Twelve years after the 9/11 attacks, many prisoners of the “War on Terror” remain in legal limbo

Al Jazeera Opinion: By Andy Worthington – 12 Sep 2013 09:09

Several dozen Guantanamo prisoners have been cleared for release, yet remain behind bars [Getty Images]
Several dozen Guantanamo prisoners have been cleared for release, yet remain behind bars [Getty Images]

Yesterday, on September 11, as the world remembered the dreadful terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC 12 years ago, it is time also to remember that, in its response to those attacks, the US embarked on a dangerous flight from the law that led to the use of torture and indefinite detention without charge or trial. At Guantanamo and Bagram, these policies have, to this day, left hundreds of men stranded without access to justice.When the Bush administration responded to 9/11 by invading Afghanistan, a month after the attacks, one of the first victims of the “War on Terror” was the Geneva Conventions. Under Article 5 of the Geneva Conventions, if there is any doubt about the status of prisoners seized in wartime – whether they are combatants or civilians seized by mistake, for example  – “competent tribunals” of military officers must be convened close to the time and place of capture, with the power to call witnesses to ascertain whether the prisoners are combatants or not.Fault Lines - Life after GuantánamoIn the first Gulf War, in 1991, US soldiers captured 1,196 men of unknown provenance, held competent tribunals, and concluded that in 886 cases civilians had been seized by mistake – an error rate of 74 percent. Those men were then released, but after 9/11 the competent tribunals were abandoned.End of competent tribunalsThe Bush administration arrogantly declared that all those who ended up in US custody were “unlawful enemy combatants”, and, on February 7, 2002, President Bush issued a memorandum, “Humane Treatment of Taliban and al-Qaeda Detainees“, in which he stated that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to al-Qaeda or Taliban prisoners, although all prisoners would be “treated humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva”.Read more:*******Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist. He has been researching and writing about Guantanamo since 2006, and has worked with the United Nations, WikiLeaks, Reprieve and Cageprisoners. He is the co-founder of the Close Guantanamo campaign, the author of the book The Guantanamo Files


September 11, 2013

‘The Other Guantanamo’: Report Shows Impact of Indefinite Detention

The U.S. is still holding about 60 detainees at Afghanistan’s Bagram prison, despite growing criticism

Rolling Stone – By   September 11, 2013 3:20 PM ET
Bagram prison in Afghanistan

A new report by a Pakistani legal organization that represents detainees at Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan details the effects indefinite detention has on the detainees, as well as their families and loved ones, including emotional and financial hardship. The report, Closing Bagram: The Other Guantanamo, was issued by Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), which represents 11 of the about 60 individuals the U.S. government is holding without charge or trial at Bagram (officially known as the Detention Facility at Parwan). Testimonials from detainees’ family members can also be viewed online.

Sarah Belal, the director of JPP, says the debate about America’s detention policies is almost always focused on legal questions or national security concerns – both of which shift attention away from the identities of the individuals actually being held. “The detention system and U.S. narrative surrounding it is intentionally dehumanizing and seeks to erase the humanity and histories and individualities of the victims of such policies,” says Belal. “By focusing on the accounts of the families of the detainees, we are challenging the U.S. narrative (which is largely based on classified evidence, hearsay, etc.) of these guys being ‘bad men’ and terrorists by tracing out their histories, gathering their family histories and compiling accounts of their lives.”

Read an Impassioned Letter to Congress from One Bagram Detainee’s Father

The United States transferred control of the Bagram facility to the Afghan government in March 2013, after months of delays cause by tensions between the two countries. Despite handing over control, however, the U.S. has continued to hold around 60 individuals under a stated law of war authority – the same legal rationale that applies to the detainees at Guantanamo. All of the U.S.-held detainees at Bagram are non-Afghans, and about two-thirds of them are Pakistani.

Caption: Bagram prison in Afghanistan

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Guantánamo judge makes secret ruling on secret motion in secret hearing


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U.S. Army military judge Col. James L. Pohl, shown in this July 7, 2005 file photo at Fort Hood, Texas, is the chief of the Guantanamo military commissions judiciary. LM OTERO / ASSOCIATED PRESS Read more here:
U.S. Army military judge Col. James L. Pohl, file photo July 7, 2005, Fort Hood, TX, Currently, chief of  Guantanamo military commissions judiciary.  LM OTERO / ASSOCIATED PRESS

During a secret hearing at Guantánamo, the military judge in the 9/11 death-penalty case ruled against a secret government request to withhold information from defense lawyers for accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his four alleged co-conspirators, according to a partially redacted transcript released Tuesday.

