Archive for March, 2013

Hunger Strike at Guantanamo: I Cry Out Against US torture and imprisonment without charge

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Once again, many of the remaining prisoners at Guantanamo are on hunger strike.  Having been imprisoned for over eleven years without trial and tortured, with evidence of continuing mistreatment at the torture center in Guantanamo Bay, the only way they have to protest is to refuse food.  In prison, without means of any other kind, they have banded together again to resist in the only way they can.

Here is a link to an article on Andy Worthington’s website and here is another to an article by Lauren McCauley.

Andy Worthington quotes from the letter written by lawyers for the prisoners to the officials in charge  of the prison, which states, “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.”   A copy of that letter is available here.

Another section of the lawyers’ letter says:

“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 the their health will only worsen unless and until the hunger strike ends, which requires taking immediate steps to address the reasons for their protest.”

Being moved to Camp V for observation is a very bad sign.  It was there that Adnan Latif was “found dead in his cell” though there is supposed to be constant monitoring of the prisoners there.

Let us not forget that the vast majority of the men there have done no harm to anyone, much less anyone in the US.  What would it be like to be rounded up, tortured and imprisoned without charge for eleven years? Many of these men have been cleared for release by various US authorities over the years.  Andy says only thirty-eight of them might be dangerous men.  Ramzi Kassem, the CUNY law professor who represents some of the prisoners and signed the letter cited and linked above, says that the US should either charge all of them or release them.  The US government has said that there is not sufficient evidence to charge them.  It is clear then that the prisoners should be set free.

I for one cry out for their release.  I cry out for the release of all prisoners in US black sites around the world.  I cry out, as well, for indictments of US officials who authorized this and those who continue to imprison the men at Guantanamo and imprison and torture others around the world.

A joint investigation by the Guardian and the BBC led to a documentary released earlier this month that makes the connections between the US military and high government officials with torture in Iraq.  You can see it and read about it here.  It is clear that torture and indefinite imprisonment without charge are now standard US policy.   US tax payers’ money pays these perpetrators of war crimes while they are in office or in the military and the US government protects them when they retire, resign, or complete terms of office.  I cry out against that as well.