Cuba condemned the presence of a US nuclear submarine at the Guantánamo naval base in Cuba earlier this month. Cuban authorities labeled the move a military provocation. On Tuesday, July 11, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez stated via social media, “We categorically condemn the presence between July 5 and 8 of a nuclear submarine at the Guantánamo naval base. It constitutes a provocative escalation by the US, which forces us to question what strategic purpose it is pursuing in our region, declared a Zone of Peace.” According to the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), the submarine that docked at Guantánamo Bay is the USS Pasadena (SSN 752).
UN special rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin on Monday, June 26, asked the US authorities to shut down the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison and apologize for the torture of inmates. She asked that all persons responsible for such abuses in the last 20 years be held accountable. Ní Aoláin was addressing a press conference in New York on the occasion of UN’s International Day in Solidarity with the Victims of Torture. She also released her report on Guantanamo Bay prepared after visiting the prison earlier this year. “The US government must urgently provide judicial resolution, apology and guarantees of non-repetition,” Ní Aoláin said, claiming that the establishment was in violation of international human rights laws.
Twenty years ago, on 11 January 2002, the United States government brought its first ‘detainees’ abducted during the so-called War on Terror to its military prison in Guantánamo Bay. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, ‘We do plan to, for the most part, treat them in a manner that is reasonably consistent with the Geneva Conventions’. For the most part. Evidence began to emerge almost immediately – including from the International Committee of the Red Cross – that the Geneva Conventions were being violated and that many of the prisoners were being tortured. By December 2002, the US media began to report that ‘many held at Guantánamo [were] not likely terrorists’.
“I have a story that I have waited almost two decades to tell, so I want to thank you for taking the time to listen to my statement.” For the next two hours, Majid Khan spoke to a panel of military jurors, and to his family—especially his father and sister, who had hugged their son and brother that morning for the first time in nineteen years and sat just feet away in the spectator gallery, visibly suffering through the horror of what they heard. Mr. Khan described brutality and its effects even beyond the heinous acts detailed in the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 2014 oversight study of the CIA torture program. Torture inflicted by medical personnel stood out. He explained that he was raped by CIA medics – under the guise of both “rectal feeding” and “rectal rehydration,” the latter using a “green garden hose,” with one end connected to a faucet and the other forcibly inserted into his rectum.
2020 has, to date, been noteworthy for how much attention has been focused on Guantánamo, the US naval base in Cuba that is home to the “war on terror” prison established in January 2002, and also to the inappropriately named Camp Justice, where trial proceedings for some of the men held in the prison take place. First up was the 18th anniversary of the opening of the prison, on January 11, when campaigners from numerous NGOs and campaigning groups — including Close Guantánamo — held a rally outside the White House to call for the prison’s closure.
This never-say-die persistence moved them, and their supporters, to make one more valiant attempt to reverse the course of justice by presenting to the APA Council of Representatives a plan to lift the ban on military psychologists (who number 525) from treating prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, where the U.S. is still holding 48 foreign ‘terrorists.’ That population may increase if Trump’s stated idea of filling some empty billets is acted upon. It was pushed hard by the Pentagon with the endorsement of the old guard.
It was with heavy hearts that we, as members of Witness Against Torture, listened to Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening. We heard him attempt to stoke fear in his listeners with wave after wave of references to terrorists and criminals. He began by linking terror to “illegal immigrants,” border walls, “chain migration,” and visa lotteries, before moving on to ISIS, Al Qaida, rogue regimes, unlawful enemy combatants and more. By the time he mentioned the prison at Guantanamo, he had already clearly connected the foreigner and the immigrant with the idea of danger in his listeners’ minds. He had already skillfully set the stage when he announced his executive order to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay. In Guantanamo, he reassured his listeners, we would “have all necessary power to detain terrorists — wherever we chase them down.”
I have been attending protests at the White House since Jimmy Carter lived there and with each succeeding administration, the space allowed for political discourse has been reduced and the once protected free speech of citizens increasingly criminalized there. Under Trump, half the width of the formerly public sidewalk in front of the White House is fenced off, the inner perimeter now patrolled by officers armed with automatic weapons. Pennsylvania Avenue, long ago closed to vehicular traffic, is now closed off to pedestrians at the hint of a demonstration.