The hearing, held Aug. 19 at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba, was the first closed pre-trial hearing of the Sept. 11 capital case. The subject matter was so secret that the judge cleared the court of the public and the five men who, if convicted, could be executed for conspiring to carry out the worst attack on U.S. soil, including 2,976 counts of murder.

And, while the 31-page transcript of the 29-minute hearing is so riddled with redactions that it is unclear what the Pentagon prosecution team was trying to shield from the defense attorneys, it shows the judge denying the request.

“I’m ruling it is discoverable,” Army Col. James L. Pohl said in response to a secret prosecution motion that argues something “is not discoverable.”

Never seen before Red Cross photos hunted down by Carol Rosenberg

September 10, 2013


By Molly Crabapple

 cb5bb5665a08e8d776217b6ae1939391On August 28, prisoner Nabil Hadjarab left Guantanamo Bay.

Miss Holly, the three-time winner of Cupcake Wars, came to visit.

Sold for a bounty during the war in Afghanistan, Nabil had languished for over a decade in the island prison. Six years after he was cleared to leave, guards threw a hood over his head, and shackled him and another detainee, and led him aboard a military plane to Algeria, a country he had not seen since he was a teenager. Despite Obama’s promises to close Guantánamo, the pair were the first detainees transferred in over a year.

The next day, Gitmo guards lined up for Miss Holly’s cupcakes. I had the s’mores.

Read more:

September 8, 2013

Remember Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, Who Died at Guantánamo A Year Ago, Despite Being Cleared for Release

By Andy Worthington

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, Yemeni prisoner at Guantánamo, died September 8, 2012, circumstances still disputed

Exactly a year ago, on September 8, 2012, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a Yemeni prisoner at Guantánamo, died in circumstances that are still disputed. The US authorities claim that he committed suicide by overdosing on psychiatric medication that he had hoarded, but that has always seemed unlikely, given that the prisoners at Guantánamo are closely monitored, and it has become clear that he was moved around the prison on a number of occasions before his death, making the hoarding of medication even more unlikely.

Despite the inconsistencies in the US authorities’ account of Adnan’s death, it is undisputed that, throughout his ten years at Guantánamo, he had attempted to commit suicide on several occasions. A talented poet, and a father, Adnan also had severe mental health problems, the result of a car crash in Yemen many years before his capture. Adnan always claimed that he had traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in search of cheap medical treatment for his head wounds, in contrast to the US authorities’ attempts to portray him as a member of al-Qaeda.

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September 6, 2013

RT – Breaking the Set – Reported by Manuel Rapalo

Sept. 6, 2013 – Force-feeding depicted at White House Rally

Washington, DC: After Fasting for 61 days in Solidarity with Guantánamo Humger Strikers, Andrés Thomas Conteris illustrates the effects of force-feeding, highlighting US-sponsored Torture

RT’s Abby Martin presents a report by Breaking the Set producer, Manuel Rapalo, on a very unique demonstration by activist Andrés Thomas Conteris in front of the White House. It highlights the twice-daily force-feeding of Guantanamo Bay prisoners as torture, and why every U.S. Citizen should want this controversial prison facility closed. It cost $2.7 million to hold each Gitmo prisoner for one year. More info:

RT Breaking the Set, September 6, 2013, 10 min excerpt

Full 30 min show


Guantanamo-Style Force Feeding Comes Right To Obama’s Doorstep


The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted: 09/06/2013 4:07 pm EDT  |  Updated: 09/06/2013 4:07 pm EDT

The protester, Andrés Thomas Conteris, had been fasting for 61 days and dropped over 50 lbs. since July 8. Conteris, 52, squirmed in his wheelchair as the tube was inserted through his nose by a doctor identified as Terry Fitzgerald.

“It felt like endless agony,” Conteris said of the procedure. “They’re not intentionally trying to harm me and it feels horrible, it feels insanely painful.” Conteris said it was painful to speak or swallow and that he had the urge to vomit.

