Video Update: Save the Innocent, Close Gitmo
From Staff of Popular Resistance: Below is a new blog by veteran Elliott Adams who is fasting in solidarity with the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Elliott and the other veterans who are on hunger strike will bring their message to Washington, DC on Wednesday, June 26. Please join them. Meet them at St. Stephen’s Church at 9 am (1525 Newton St., NW) or meet them at Lafayette Square at 12 noon. Please spread the word. Let’s make a strong showing and close Gitmo now. No more excuses. Do it for Djamel and his wife and family. Thank you.
I have lost 30 pounds and it is not as if I started with any extra – I need to put another hole in my belt to keep my pants up. But I am feeling good. I am very pleased we got the article in the Huffington Post, it is a sign that this issue is gaining visibility. I am sorry two days have gone by and I have not written for the blog. But what ever I do my mind keeps going back to the prisoners in Guantanamo.
Born in 1967 he could be my son – tortured for 10 years by my government, 10 years when he was at the prime of life. I don’t know if the pain for me is greater thinking of this young man or thinking of the despotism of a government in my name. He keeps creeping into my mind. Djamal Ameziane came from a close family with 4 brothers and 4 sisters.
Djamal left his home, Algeria, to avoid persecution for his religion, lived in Austria and Canada working for years as a head chef and selling office supplies waiting for process of his immigration papers. After both countries denied him and fearing he would be deported to Algeria, he headed for Afghanistan thinking this is one country that would not persecute him for being a Muslim. Djamal is an accomplished young man, with a college degree and work experience managing public water systems, he speaks something like 4 languages. When the US started the war in Afghanistan he fled to Pakistan where he was captured in Pakistan and sold to the US for a $5000 bounty – what the US paid for any Pakistanis (Afghanis were worth $2000).
Then started his life of terror as he was shuffled to Guantanamo, and he has been a victim of the US since. I recall reading a deposition about one incident, he described being sprayed all over with pepper spray, then soaked with a hose to make the pepper burn more. But they also held the hose closely against his face between his nose and his mouth making him feel like he was drowning. Even today he gets chills thinking about it. The guards (US soldiers) were not done, they chained him and dumped him in an interrogation room, soaking wet with the air-conditioner blowing on him chained up unable to move for hours. What can be going through your mind if you are ripped from your effort to build a better life and suddenly are living in a torture chamber? Thinking of your wife, your mother an father, your brothers and sisters?
Imprisoned in 2002, he filed a “writ of Habeas Corpus” in 2008, asking our government to show they had any right to hold him, it got tied up in our court system. He filed a “motion for expedited judgment” in 2009 claiming our government had no case against him, that was denied. So his case went forward, later in 2009 the court put his trial on hold – indefinitely, because the court said he had been cleared for release. Meanwhile, the torture continued. He was cleared for release by the Bush administration in 2008, and again by the Obama administration in 2009. Yet Djamal still rots in a Guantanamo. How hopeless can it get. How cruel can our government be.
Never mind the ideals of our Constitution, indeed the basic rules of the American dream, like, innocent until proven guilty, can’t be held in servitude without a trial, fair trial of unbiased jurors, speedy trial and public trial, the right to be confronted by accuser. Could it be that, out of sight from us, our legal system now has the goal to keep the torture chambers full by tying prisoners up in a maze of bureaucracy and legal labyrinths with no out?
But my mind goes back to a young man swept up innocently while he was trying to build a life for himself and his wife. Where does his mind go? Are his thoughts of his home and loved ones an escape from the hell he is living. Or maybe they are too painful to remember. Our government’s apparent last excuse for not releasing him is that there is no place safe to send him – he can come live with me, I’ll make room. Just release him![From Staff: If this hasn’t moved you to action, please see this video below:]