My Guantánamo Diary, Uncensored

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By Mohamedou Ould Slahi for ACLU – If I wanted to, I could put my pen down right now, close my office door behind me, and go for a long walk outside. Today in Nouakchott, Mauritania, it is terribly hot and dry, so that would not be the wisest choice, but freedom is having that option. And freedom is choosing to write instead, not because my life depends on it, but because these days, thank God, it finally doesn’t. A year ago this week, a U.S. military cargo plane touched down on this city’s arid runway and I was escorted, unshackled, down the airplane’s ramp and toward a group of government officials. With each step I pulled farther ahead of my American guards, farther away from the territory of bondage, and toward the territory of freedom. Hours later, a car turned onto the street of the house where I grew up and I was swarmed by family members and supporters. And then I was standing inside the house, just a few feet away from where I sat one day when I was 11, listening to the radio as they announced names of children from around the country who had made it into high school. Getting into high school was a big deal back then: There were few slots, and many who passed all their classes still did not make the cut. Those who managed had their names printed in the military dictatorship’s official newspaper and read over the air for the whole country to hear.

I Am In Guantánamo Bay. US Government Is Starving Me To Death

‘They have stopped feeding us before but this time feels different.’ Photograph: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

By Khalid Qassim for The Guardian – I started hunger strike because I was so frustrated, so depressed – I have been locked up here so far from my family for 15 years. I have never been charged with a crime and I have never been allowed to prove my innocence. Yet I am still here. And now Donald Trump says that none of us – the 26 “forever” prisoners who have apparently committed no crime, but merit no trial – will ever leave here so long as he is in charge. Some will say I brought the pain on myself. But how can that be? I did not ask to be brought here. I did not do anything that justified being kidnapped and hauled half way around the world. It is true that there have been times when I thought I would be better off dead. This was the only peaceful way I thought I could protest. What I really want, for me and for the other men here, is justice. Certainly, I never wanted to die in the pain I’m now in. They have stopped feeding us before but this time feels different. They want to stop the hunger strike by any means. They keep repeating: if you lose part of your body that is your choice; if you are damaged, that is your choice. They intend to leave us until we lose a kidney or another organ. They will wait until we are damaged. Maybe until we are too damaged to live. Just over a week ago, on 29 September, I collapsed and they called a “code yellow” – that’s what they call it.

U.S. Prepares To Release Ahmed Al-Darbi In Plea Deal, Less Significant Prisoners Have No Prospect Of Release

Abdul Rahman Shalabi, 39, was among the first prisoners taken to Guantánamo in January 2002. Photograph: Charles Dharapak/AP

By Andy Worthington for Close Guantanamo – In the long and cruel history of Guantánamo, a major source of stress for the prisoners has been, from the beginning, the seemingly inexplicable release of prisoners who constituted some sort of a threat to the U.S., while completely insignificant prisoners have languished with no hope of release. In the early days, this was because shrewd Afghan and Pakistani prisoners connected to the Taliban fooled their captors, who were too arrogant and dismissive of their allies in the region to seek advice before releasing men who later took up arms against them. Later, in the cases of some released Saudis, it came about because the House of Saud demanded the release of its nationals, and the U.S. bowed to its demands, and in other cases that we don’t even know about it may be prudent to consider that men who were turned into double agents at a secret facility within Guantánamo were released as part of their recruitment — although how often those double agents turned out to betray their former captors is unknown.

Remembering Guantánamo On Independence Day

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By Andy Worthington for Witness Against Torture – Today, as a British citizen, I’m acutely aware that, 241 years ago, the United States of America issued a Declaration of Independence from the UK, noting that King George III had sought “the establishment of an absolute TyranA system of checks and balances introduced by the Founding Fathers was supposed to prevent tyranny from arising in the liberated United States of America, and yet, at various times in its history, these safeguards have been discarded — during the Civil War, for example, and during the Second World War, in the shameful internment of Japanese Americans. Another example is still taking place now — at Guantánamo Bay, in Cuba, where the U.S. runs a naval base, and where, since January 11, 2002, it has been holding prisoners seized in the “war on terror” that George W. Bush declared after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Under the laws and treaties we rely on to protect ourselves from executive tyranny, people can only be deprived of their liberty if they are accused of a crime, when they must speedily be put on trial in a court with a judge and a jury, or if they are seized on a battlefield during wartime, when they can be held until the end of hostilities, unmolested and with the protections of the Geneva Conventions.

Witness Against Torture Protests In DC

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By Staff for Witness Against Torture. Clad in orange jumpsuits and Shut Down Guantanamo t-shirts, activists with Witness Against Torture took over the Hart Senate Building with a message for Senators, staffers, and the general public. They marked the 15th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The message was “Shut Down Guantanamo,” “No Torture Cabinet” and “Hate Doesn’t Make U.S. Great.” These statements were painted a banner that activists dropped from a balcony as 9 members of the group dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods held a die-in, mourning those Muslim men who died at Guantanamo without ever being charged with a crime. The nine, and another two singers, were arrested by Capitol Police, as supporters sang “O America, don’t believe their lies. Their politics of hate will destroy our children’s lives.” The balconies were crowded with onlookers as the action unfolded. One of the two who unfurled the “No Torture Cabinet” banner

Fast For Justice Day 1: Forgiveness Demands Accountability

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By Staff of Witness Against Torture – Mohamed Ould Slahi left Guantanamo on October 17, 2016 after fourteen years of imprisonment there. He was held without charge and tortured. Speaking of the torture, isolation, and loss he endured, he nevertheless forgives his captors. He says forgiveness is his inexhaustible resource. He maintains belief in the potential goodness of U.S. people. Witness Against Torture began our first full day of fasting this morning by listening to Slahi’s words and then hearing an op-ed that appeared in the morning’s New York Times. The op-ed quotes President-elect Donald Trump who says that Guantanamo should be kept open.