Read more:

Key Guantánamo-related jobs at Pentagon vacant


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The Pentagon in northern Virginia is headquarters of the Department of Defense. Chuck Kennedy / MCT Read more here:
The Pentagon in northern Virginia is headquarters of the Department of Defense. Chuck Kennedy / MCT

More than 100 days after President Barack Obama pledged to create a Defense Department position to work on emptying the Guantánamo prison, the post still has not been filled and the Pentagon’s detainee policy post is under interim management.

William K. Lietzau resigned as the top Pentagon official dealing with detainees over the summer. His last day was last week. Meantime, J. AlanLiotta, who had been Lietzau’s deputy, is functioning as “Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Rule of Law & Detainee Policy,” according to a Pentagon spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale.

Liotta has been interim boss in the past. He got to the office when it first opened in 2004 in the aftermath of the disclosure of photos showing soldiers abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib, Iraq.

Lietzau’s departure leaves two detainee-related posts to fill at the Pentagon. On May 23, Obamaannounced that he was appointing a separate Pentagon-based special envoy to work on closing the prison in collaboration with a new State Department envoy.

As of Friday, the prison held 164 detainees — 30 of them on hunger strike and 27 designated for forced nasogastric feedings if they don’t cooperate with Navy medics tasked to renourish them. In June the hunger strike peaked at 106 captives, according to the military’s count.

Algeria puts ex-Gitmo prisoners on parole


ALGIERS, Algeria – An Algerian judge has put two detainees recently released from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay under “judicial control,” a type of supervised parole.

The men, identified as Nabil Hadjarab and Mutia Sadiq Ahmad Sayyab, were returned to Algeria on Aug. 28 and detained pending interrogation by a prosecutor, which took place Thursday, the state news agency reported, quoting the court of Algiers.

September 6, 2013

Pelican Bay hunger strike suspended on Sept. 5 after 60 days


To be clear, our Peaceful Protest of Resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state sanctioned torture via the system’s solitary confinement units is far from over. Our decision to suspend our third hunger strike in two years does not come lightly. This decision is especially difficult considering that most of our demands have not been met (despite nearly universal agreement that they are reasonable). The core group of prisoners has been, and remains 100% committed to seeing this protracted struggle for real reform through to a complete victory, even if it requires us to make the ultimate sacrifice.  With that said, we clarify this point by stating prisoner deaths are not the objective, we recognize such sacrifice is at times the only means to an end of fascist oppression

Read more:

September 5, 2013

US Hunger Striker to Undergo Forced Feeding at White House

Sept. 5, 2013 Popular Resistance – Daily Movement News and Resources

Guantanamo-Force-Feeding graphicForce Feeding will Occur at Rally to Close Guantanamo and End Solitary Confinement Solidarity With Gitmo & Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

WHERE: The White House, 1600 Penn. Ave.
WHENFriday, September 6, noon-1pm
WHAT: Force-feeding of US activist at rally to close Guantanamo & end solitary confinement
WHO:, Witness Against Torture, Code Pink, Veterans For Peace, and others

WASHINGTON, D.C. organizer Andrés Thomas Conteris on day 61 of his fast in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners in Guantánamo and Pelican Bay— will undergo a nasogastric feeding in front of the White House on Friday, September 6 at noon.

Conteris will underscore the brutality of force-feeding, to which dozens of men at Guantanamo have been subjected since a new hunger strike began last February, and which California officials have threatened for hunger striking prisoners in Pelican Bay protesting the use of extended solitary confinement in US prisons.  The American Medical Association, the United Nations, and Senators John McCain and Diane Feinstein have all condemned force-feeding.

The tube feeding of Conteris, administered by a medical professional, will be webcast live at .

“Force-feeding is torture,”” says Conteris, a 52-year-old man from California who has lost 50lbs since starting his strike on July 8th,, when Pelican Bay inmates started their fast. ““I wish to make visible what the U.S. government is perpetrating against prisoners in Guantánamo and what the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is threatening for hunger strikers in Pelican Bay.  The only way to end the hunger strikes and force-feeding is to shutter the Gitmo prison and respond favorably to the demands of the prisoners in California.””

“Indefinite detention, prolonged solitary confinement, and force-feeding,” says CodePink co-founder, Medea Benjamin, “are all ways our government brutalizes people.  They must stop, and Guantanamo must close.”

