Prisoners at the offshore prison in Cuba are continuing their hunger strike. It has now entered its fifth week. While information coming from that offshore US prison is at the best of times sketchy, word has filtered out that some of the prisoners are being force fed to prevent their dying.
There have been objections to guards entering the cells and confiscating personal items and rudely handling the inmates religious books.
It is important to remember that these are not ordinary criminals. They have been arrested on the suspicion that they are terrorists who wish to do the US harm. To that end they have been kept in prison for a decade without charge and without rights. About half of the men being held have been cleared of suspicion that they are terrorists but they still are kept in cells and have no date of release to look forward to. “That context where we have individuals incarcerated, isolated from each other, and they don’t know if they are going to get out tomorrow or never. That sets off a circumstance for extreme psychological stress,” Dr. Mark Mason, an anthropologist who studies the cultural factors behind human suffering
told RT.” RT
In addition to overt harassment of the men, news has leaked out of a listening device having been placed in a room where inmates and their lawyers have had what is supposed to be confidential conversations.
Let me now take you on a mind journey. Suppose your father who ran a small shop was swept up in the fever to catch terrorists. His neighbour turned him in for the reward money. Your father disappeared and was presumed dead. Your mother was now a widow and had to marry your uncle to keep you and your siblings fed. She was wife number three and the other two hated her and beat her when they got the chance. Your uncle put you to work sifting for recyclables in the garbage dump. After three years of this your little sister now 12 years old was declared marriageable and sent off to live with an old man. Your eight year old brother had to beg in the streets and your seven year old sister would be bargained off soon as well. Tell me, if you were now 15 years old would you have an abiding hatred for the US of A? Could any reasonable person blame you?
A free people have the right to Habeas Corpus.
The notorious prison run by the US but located in Cuba has claimed another victim. Months after Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif died, his decomposing remains were returned to his family in Yemen. Adnan was scooped up in the far reaching net cast by the anti-terrorist squads eleven years ago. The person who alleged that Adnan was a threat received $5 000, a fortune in that poor country.
Adnan left behind a wife and a toddler eleven years ago when he was spirited to that black prison in Cuba. He was never charged with a crime, yet he served 11 years there. He never left alive. According to Cage Prisoners
, the circumstances surrounding his death are murky.
Officially, the verdict is that Adnan killed himself with a massive overdose of prescription drugs. Then the verdict came out that he died of acute pneumonia. Because months passed before Adnan’s body was returned to Yemen, the remains were so badly decomposed that no second autopsy was possible. “At first, the military medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Latif believed the Guantanamo prisoner's sudden death was the result of "acute pneumonia." Joint Task Force-Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) and SOUTHCOM officials reacted with surprise upon learning that the high-profile prisoner, who was found face down on the floor of his cell on the afternoon of September 8, had developed the respiratory condition”
Whether it was pneumonia or an overdose, this raises further questions about the circumstances of his death. How did he accrue and conceal a lethal amount of drugs when he was moved often, searched often and his cell was searched often? How did pneumonia go undetected when he had just been released from the medical section of the prison? How is it that he was found dead in his cell when guards are tasked with checking the prisoner every three minutes or less? Is it possible that he was murdered?
With the recent signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by President Obama, no one, whether living abroad or within the US, is safe from seizure and imprisonment without charge. The mere suspicion of terrorist activity or association with suspected terrorists can land you in a military prison. Ask yourself how you would cope if you were minding your own business and thugs grabbed you, kidnapped you, roughed you up and flew you out of your country to spend years in prison without charge. After 11 years would you be driven to kill yourself to end it? Would that be suicide or murder?
Ask yourself is America is still the home of the free?
US citizens protesting Gitmo's existence.
The black prison known as Gitmo marks its eleventh year of shameful existence. The prison, set up in Cuba by Americans after 9/11 and the hysteria that accompanied it has cast its dark shadow over the US democracy.
