Tag Archives: Guantanamo

Take Guantanamo Inmates Says UN

Manfred Nowak, the UN’s torture investigator, insisted on Monday that many being held in Guantanamo were there simply because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and had never been guilty of any crime other than being entrapped in the Bush mania to up figures on capturing “terrorists.” Nowak urged nations to put aide their fears and accept those coming out of the infamous American prison in Cuba. “Many (detainees) were clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time, and simply fell into the hands of Pakistani bounty hunters paid by the Americans.” Australia has already refused to take any of the men leaving the prison and according to Nowak this is unfair to those who are innocent of any crime. He even pressed his own native Austria to take up to 250 former prisoners.

The tragedy of Guantanamo prison is that those who created this monstrosity will never be punished. They will live out their lives in peace while those who endured their brutality must spend years trying to explain how an innocent man could wind up in a prison. Perhaps, the best thing any of these men can say is simply, “I am a victim of George Bush’s illegal behavior, are you?”

“Worst Place In The World”-Where?

An Algerian man who was held at Guantanamo prison for years just arrived in his adoptive country of Bosnia declaring that Guantanamo was the worst prison in the world. “For almost seven years, I was at the end of the world, at the worse place in the world.”Perhaps, the worst aspect of his imprisonment is failure on the part of the Bush administration to present any evidence Mustafa Ait Idir has committed any act of terrorism except to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. “It would have been hard even if I had done something wrong but it is much harder(when one is innocent.)” He was released on order of a federal judge. It took a judge to admit the United States had been wrong to place innocent people in jail, but, George Bush who could not recall any mistake he ever had made, would be the last person to admit an error.

The long nightmare of Guantanamo will soon be over. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is preparing to close down the prison and has the enthusiastic support of Barack Obama. However, it is not morally correct that the men who created this monstrosity which is a blot on the reputation of America are allowed to go free. Perhaps, the prison should be kept open another year or so and Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld be placed in it, under the same conditions faced by prisoners, so they can first hand experience what they did.

Since Dick Cheney does not consider waterboarding to be torture a round or two of it would help to allow the vice president to reflect.

Obama Vows End Guantanamo Torture, Exit Iraq!

President elect Barack Obama told a 60 Minute audience he will close down the infamous Guantanamo prison and make certain America ceases using any form of torture in the interrogation or treatment of prisoners. He referred to the blot on American principles that was implemented by the trio of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld as a thing of the past. “I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture. And I’m going to make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.” It is still uncertain how prisoners from Guantanamo will be treated but most probably some will be returned to their nations while others will stand trial in civil courts in America.

Obama said the US economy was his highest priority along with withdrawing US forces from Iraq as soon as possible. “I will call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, my national security apparatus, and we will start executing a plan that draws down our troops” from Iraq.

We now live in an America which has returned to its principles of morality and democracy. It is a happy day for all Americans and the world.

Investigate No Evil Says Pentagon

The Pentagon once again has turned down requests from lawyers defending the treatment of Omar Khadr, a Canadian boy, who was accused of engaging in terrorism in Afghanistan. Khadr’s lawyers insist there is sufficient evidence their client was suffocated, physically assaulted, denied pain medication, threatened with rape and forced to stand for hours with his hands handcuffed to the top of a cell. Kahdr was wounded in Afghanistan and was brought to the interrogation room even while still recovering from his wounds. Navy Commander William Kuebler, who has been defending Khadr, claims initial findings about treatment of Khadr support his contention that torture occurred.

The Pentagon denied that any mistreatment took place and insists the entire matter has been “thoroughly investigated.” Kuebler believes the Pentagon is engaging in a whitewash and refusing to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence of torture and abuse inflicted on a boy by American military interrogators.

Bid To Dismiss Charges Against Omar Khadr Fails

Lawyers for Guantanamo prisoner Omar Khadr lost their bid to have charges against him dropped due to unlawful procedures surrounding the case. The military judge presiding over the case of a Canadian boy decided that senior official General Thomas Hartmann did not improperly influence military prosecutors who were handling the case. Two judges had already dismissed the general from other cases due to his conduct. At the pre-trial hearing for Khadr last month, Hartmann was described as overbearing and tactless and alleged to have over-stepped his role as legal advisor and became instead the “defacto chief prosecutor.” However, Col. Patrick Parrish ruled that Hartmann could not provide any legal advice because there was feeling he was not impartial.

Khadr is charged with a war crime when as a 16 year old boy he supposedly was responsible for the death of an American soldier. The case has become controversial because of numerous allegations that Khadr was tortured and that his confession was obtained due to coercion.

Democracy Triumphs – Bush Loses!

British judges charged that security services colluded in the unlawful detention and facilitated the interrogation of a UK resident detained in Pakistan six years ago. The high court ordered the foreign secretary to hand over to Binyan Mohamed’s legal team secret information that could support his case that he was tortured in Pakistan and Morocco before being sent to Guantanamo Bay prison. Lord Justice Thomas and Mr. Justice Lloyd Jones said the British security service “facilitated interviews by or on behalf of the United States incommunicado and without access to a lawyer in Pakistan” in 2002. The detention was unlawful under Pakistani law. The court noted “without that information BM(Mohamed) will not be able to put forward a defence to the very serious charges he faces, given the confessions made by him in Bagram and Guantanamo Bay in 2004.”