The rally comes on the second day of the trial of Diane Wilson at the DC District Court (500 Indiana Ave., NW).  On June 26, day 57 of her solidarity hunger strike, Wilson was arrested protesting Guantanamo and Pelican Bay by allegedly scaling the White House fence.  The rally will feature updates on the situations at Guantanamo and at Pelican Bay is a coalition working to close Guantanamo and oppose torture, including the use of extended solitary confinement.

For more information about the event or to interview Conteris or other participating organizationss contact: Andrés Conteris – 202-232-1999[email protected] and Medea Benjamin - 415-235-6517 – [email protected]

September 2, 2013

Spoken word from our friends at the Peace Poets “Breaking Down Solitary” 

Obama should return Guantanamo to Cuba, former U.S. envoy says (Reuters) - Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Pravin Char.  GENEVA | Mon Sep 2, 2013

File photo of former U.S. top diplomat in Havana Parmly addressing foreign diplomats and Cuban dissidents on International Human Rights Day at his residence in Havana
U.S. top diplomat in Havana Michael Parmly (L) addresses foreign diplomats and Cuban dissidents on International Human Rights Day at his residence in Havana in this December 10, 2005 file photo. Picture taken December 10, 2005. Reuters/Claudia Daut

Obama, by negotiating a deal with Cuban leader Raul Castro about the base on the communist island, could build a long-term relationship with its people, said Michael Parmly, head of the U.S. interests section in Havana from 2005-2008. Since 1903, the United States has had treaty rights to Guantanamo Bay, a 45 square-mile territory in southeastern Cuba, originally needed as a fuelling station for U.S. warships. The prison was set up by former U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration for foreign suspected militants after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The U.S. base is a “historic anomaly” even though the two countries have not had diplomatic relations since 1961, Parmly wrote. “The current partisan tensions on the (Capitol) Hill ensure that it would be an uphill climb, but it is the thesis of this paper that a similar bold step, akin to the Panama Canal, is called for regarding Guantanamo,” he said, citing that 1977 U.S. return of the waterway to Panama as a precedent. “Both sides would have an interest.” The 26-page paper by the retired diplomat, obtained by Reuters, is to appear shortly in the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, published by the Fletcher School in Massachusetts. Obama has pledged to close the prison which has held dozens of suspected militants, most without charge, for more than a decade. But he has faced congressional resistance. Parmly, who now lives in Geneva, said the U.S. and Cuban governments could agree that 46 “problem cases” remain at a U.S.-run jail even after operational control of the base is transferred. The remaining 118 inmates could be sent to U.S. prisons and then face trial or be released. An agreement could also be reached with Cuba allowing the U.S. Navy to use the base for its operations in the Caribbean, he said. The U.S. centre at Guantanamo for processing Cuban and Haitian migrants picked up at sea could be kept or transferred, said. “Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is not U.S. territory. Cuba is the ultimate owner,” Parmly said. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Pravin Char) Caption: U.S. top diplomat in Havana Michael Parmly (L) addresses foreign diplomats and Cuban dissidents on International Human Rights Day at his residence in Havana in this December 10, 2005 file photo. Picture taken December 10, 2005.  Reuters/Claudia Daut Read more:

September 1, 2013 Guantánamo judge: Spiral-bound notebooks are ‘boutique’ items  BY CAROL ROSENBERG

Judge Col James L Pohl, head of Commissions at GTMO
U.S. Army military judge Col. James L. Pohl, shown in this July 7, 2005 file photo at Ft. Hood, Texas is the chief of the Guantánamo military commissions judiciary. LM OTERO / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The military judge in Guantánamo’s USS Cole bombing case has denied a defense request to continue using spiral-bound notebooks at prison camp legal meetings, bowing to U.S. troop fears that an accused terrorist could wiggle the wire out and use it as a weapon.

In a June 13 hearing, veteran criminal defense lawyer Rick Kammen cast the prison’s sudden ban on the notebooks after years on the case as a frivolous exploitation of power. At one point, the lawyer asked the prison’s warden, Army Col. John Bogdan, to field strip a spiral notebook and turn it into a weapon. Bogdan looked eager to demonstrate. But the judge, Army Col. James Pohl, stopped him. “The Defense is not entitled to boutique choices regarding the tools that they get to use in client meetings,” Pohl wrote Aug. 12 in a four-page ruling that was kept under seal for 17 days.

