Holdbrooks noticed that the men he talked to clung to their faith. He wondered how they could believe that there was a god who cared about them.

“I had all the freedom in the world,” he recalls. “But I was waking up unhappy while these men were in cages, smiling and praying five times a day.”
As a teenager, Holdbrooks had searched for truths in several different religions. He came to Guantanamo convinced that all monotheistic religions were evil.


Holdbrooks (not pictured) said he was often responsible for leading detainees to interrogation rooms.

But over the course of several months, as Holdbrooks started speaking to the detainees and reading the Quran, he began to find some truth in Islam.
“The Quran is the simplest book in the world to read. It doesn’t have magic. It doesn’t contradict itself,” Holdbrooks said. “It’s simply an instruction manual for living.”
The faith lives of the detainees seemed to be proof that the instruction manual could work.
Holdbrooks took the leap in December 2003. In the presence of the prisoners, he read out a statement of faith that confirmed him as a Muslim.
His life changed drastically when he came back to America. He said he spent years trying to drink away memories of Guantanamo. He was honorably discharged from the Army in October 2005 for “generalized personality disorder.”

Then, Holdbrooks decided to renew his commitment to Islam. He stopped drinking, smoking, and doing drugs. He put a stop to promiscuity and profanity. He found discipline in prayer.
And he started speaking out.
“Islam teaches you that if you see an injustice in the world, you should do anything within your power to stop it,” Holdbrooks said.


The Guantanamo Bay detention center is located on the southeastern coast of Cuba.

Wary of misinterpretation, Holdbrooks makes sure to speak to reporters and his lecture audiences with precision. He clarifies everything he says, knowing all the while every public appearance will result in some sort of condemnation. Still, he pores through the hundreds of crude Internet comments to see if someone has heard his message.
“The people who write these negative comments think they’re Islamic scholars,” Holdbrooks said. “But they’re actually making massive generalized statements about something they have no idea about.”

His agenda isn’t to promote religion, he said. Instead, he’s thinking about the human rights of people like Shaker Aamer, a detainees who turned into his mentor. Aamer, the last British resident at Guantanamo, has been detained for 11 years. He has never been charged for a crime and has been cleared for release twice, the BBC reports.
Aamer is now one of the prisoners participating in a massive hunger strike behind bars.
“These things aren’t America,” Holdbrooks said. “It would be wrong if I sat by and let Gitmo continue to exist or let people think that Islam is America’s greatest enemy.”

Terry Holdbrooks wrote about his experiences at Guantanamo Bay in the self-published book "Traitor?"which was released this month.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...#ixzz2UoPRqr67


06-19-2013, 04:26 PM
US Military Admits Only 2.5 Percent of All Prisoners Ever Held at Guantánamo Will Be Tried


So it’s official, then. Eleven and a half years after the “war on terror” prison opened at Guantánamo, the maximum number of prisoners that the US military intends to prosecute, or has already prosecuted, is 20 — or just 2.5 percent of the 779 men held at the prison since it opened in January 2002.
The news was announced on Monday June 10 by Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantánamo, and it is a humiliating climbdown for the authorities.

When President Obama appointed an inter-agency task force to review the cases of the remaining Guantánamo prisoners, which issued its report in January 2010, the task force recommended that 36 of the remaining prisoners should be tried.

Just five of the 36 have since been to trial — one in the US, and four through plea deals in their military commissions at Guantánamo. Another man — Ali Hamza al-Bahlul — had already been tried and convicted, in the dying days of George W. Bush’s second term, and two others had been sent home after their trials — David Hicks after a plea deal in March 2007, and Salim Hamdan after a trial in July 2008 — making a total of 39 prosecutions, or intended prosecutions, after eleven and a half years of the prison’s existence. That was just 5 percent of the men held throughout Guantánamo’s history, but now that figure, which was, in itself, an extremely poor reflection on the efficacy of the prison and its relationship to any acceptable notions of justice, has been halved.

As Reuters described it, Brig. Gen. Martins explained that the number set by the task force was “ambitious” in light of two rulings last October and in January this year by judges in the court of appeals in Washington D.C.

The first ruling, which I covered in my article, “Conservative Judges Demolish the False Legitimacy of Guantánamo’s Terror Trials,” involved Salim Hamdan, one of several drivers for Osama bin Laden, who took the job because he needed work, and who received a five and a half year sentence for providing material support for terrorism.