Men were rounded up in Afghanistan on suspicion that they were terrorists and sent to “black” prisons where normal human rights were ignored. Torture was called “enhanced interrogation”. Bounties were offered for those who turned in suspected militants and there was a brisk business for a while in turning in strangers to the US military in Afghanistan.
Some of those caught up in the fever to avenge the attack in New York were Uyghurs who were fleeing Chinese oppression in their homeland. After a stay at Guantanamo Bay, they were taken in by various countries as they could not be returned home. Others were by definition, child soldiers.
Unexplained deaths and implausible suicides have been reported.
The last prisoner was incarcerated there in 2008. 166 people remain. About half have been cleared of terrorist activities, but still they are held in the island prison with little hope of freedom.
When US President Obama first campaigned for the Oval Office he pledged to close Gitmo, yet it still stands as a symbol of oppression. “Indefinite detention without trial at Guantanamo is illegal, unsustainable, and against US national security interests, and it needs to end,” Prasow said. “But the administration should not continue to just blame Congress. President Obama should follow through on his earlier commitments and make the effort to overcome the transfer restrictions.” Human Rights Watch
Instead of acting on his campaign promise to close the prison, Obama has offered excuses as to why it must stay open. He has also signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act which suspends civil rights on suspicion of terrorist activity."In December 2011, President Obama signed the 2012 NDAA, codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. The NDAA's dangerous detention provisions would authorize the president — and all future presidents — to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally." ACLU
Child soldier, Omar Khadr, was repatriated to Canada ten years after being captured by American forces in Afghanistan and held in the notorious black prison in Cuba. Gitmo, as it came to be known, has had a dark reputation for abuse. Khadr is the last person from the western powers to be sent to his home country.
While the circumstances surrounding Khadr’s capture and whisked to Guantanamo prison are muddy and the evidence given against him changed later, one thing is without debate. Khadr was 15 years old when he was captured and charged with the death of a US medic during a firefight in Afghanistan. By the UN definition, he was a child soldier at the time. Canada is a signatory to the accord on child soldiers.
After eight years in Gitmo, Khadr confessed to the killing of the medic with the promise that he would be given a further eight years in prison and the chance of repatriation to Canada to serve out his time. His alternative, if he didn’t confess, was to spend life in prison. I don’t know about you, but given those circumstances, I would have confessed to the Earth being flat, or the moon being made out of green cheese and I did in fact see a cow jumping over it.
Both many Americans and our Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews, have referred to Khadr as a convicted criminal. It may be splitting hairs, but he was not convicted, he confessed. Both Americans and many Canadians conveniently ignored that the young man was a child soldier.
Perhaps much of the hostility and denial of justice in this case has been because of Khadr’s toxic family. His father was a fund raiser for Al Qaeda and was killed. His mother is outspoken about the Canadian way of life while accepting residence and medical care for her disabled son.
If Canadian citizens want to think of Canada as a just society, then we have to extend justice to those we don’t like equally to those we do. A child soldier from Somalia is no more worthy of our sympathy and rehabilitation than a child abused by his parents and turned into a willing killer.
It may be that Omar Khadr will not become a good Canadian citizen. After ten years in a black prison, he must harbour some resentment against his country that allowed him to remain there and delayed his repatriation. We can hope.
Ten years ago during the invasion of Afghanistan by US forces, a child soldier was apprehended. He was the only survivor of Afghani fighters . An American medic was killed in the firefight. That child soldier was Omar Khadr. He was 15 at the time. Those facts it seems that all can agree on.
What we can’t seem to agree on is whether Khadr threw the grenade that killed the American. The evidence that an adult who subsequently was killed was first blamed for the death. More than a year later the evidence changed and Khadr was blamed. After nine years in a “black prison” Khadr confessed in a military trial to all charges against him. He was promised one more year at the offshore prison of Guantanamo Bay and then he could be repatriated to Canada.