August 31, 2013

Gitmo warden details fear of attack on base

In response to a legal filing by Al Jazeera, the US government argues for continued secrecy.

Al Jazeera  Last Modified: 31 Aug 2013 16:20 Los Angeles, United States of America - The warden of the Guantanamo Bay prison continues to claim the detention facility may face threats from enemies foreign and domestic if he is compelled to reveal information in a June 3 sworn declaration he signed about the rationale behind a genital search policyprisoners are subjected to.CAMP VI JTF GTMO Colonel John V Bogdan said the declaration must not be revealed in full, that certain information about the prison’s operations must remain secret – otherwise “our enemies” could create a “blueprint” of Guantanamo’s “security operations” and “plan an attack”. This statement was made in an August 2 declaration, which was also filed under government seal. “Unrestricted dissemination of the information protected here, which is designated as sensitive but unclassified, would present risks to operational security and force protection in current detention operations, or if combined with other information, could create risks to national security or endanger US personnel,” states Bogdan’s August declaration – which you can read above this report. Read more:

August 30, 2013 USA: California prison authorities ‘toying with the lives’ of inmates on hunger strike News – 30 August 2013 Amnesty International SHU_Pelican_Bay_California long corridorThe refusal by California’s prison authorities to explore options to resolve the hunger strike crisis in the state’s high security units is a dangerous move that could lead to the deaths of inmates in their custody, Amnesty International said. More than 30,000 prisoners joined a hunger strike last July over inhumane detention conditions in California’s security housing units (SHUs). More than 70 are still refusing food. “It’s nothing short of appalling that instead of dealing with the complaints, California’s prison authorities have chosen to threaten inmates with force-feeding and disciplinary measures, and have moved some to other facilities,” said Tessa Murphy, Campaigner on the USA at Amnesty International. “No one should be punished for exercising the right to peaceful protest. California prison authorities must stop toying with people’s lives and meet with the mediation team to begin a meaningful process of negotiation.” Read More:

CA Senator Hancock and Assemblymember Ammiano Promise Hearings in Response to Prisoner Hunger Strike  by  senator loni hancock-photoAs prisoners endure their 54th day without food, California state senator Loni Hancock and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano issued a statement today where they vowed to hold hearings in response to the hunger strike. “The issues raised by the hunger strike are real – concerns about the use and conditions of solitary confinement in California’s prisons – are real and can no longer be ignored,” Senator Hancock and Assemblymember Ammiano said in a joint statement. Assemblymember Ammiano said further, “The Courts have made clear that the hunger strikers have legitimate issues of policy and practice that must be reviewed. The Legislature has a critical role in considering and acting on their concerns. We cannot sit by and watch our state pour money into a system that the US. Supreme Court has declared does not provide constitutionally acceptable conditions of confinement and that statistics show has failed to increase public safety.” “We appreciate Senator Hancock and Assemblymember Ammiano’s promises to tom_ammiano at podiumtake action. Ultimately it is up to the hunger strikers’ themselves as to when and how they will end their protest. But as their advocates on the outside, we feel positive about today’s developments,” said Dolores Canales, who is a member of the strikers’ mediation team and whose son is in Pelican Bay. Read More:

Who has more info: Guantánamo lawyers or Hollywood?  By CAROL ROSENBERG Friday, 08.30.13

Alleged 9/11 conspirator Ammar al Baluchi, accused of arranging money transfers and travel for some of the Sept. 11 hijackers, poses for an International Red Cross photo inside a prison camp at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo.Defense lawyers at the Guantánamo war court are turning the adage that art imitates life on its head with a legal motion that argues the makers of Zero Dark Thirty know more about what the CIA did to an accused Sept. 11 conspirator than the defendant’s lawyers do.