As the judges stated, “When Hamdan committed the conduct in question, the international law of war proscribed a variety of war crimes, including forms of terrorism. At that time, however, the international law of war did not proscribe material support for terrorism as a war crime.”
Hamdan’s judge included time served since he was first charged when sentencing him, so he was freed just five months later, but in January this year another ruling by the appeal court further undermined the commissions.

This second ruling involved Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, a Yemeni who is still held, and who had made a promotional video for al-Qaeda. As noted above, al-Bahlul received a life sentence in November 2008, after a brief and one-sided trial in which he refused to mount a defense. He was convicted for providing material support for terrorism, conspiracy, and another charge, solicitation, but when the Court of Appeals vacated his conviction, the judges cited a supplemental brief filed by the government, advising the Court that it took the “position that Hamdan requires reversal of Bahlul’s convictions by military commission.”

That second ruling is currently on appeal with the Supreme Court, and while it is uncertain why the government appealed, having previously backed down, the Hamdan decision alone has led to what Reuters described as the “drastic scaling back of the Guantánamo prosecutions” announced by Brig. Gen. Martins.
As Reuters also described it, Brig. Gen. Martins said that the Hamdan ruling “dissuaded prosecutors from pursuing cases against other prisoners they had considered charging with providing material support to al-Qaeda.”

Brig. Gen. Martins also made it clear that the total of 20 men includes the seven men who have been tried or have reached plea deals in their military commissions, and six others facing pre-trial hearings this week and next. It also seems to include Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the only man to be transferred to the US mainland to face a trial, before Congress imposed restrictions preventing it, who was tried and convicted and received a life sentence in January 2011 for his role in the 1998 African Embassy bombings.

However, with the convictions of Salim Hamdan and Ali Hamza al-Bahlul overturned, even that figure of 20 looks optimistic, casting doubts on how secure the plea deals are in the cases of all the other men except Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (who, just to reiterate, was the only one successfully prosecuted in a federal court) — David Hicks and Ibrahim al-Qosi (both freed), Omar Khadr (repatriated to further imprisonment in Canada), and Noor Uthman Muhammed and Majid Khan, who are both still held.

Furthermore, whilst the six men facing pre-trial hearings are known — Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused of involvement with the 9/11 attacks, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of involvement with the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 — it is by no means certain that a case can be made against six others.

One already charged is Ahmed al-Darbi, a Saudi accused of plotting terrorist attacks, who was seized in Azerbaijan and tortured in CIA “black sites” before being sent to Guantánamo, and another, as Brig. Gen. Martins explained on Monday, is Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, one of the last prisoners to arrive at Guantánamo, in 2007.
According to the Pentagon’s press release, al-Hadi was “a senior member of al-Qaeda,” who “conspired with and led others in a series of perfidious attacks and related offenses in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2004.” The DoD also explained:

“Perfidy” is an offense triable by military commission in which those who are the targets of attack are killed, injured, or captured after the attackers have “invit[ed] the confidence or belief … that [the attackers] were entitled to … protection under the laws of war.”
Whether “perfidy” survives as a viable charge remains to be seen, although it is likely that it will take many years before any trial begins.
As for the others to be charged, Reuters noted that Brig. Gen. Martins “did not identify the handful of other prisoners he still wanted to charge but said he would concentrate on those linked to the most serious crimes.”

The Hamdan ruling ought to make sure that the various insignificant prisoners charged over the years — including a number of Afghans — are no longer charged, and it ought to increase the pressure on the Obama administration to make sure that these men receive reviews of their cases to explain why they should still be held.

These reviews are also needed for the 46 men who were designated for indefinite detention without charge or trial by President Obama, in an executive order in March 2011, following the recommendations made by his task force, who concluded that they were too dangerous to release, but that the information used to decide this could not be used in a trial. At the time, the President promised periodic reviews of these men’s cases, but those reviews have not yet materialized.

That means, of course, that the supposed evidence is fundamentally untrustworthy, produced through the use of torture or other forms of coercion, or consisting of intelligence reports regarded by the authorities as accurate, even though they may not be reliable at all. As this is a problem that permeates the Guantánamo prisoners’ cases like the poison it is, it is hard to see how Brig. Gen. Martins has located four other men to be tried, but there are 15 “high-value detainees” in Guantánamo, and while six of them are in pre-trial hearings, one has just been charged, one reached a plea deal last year, and one was convicted in New York, that does leave six to choose from.