January 11, 2018 marked the 16th year that Guantanamo prison has exclusively imprisoned Muslim men, subjecting many of them to torture and arbitrary detention. About thirty people gathered in Washington D.C., convened by Witness Against Torture, (WAT), for a weeklong fast intended to close Guantanamo and abolish torture forever. Six days ago, Matt Daloisio arrived from New York City in a van carefully packed with twelve years’ worth of posters and banners, plus sleeping bags, winter clothing and other essentials for the week.
January 11 marks the 16th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo, and the first anniversary under this president. If you're in the D.C. area, please join us at 11:30 a.m. to gather with human rights activists, torture survivors, Guantánamo attorneys, 9/11 family members, and members of diverse faith communities at Lafayette Square, at the north side of the White House. Together, we will rally to end indefinite detention, close the prison, and stop torture. We're also excited to announce the book launch of There is a Man Under that Hood, which sets the words of Luke Nephew's (Peace Poets) remarkable poem to photographs of anti-torture demonstrations taken or curated by Justin Norman (Witness Against Torture). The afterword is written by CCR Senior Staff Attorney Omar Farah.
By Erin L. Thompson for Tom Dispatch - We spent the day at a beach in Brooklyn. Skyscrapers floated in the distance and my toddler kept handing me cigarette filters she had dug out of the sand. When we got home, I checked my email. I had been sent a picture of a very different beach: deserted, framed by distant headlands with unsullied sands and clear waters. As it happened, I was looking not at a photograph, but at a painting by a man imprisoned at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp. Of the roughly 780 people once imprisoned there, he is one of 41 prisoners who remain, living yards away from the Caribbean Sea. Captives from the Bush administration’s Global War on Terror began to arrive at that offshore prison in January 2002. Since Guantánamo is located on a military base in Cuba and the detainees were labeled“alien enemy combatants,” they were conveniently to be without rights under either United States or international law and so open to years of whatever their jailers wanted to do to them (including torture). President Barack Obama released 197 of them in his years in office, but was unable to fulfill the promise he made on his first day: to close Guantánamo. The man whose painting I saw has been held for nearly 15 years without trial, without even having charges filed against him. The email came from his lawyer who had volunteered to defend a number of Guantánamo detainees.
By Raymond Bonner for Pro Publica. In 2009, Abu Zubaydah’s lawyers interviewed their client and prepared a handwritten, first-person account of the torture their client suffered at the hands of the U.S. government. The document, quoted above, recounts the terrifying experience of a man repeatedly waterboarded in the mistaken belief that he was al-Qaida’s No. 3 official. It was filed in federal court as part of his lawsuit seeking release from Guantanamo, and like nearly all the documents in the case, was sealed at the government’s request. Now, seven years later, Zubaydah’s statement, which he signed under oath, has been released, and it provides the most detailed, personal description yet made public of his “enhanced interrogation” at a Central Intelligence Agency “black site” in Thailand.
By Emily Shire for Bustle. While serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Garland often ruled in support of George W. Bush's Guantanamo Bay detainee policies and "showed great deference to President George W. Bush's indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba," the Washington Post noted in 2010. In 2014, Garland was part of three-judge panel that unanimously ruled a "new policy of probing into a prisoner's groin area and alongside his clothed genitals is a reasonable security measure," as Josh Gerstein at Politico wrote. Garland's most famous decision, though, in regards to Guantanamo Bay policies may be the 2003 ruling in Al Odah v. United States. In that case, Garland joined the majority opinion that Guantanamo Bay detainees were not entitled to habeas corpus, which effectively blocked them "from seeking relief in civilian courts," as Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress noted. That ruling was overturned the next year by the Supreme Court in Rasul v. Bush, which said the detainees were entitled to challenge their detention.
By the Center for Constitutional Rights. NEW YORK, PARIS - Retired U.S. General Geoffrey Miller, the former Guantánamo prison chief, was a no-show in a French court Tuesday. Miller had been summoned to answer questions stemming from accusations that he oversaw the torture of three French nationals at Guantánamo prison. The Center for Constitutional Rights and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, who submitted expert reports and other submissions in the proceedings, issued the following statement. Miller’s absence speaks volumes about the Obama administration’s continued unwillingness to confront America’s torture legacy. The administration not only refuses to investigate U.S. officials like Miller for torture, it apparently remains unwilling to cooperate with international torture investigations like the one in France.