In a 418-page legal filing, lawyers for Ammar al Baluchi seek government documents on how CIA interrogators and other U.S. officials helped director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal prepare the first 20 minutes of the film. In it, interrogators waterboard, strip naked and string up on a rope a man named “Ammar” who is described as the nephew of the 9/11 mastermind who helped finance the Sept. 11 hijackers. Prosecutors oppose the effort as irrelevant to the defense of Baluchi — nephew of alleged 9/11 architect Khalid Sheik Mohammed — who is accused of helping finance the hijackers in a case that seeks his execution. At issue in the latest transparency challenge at the war court is what CIA agents told Bigelow and Boal as they were making the 2012 docudrama on the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Caption: Alleged 9/11 conspirator Ammar al Baluchi, accused of arranging money transfers and travel for some of the Sept. 11 hijackers, poses for an International Red Cross photo inside a prison camp at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo. Read more:

August 29, 2013 U.S. sends two Algerians prisoners home from Guantánamo MIAMIHERALD.COM, CAROL ROSENBERG  Posted 08.29.13

The Pentagon announced Thursday that it repatriated two long-held Algerians from the prison camps at Guantánamo — the first detainee Nabil Hadjarab, now 33, in a photo taken before he got to Guantanamo. Courtesy: The London based Reprieve legal group, which represented the Algerian who was raised in France and, according to his U.S. military, captured in Afghanistan.  Read more here: from the U.S. Navy base in nearly a year. The men, Nabil Hadjarab, 34, and Motai Sayab, 37, were held as Detainees 238 and 288, and among the first prisoners brought to Cuba soon after the Bush administration set up the detention center in 2002. An Obama administration official called the transfer, conducted in secret onWednesday, a sign of the White House commitment to close the camps. It was not immediately known if the men were released in their homeland on return. The Associated Press reported from Algiers that the two men “were interrogated by judicial authorities pending an investigation” and were placed in detention until they appear before a prosecutor. Caption: Nabil Hadjarab, now 33, in a photo taken before he got to Guantanamo. Courtesy: The London based Reprieve legal group, which represented the Algerian who was raised in France and, according to his U.S. military, captured in Afghanistan.

Criminologists and Criminal Justice Reformers Say: Negotiate Now Before There Is Blood on Your Hands Posted on August 29, 2013 by 

san-diego-prison-hungerFinally, there’s some good news for critics of the American justice system: a decline in the nationwide prison and jail population; a significant drop in the rate of African American imprisonment; conservative activists advocating “criminal justice reform”; judges in New York and California blowing the whistle on unconstitutional police and prison practices; a decrease in the use of capital punishment, with eighteen states now on record in favor of abolition; and a pervasive sense of political and economic exhaustion with the policies that made the United States Number One in the world in punishment. Read more:

August 28, 2013

Pelican Bay: Ending Long-Term Solitary Confinement and Racist Policies in California Prisons

Truthout Wednesday, 28 August 2013 By Danny MurilloTikkun | Op-Ed PelicanBaySHU-thumb-640xauto-8639The prison hunger strike that has been taking place throughout various state prisons in California for 31 days now originated in the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison. The inmates at this facility are held in long-term solitary confinement, under conditions of extreme sensory deprivation. Some prisoners have been held under these conditions for over 20 years. The hunger strike intends to bring an end to the torturous conditions that exist inside the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison. Inmates in other prisons in California have participated in the hunger strike along with the hunger strikers in the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison. These prisoners have also issued their own demands to bring change to the torturous conditions that exist within the prison system of California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Some of these demands are as simple as weekly phone calls or the ability to send a photo to their families once a year. All of the strikers’ needs are united by five core demands, which seek to bring fairness and human decency into the CDCR. Read more:

U.N. Expert Criticizes California Prisons on Solitary Confinement, Force-Feeding

Democracy Now! Headlines – Aug. 28, 2013

The United Nations’ top expert on torture is criticizing California’s force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners protesting solitary confinement and other harsh conditions. In a statement, Juan Méndez, the independent United Nations special rapporteur on torture, said solitary confinement “amounts to torture,” adding: “[It is] not acceptable to use threats of forced feeding or other types of physical or psychological coercion against individuals who have opted for the extreme recourse of a hunger strike.” A federal court ruled last week that California prisons can force-feed inmates deemed incapable of making medical decisions. At a rally for the hunger strikers in the Southern California city of Norwalk, the mothers of two prisoners spoke out about their sons’ plight.

CA Arms together Hunger Strike solidarityDolores Canales: “Right now, under federal government law, research chimpanzees are protected from being held in solitary confinement because they’re defined as social beings, and that it’s detrimental to their mental and physical health. So how much more of a social being is my son, or is my friend’s husband, or is somebody else’s son? I mean, a human being is the most social being that there is.”