The question, therefore, might be: whose torture is so severe that no trial is possible under any circumstances? I think that one answer is Abu Zubaydah, the guinea pig for the Bush administration’s entire “high-value detainee program” of “black sites” and torture, who was never part of al-Qaeda, as the Bush administration initially alleged, and whose health is so ruined by his torture that he regularly has seizures.

Then again, the authorities are not renowned for being able to ascertain the significance — or the lack of it — of the prisoners in their custody at Guantánamo, so it may be that even Abu Zubaydah will one day be wheeled out to face the shambolic proceedings that pass for trials at Guantánamo.
In the meantime, though, as 86 cleared prisoners at Guantánamo await release, I think it is important that, of the 80 other men still held, 65 others — the 46 designated for indefinite detention, plus 19 others recommended for trials, but who will not be tried, according to Brig. Gen. Martins — deserve to be told why they too should continue to be held.

: This article was written before the release, through FOIA legislation, of the full list of the Guantánamo Review Task Force’s decisions regarding who should be released, who should be held indefinitely , and who should be put forward for trials, in which Abu Zubaydah was indeed one of the 36 prisoners recommended for trials. This list was released on Monday June 17, and I will be covering it imminently.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here – or here for the US).

- See more at: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/201....VtK0OiA3.dpuf

06-21-2013, 02:23 PM
May Allah subhana wa'a ta'ala reward you for posting these articles. Ameen

06-24-2013, 10:16 AM

Another update on the situation

US steps up efforts to break Guantánamo hunger strike

Shaker Aamer, last British resident held in camp, tells of harsh regime to break strikers' resistance

Increasingly brutal tactics are being used in an attempt to break the hunger strike by detainees at Guantánamo Bay, according to fresh testimony from the last British resident still held in the camp.

Shaker Aamer claims that the US authorities are systematically making the regime more hardline to try to defuse the strike, which now involves almost two-thirds of the detainees. Techniques include making cells "freezing cold" to accentuate the discomfort of those on hunger strike and the introduction of "metal-tipped" feeding tubes, which Aamer said were forced into inmates' stomachs twice a day and caused detainees to vomit over themselves.

The 46-year-old from London tells of one detainee who was admitted to hospital 10 days ago after a nurse had pushed the tube into his lungs rather than his stomach, causing him later to cough up blood. Aamer also alleges that some nurses at Guantánamo Bay are refusing to wear their name tags in order to prevent detainees registering abuse complaints against staff.

Speaking last week from the camp in Cuba, exactly four months after he joined the hunger strike, Aamer said: "The administration is getting ever more angry and doing everything they can to break our hunger strike. Honestly, I wish I was dead."

The momentum behind efforts to release Aamer – who has spent more than 11 years without trial inside the camp – mounted sharply last week with David Cameron raising the issue directly with the US president, Barack Obama, during the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

On Wednesday, in a response to a parliamentary question about what had been discussed by the two leaders, Cameron revealed that his next step would be to write to Obama about the "specifics of the case and everything that we can do to expedite it". He added: "Clearly, President Obama wants to make progress on this issue and we should help him in every way that we can with respect to this individual."

The prime minister's comments are the most positive indication to date that Aamer will eventually be freed – he has been cleared for release twice since 2007.

Clive Stafford Smith, the director of the legal charity Reprieve, who passed a transcript of his conversation with Aamer to the Observer, said: "These gruesome new details show just how bad things are in Guantánamo. The whole thing is at breaking point. Clearly the US military is under enormous pressure and doing everything it can to hurt the men and break the hunger strike."

Although the military initially denied that there was a hunger strike inside Guantanámo, it now concedes that, of the 166 detainees, 104 are on hunger strike and 44 are being force-fed.

Aamer also documents his declining health and how the camp's regime deliberately inflates the weight of detainees on hunger strike. Aamer, who has permission to live in the UK indefinitely because his wife is a British national, said: "They said I was 160lb, but I was 154lb a few days ago. Unless there has been a miracle, my weight has not gone up without eating. But they cheat by adding shackles and sometimes even pressing down as they do it to add to your weight.

"If you have a medical standard for when a detainee should be force-fed for his own health, then force-feed him when it can still save his health. Don't wait until his body is so harmed by the lack of food that all you are protecting is the US military – from the harm of a prisoner dying for a principle."

Aamer describes his daily diet at Guantánamo as a cup of tea or two each day with a low-calorie sweetener and occasionally an Ocean Spray powder mix that has 10 calories – enough to give an energy boost.


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