The Guantanamo Hunger Strike Gets Attention....And More Dangerous
“I scare myself when I look in the mirror. Let them kill us as we have nothing to lose. We died when Obama indefinitely detained us. Respect us or kill us. It is your choice. The US must take off its mask and kill us.”
~ Faiz al-Kandari
by Debra Sweet On day 50 of the continuing hunger strike at Guantanamo this week over 30 of the 166 prisoners were confirmed on strike, possibly 100-130 (listen to Andy Worthington interviewed by Peter Collins). At least eleven are being force fed. The physical condition of the inmates is dire. On Monday the International Red Cross arrived.
A Yemeni prisoner filed complaints that they are being denied access to clean drinking water and are being kept in freezing temperatures. Mari Newman, a human rights lawyer, “The reality is that these men are slowly withering away and we as a country need to take immediate action.”
White House spokesman Joshua Earnest stated yesterday that “the White House and the President’s team is closely monitoring the hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay… I can tell you that the administration remains committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.” But the reality is it is Obama who is keeping it open. The reality is that Obama authorized the indefinite detention of 48 of the men in Guantanamo. It is Obama that is keeping almost everyone there without trial or charge. The one person in the State Dept. who was tasked with closing Guantanamo has had his office closed down. The reality is that the majority of those cleared for release have been banned to return home by Obama because of their nation of origin, Yemen.
In fact while these men are literally hunger striking for justice the White House announced a new $50 million “special detention facility” at Guantanamo. Does this seem like a man committed to shutting down Guantanamo? Obama cannot be labeled the “reluctant” warden of this concentration camp. The question is whether it's becoming a death camp.
Carlos Warner, an attorney for 11 detainees, told CNN that “It leaves them with the prospect of the only way we leave Guantanamo is death. And unfortunately, I think the men are ready to embrace this. And I don't see the military backing off.”
Watch the video.
►Johina Aamer, Guantanamo prisoner Shaker Aamer's 15 yr. old daughter wrote The Guantanamo Diet appealing to the world to pay attention to what really matters.
Watch an interview with a representative of the Red Cross on RT.com: Gitmo ‘tensions and anguish’ related to the lack of ‘clear legal framework’
Watch a discussion with Guantanamo attorney Pardiss Kebraei, Carol Rosenberg and others on the Huffington Post.
Flier text as follows:
Support the Prisoners Hunger Strike! Close Guantanamo Now!
In 2002, the Bush regime set up a primitive prison camp at a U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Over six years they held 776 men there without charges, using what they called “enhanced interrogation” and the rest of the world calls “torture.” Bush called these men “the worst of the worst,” though most had been turned in for $5,000 cash bounties the U.S. paid, and had no connection to attacks on the U.S. An international outcry brought about the release of more than 500 of the prisoners.
The word “Guantanamo” came to mean torture & injustice. One of Obama’s first acts as president in 2008 was an order to close Guantanamo within one year, leading most people to think the terrible violation of peoples’ rights by indefinite detention without trial is over. But it isn’t.
166 men remain imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, 157 haven't been charged and 86 have been cleared for release.
Of prisoners at Guantanamo, the majority were cleared for release years ago, most by the Bush administration. Obama has the power to release them, but has not. Congress passed laws saying the prison can’t be closed; federal courts have blocked prisoners’ rights to sue, and denied their petitions for habeas corpus. The few that have been charged will not be tried because the scandalous degree of abuse and torture they suffered at government hands would be revealed. Men have gotten off the island in the last two years only by dying.
In the last few months, the Obama administration began seizing family letters and photos — often the only connection to people they love since no one but lawyers have been allowed to see some of these prisoners for more than 11 years. They are desperately trying to get the world’s attention by refusing to eat, some of them since early February 2013.
As of March 28, the U.S. military reports 19% on strike, but lawyers say there are many more. Detainees have reported the prison temperature has been lowed to frigid levels, and force-feedings have started for at least 11 men.
It’s only us — people in this country with a conscience, who care about humanity everywhere — who can raise public outcry needed to force our government to allow those men cleared for release to leave, give others a chance to answer charges, and close the illegitimate prison camp.