‘Guantánamo Diary’ Author Released After 14 Years Without Charge

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By Hina Shamsi for ACLU – After unlawfully imprisoning our client Mohamedou Ould Slahi at Guantánamo for 14 years without charge or trial, the U.S. government has finally released him. He is now home in his native Mauritania. We are overjoyed for Mohamedou and his loving family, who have been anxiously awaiting his return for so many years. His release brings the U.S. one man closer to ending the travesty that is Guantánamo. Mohamedou’s release comes after long legal battles and an outpouring of support worldwide

Why Is Former Guantánamo Prisoner On Hunger Strike In Uruguay?

Military personnel demonstrate procedures used on hunger strikers at Guantánamo Bay US Naval Base in Cuba, August 20, 2014. (Damon Winter / The New York Times)

By Aisha Maniar for Truthout – Adapting to life after lengthy imprisonment and as a refugee in a strange land are challenges. Coupled with the trauma of years of torture and the stigma of Guantánamo, the challenge is colossal. Nearly two years after being released to Uruguay with five others in December 2014, Syrian refugee Jihad Ahmed Mustafa Dhiab, also known as Abu Wa’el Dhiab, 45, has faced all of these problems. Dhiab spent more than 12 years at Guantánamo after he was sold to the US military by the Pakistani police in 2002.

Obama Transfers 15 Guantanamo Prisoners To The United Arab Emirates

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By Jessica Schulberg for The Huffington Post – WASHINGTON ― The Pentagon announced the transfer of 15 prisoners out of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility on Monday evening, marking the largest single exodus of detainees from the infamous prison in Barack Obama’s presidency. The 15 men are being transferred to the United Arab Emirates, a country that accepted five Yemeni detainees last year because the U.S. ruled out repatriating them to their unstable home country.

Snowden Files: Guantanamo Bay Routine Included Torture And Water Skiing

A U.S. Coast Guard vessel patrols Guantanamo Bay.

By Kit O’Connell for Mint Press News – AUSTIN, Texas — Water skiing in the morning, supervising the torture of a prisoner of the global war on terror in the afternoon — that’s just a typical day for National Security Agency personnel. That’s one of the many glimpses of National Security Agency life found in newly released documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks, which reveal the NSA’s intimate involvement with Guantanamo Bay interrogations and the Iraq War, as well as the dramatically increased demand for intelligence after 9/11.

With My Brother In Guantánamo Bay, The Heart Of My Family Is Missing

Protestors rally in front of the White House to demand that President Obama keep his promise and shut down the detention center at Guant¡namo Bay. By Pete Marovich/Zuma.

By Yahdih Ould Salahi for The Guardian – I was 19 years old when my brother disappeared, and I was 20 when I discovered he was in Guantánamo. I’m 33 now, and a German citizen living in Dusseldorf, where I work as a computer systems engineer. I have a productive and peaceful life because of my brother. We grew up in Mauritania, one of the world’s poorest countries. I am the youngest of 12 siblings. My father died not long after I was born, and Mohamedou became the heart of our family. He studied hard, winning a scholarship to study engineering in Germany.

Two Libyans Freed From Guantánamo & Given New Homes In Senegal?

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By Andy Worthington for Andy Worthington – On April 3, two Libyans — former opponents of Colonel Gaddafi, who was overthrown in 2011 — were freed from Guantánamo and resettled in Senegal, whose Ministry of Foreign Relations issued a statement pointing out that the two men were granted “asylum … in accordance with the relevant conventions of international humanitarian law, also in the tradition of Senegalese hospitality and Islamic solidarity with two African brothers who have expressed interest in resettlement in Senegal after their release.”

Close, Don’t Move Guantanamo

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By Matthew W. Daloisio for Witness Against Torture, President Obama’s plan to close the prison at Guantanamo is finally here. But it’s as useless as the Executive Order he signed almost eight years ago. Obama’s plan proposes to close the facility but not end the legal and moral abomination it represents. Indefinitely detaining men without charge or trial in the continental United States — in supermax prisons no less — is as unacceptable as indefinite detention at Guantanamo. The Military Commissions are unworkable and unfair, and cannot be tweaked into legitimacy. Saving money by changing the zip code of an unjust system does nothing to lessen its moral cost. Any talk of expenses should be about how to offer compensation to the men the United States abused and provide proper resources for their resettlement.

Obama’s Plan To Close Guantanamo Too Little, Too Late

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By Sharmini Peries for The Real News – It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama sent a new proposal to Congress that was prepared for him by the Pentagon to close down Guantanamo Bay detention facility located in Cuba. The prison currently holds 93 detainees, 34 of whom are cleared for release. Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Obama explained why he wants to close down the detention facility. Let’s have a look.

French Judge Summons Former Guantanamo Chief In Torture Probe

Alex Wong, Getty, AFP | Major General Geoffrey Miller (right) testifies during a hearing on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal on May 19, 2004, in Washington, DC.

By Staff of FRANCE 24 – A French judge has summoned retired US General Geoffrey Miller, the former Guantanamo Bay prison chief, to appear in court on March 1 over allegations of torture, a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs told FRANCE 24 on Thursday. William Bourdon, a lawyer for former Gitmo detainee Mourad Benchellali, said General Miller was due in court at 10am on March 1 to answer accusations that he oversaw Benchellali’s “illegal detention and torture”.