Perhaps, the long nightmare of Bush denial of fundamental rights to an accused person is finally drawing to an end. As the judges noted, “it is a long standing principle of the common law that confessions obtained under torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment cannot be used in evidence in trial.” It is time to put an end to government excuses they have unlimited power due to needs of “national security.” The most important national security is maintaining our historic rights as free people.

Reality Of Guantanamo– It’s Torture!

David Remes, an American lawyer who represents 15 Yemeni detainees who are being held in Guantanamo Prison, attempted to convey to a group of journalists the torture and degradation his clients daily experience as prisoners in the American prison. Remes even went so far as to pull down his pansts to show those assembled what type of humiliation and psychological torture prisoners face in Guantanamo. Khaid Al-Ansi, director of the National organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms(HOOD) said he would endeavor to depict the emotional events of a day in the life of a prisoner who is daily subjected to brutality and degradation.

David Remmes has been in constant contact with those serving the indefinite sentence to which they are subjected and described the situation of Mohammed Khusruf, in his sixties, who is a broken man and has been imprisoned because he was captured while working in a medical clinic in Afghanistan. Remmes admits some of his clients were members of the Taliban, but points out only 4% of those arrested were captured by Americans, the remainder were handed over by Afghan forces, certainly not the most reliable group in the world.

Among the stories told by Remmes were:

‘One of my clients told me his arm was chained for 24 hours a day and only freed when he was taken to interrogation where light was directed into his eyes of an on until he was unable to see. Following such torture, he was taken to Guantanamo.”

Most prisoners are placed in very small windowless cells where light is directed into their faces 24 hors a day. They are stripped searched and their private parts handled as part of the humiliation process.

Too many years have passed without people being allowed their day in court to hear charges raised against them so they might offer a defense. Guantanamo will live forever in American history as a monument of shame.

Omar Khadr Case Continues Upsetting Canada

Seven years have passed since American forces swept through Afghanistan and gathered up hundreds of prisoners who allegedly were members of the Taliban. The case of Omar Khadr continues haunting those who believe many innocent people were caught in the web of anger that surrounded the arrest of those individuals. Omar Khadr was a fifteen year-old boy who was encouraged by his al-Qaida loving father to fight in Afghanistan and since that time has been a prisoner in Guantanamo. Due to the brilliant work of his lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, the evidence is overwhelming that Khadr is innocent and the case against him lacks any substance. In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, many Canadian lawmakers are aking that Khadr be released. Members of parliament have even written Secretary of State Rice to gain her support for the young man’s release from prison.

His lawyer has developed a plan for the rehabilitation of Khadr since returning him to a family which supports al-Qaida would prove disastrous for his future life. Kuebler wants Omar to be placed into intensive counseling and to work with a local imam regarding his misconceptions about the Muslim religion. In a sense, the Khadr case may provide a model of how to release Guantanamo prison inmates by offering them emotional and religious support in the months following their entry into society.

There is no question some of those who were imprisoned were al-Qaida or Taliban supporters, but there are also dozens of innocent people caught in the anger of the moment who deserve an opportunity to lead productive lives. It all begins with fair trials in which evidence is presented to either prove the innocence or guilt of the accused.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Bush Prison Policies

The long American nightmare may well be ending as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the rights of detainees to be accorded historic rights of being able to confront charges of crimes rather than being kept in an indefinite state of limbo in which one is arrested but never told the reason. In 5-4 vote the Supreme Court rule detainees at the Guantanamo prison had a right to appeal to American civilian courts to challenge the fact they are being detained without informed of the reasons for detention . President Bush objected and hinted he might seek legislation to retain the prisoners in the current state of limbo. In a sharp dissent, Justice Scalia raised the spectre of Americans dying because the detainees would flock to battlefields and once again engage in warfare.

It is not surprising the two Bush appointees, Roberts and Alito voted against allowing rights to detainees. This fact is a blatant reason why Barack Obama must be elected president in the upcoming election.

Yemen Prisoners In Guatanamo Going Insane

Foprme Guantanamo Bay detainee, Sami Ali-Haji, claimed certain Yemeni inmates at the United States military prison in Cuba, have gone clinically insane because of “hallucinogenic pills” they were forced to take by guards. Ahmed Arman a lawyer with the human rights organization, the National Organization for defending rights and Freedom(HOOD), says “I have been told that Yemeni doctaor Ayman Badhrafi(still in cstody) became insane. Fuwaz Nouman, who recently came back to Yemen also suffers from serious psychological problems. Marc Falkoff, an American lawyer who represents many Yemeni detainee insists it is difficult to determine if somone suffers from a psychological disorder without an examination by a medical professional. However, the US military in the prison does not allow outside doctors to visit or treat prisoners.

Falkoff, says that “we lawyers have repeatedly sought permission from the military and from the judges overseeing our cases to allow us to bring a psychologist or psychiatrist with us to Guanatamo. In every instance, our requests have been denied.” Falkoff thinks a high number of prisoners are suffering from mental illness due to exteme isolation and has been told by the miltiary that about 10% of prisoners are suffering from mental illness.

Al-Haji worked as a cameraman for Al-Jazeera when captured in 2001 on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was detained in the Guananamo facility for seven years without any clear charges and then set free in May. he was not given an explanation for his detainment nor an apology. Yemeni detainees constitute almost half of prisoners in the prison. The American government has demanded promises from Yemen that returned prisoners would not be tortured. It is unclear whether the request means not tortured like prisoners are not tortured in Guantanamo or something else. The Yemen government insists it provided such assuarances.