That year passed last November and he still is in Gitmo prison. Now the federal government seems to be using all its available tactics to stall his repatriation. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has asked for a psychiatrist report compiled two years ago. Others in the federal government are making noises that they were duped into agreeing to take Khadr back. He is a Canadian citizen and the last remaining detainee from the western world to be incarcerated in the US prison in Cuba.
While many have worked over the years to see justice done in the former child soldier’s case, he remains behind bars. Now Canadian senator Romeo Dallaire has taken action to spur his return to Canada. Dallaire is a retired brigadier-general who has taken up the cause of child soldiers and is circulating an on-line petition to prompt the Canadian government to fulfill their part of the deal which saw Khadr “confess” to all charges with the understanding that he would be repatriated. After only a few days, over 28 000 people have signed urging the federal government to bring him home to Canada.
A child soldier is a person under the age of 18 as defined by the UN.
During the fight in the compound in Afghanistan, Khadr was shot in the back and lost sight in one eye. He alleges torture during his incarceration. He has grown up in a “black prison”. He could very well be angry and resentful of the country that failed to lift a finger to repatriate and rehabilitate him.
It makes me wonder about the real issue here. Is the federal government seeking to punish Khadr for the actions of his hostile and toxic family? His father was a close companion to Osama Bin Laden. His mother is an outspoken enemy of Canada, except when she is claiming the benefits of Canadian citizenship. The Khadrs are an unlovable group.
Is the issue about child soldiers? Share the petition on Facebook and ask your friends to sign
From Child Soldier Initiative
"any person under 18 years of age who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force in any capacity, including but not limited to cooks, porters, messengers, and those accompanying such groups, other than purely as family members. It includes girls recruited for sexual purposes and forced marriage. It does not, therefore, only refer to a child who is carrying or has carried arms."
Long time prisoner at Gitmo prison, Majid Khan, has pleaded guilty to all charges against him. He has been held in the offshore American prison since 2003 and was considered a high value prisoner. In exchange for a promise that Khan will be released sometime, he has agreed to talk about all he knows about al-Qaeda operations. “Prosecutors said Khan plotted with the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to blow up fuel tanks in the US, to assassinate Pervez Musharraf, former Pakistani president, and to provide other assistance to al-Qaeda.” Al Jazeera
In spite of having confessed to crimes and agreeing to provide information about his and other’s terrorist activities, he will not know until 2016 what his prison sentence will be. It could range from a minimum of 19 years to 25. There is, of course, no guarantee that the American jailers will ever free Khan. Guantanamo is a “black” prison which means that inmates have no rights.
A Canadian, Omar Khadr, was captured after a firefight in Afghanistan when he was about 15. He spent years at the offshore prison in Cuba. He struck a deal to be released to a Canadian prison within a year if he would confess to killing an American soldier in Afghanistan. More than a year later he remains in Gitmo.
This January marks a ten year anniversary of Gitmo. There have been allegations of torture and murder of the unfortunates incarcerated there. Some people caught up in the anti-terrorism fervor that hit the US after 9/11 were ‘sold’ to the military for rewards and later found to have no connection at all to terrorist activity.
American president Obama campaigned on a platform that would close the offshore prison by 2010. Not only has Obama failed to close the facility, he has allowed the resumption of military tribunals. Obama has gone even further in signing a bill that exposes American citizens to seizure without warrants and suspends the rule of habeas corpus. The most recent example of creeping repression in the USA is the new bill that provides for the arrest of protesters if they demonstrate(peacefully) when a government official is present(whether they know it or not).
American citizens working and living within their own country are now subject to the National Defense Authorization Act(NDAA) which suspends their civil rights. I wonder how many shoppers at Walmart or dining at McDonalds are aware that they can now be ‘disappeared’ just like in those other totalitarian states. "No president," said the ACLU, "should have the power to declare the entire globe a war zone and then seize and detain civilian terrorism suspects anywhere in the world---including within the United States---and to hold them forever without charge or trial." Global Research