Lydia Carbajal: “There’s no need for that. There’s no reason why they should be held in a cage 23 hours out of the day. I haven’t held my son in 10 years. I haven’t been able to touch him. I have nothing. And this has to stop. It really has to stop now, you know, because I can’t — I won’t lose my son. I will not lose my son.”

At its peak, the California hunger strike included some 30,000 prisoners. Dozens are still taking part.

Guantanamo Hunger Strike Continues

By Matt Daloisio,
August 28th, 2013
Guantanamo I died waitingOver 90 days have passed since President Obama’s second promise to close Guantanamo. Thirty-six men remain on Hunger Strike in Guantanamo, with thirty-two being force fed twice a day. Sadly, this is who we are. But it is within our collective power to stop it. Our Rolling Fast continues in solidarity with these men – calling for Guantanamo to be closed. A note recently received from Moath al-Alwi – imprisoned in Guantanamo and a participant in the Hunger Strike: “We thank all of those who stand in solidarity with our hunger strike, those who support us, inside and outside America.”

August 27, 2013 Guantanamo Soldiers Get 9/11 History Lessons To Keep Terrorist Attacks Fresh In Minds

ProPublica  |  By Cora CurrierPosted: 08/27/2013 3:58 pm EDT  |  Updated: 08/27/2013 4:36 pm EDT US-ATTACKS-GUANTANAMO-JUSTICE-CAMP SIXYoung soldiers at Guantanamo Bay would have been in grade school when the 9/11 attacks occurred. But the government is making sure the terrorist attacks are fresh in their minds. The presentation includes details about the hijackings, videos of the World Trade Center, and recordings of 9-1-1 calls  from the towers . We received eight pages of the FBI’s 17-slide PowerPoint presentation after filing a Freedom of Information Act request. We filed the request after a Huffington Post report cited the briefings, saying they “left many participants in tears.”

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50 Days Without Food: The California Prison Hunger Strike Explained By  and 

| Tue Aug. 27, 2013 3:00 AM PDT

ollyy/Shutterstock Monday marked the 50th day of a massive hunger strike in California prisons. The strike initially involved some 30,000 fasting inmates; some 42 of them are still refusing to eat, putting themselves at extremely high risk of death, according to state medical officials. A judge last week ruled that the state can force-feed prisoners who are near death, even if they’ve signed “do not resuscitate” directives. Yet those interventions still might not be enough to keep all of the hunger strikers alive, or prevent them from suffering long-term medical problems. Read more:

Judge sets USS Cole trial date for next year at Guantánamo

BY CAROL ROSENBERG [email protected]

The U.S. Navy released this view of damage sustained on the port side of the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Cole after a suspected terrorist bomb exploded during a refueling operation in the port of Aden, Yemen, Thursday, Oct. 12.2000. Read more here:
The U.S. Navy released this view of damage sustained on the port side of the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Cole after a suspected terrorist bomb exploded during a refueling operation in the port of Aden, Yemen, Thursday, Oct. 12.2000.
Read more here:
The military judge in Guantánamo’s USS Cole bombing case has set a provisional trial date of Sept. 2, 2014, according to a document posted on the war court website Monday. Army Col. James Pohl, the judge, set the date in an order that lays out scheduling milestones toward the death-penalty tribunal of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, 48, the once waterboarded Saudi captive accused of masterminding al-Qaida’s suicide bombing of the warship off the coast of Yemen in October 2000. Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed and dozens others were wounded. The order notably instructs the government to release all discovery to defense teams by Sept. 20 of this year. It lays out a schedule for “purely legal pretrial issues and systemic challenges” by defense attorneys to challenge the integrity of the war court system that President George W. Bush created and President Barack Obama had reformed.

August 24, 2013 200 days of Guantanamo hunger strike

Published time: August 24, 2013

As hungers strike at the Guantanamo prison enters its 200th day, the military reports of a decrease in the number of detainees refusing food. But the prisoners say conditions haven’t improved and their fate hasn’t become clearer. RT’s GITMO hunger strike timeline But lawyer for several Guantanamo detainees, Carlos Warner, said that the data coming from the military, who even refused to acknowledge the strike when it began, can’t be considered reliable. “We don’t know what the military use as their metric to say that somebody isn’t hunger striking,” he told RT. “They make different claims, but they never attach names to the people, who are or aren’t hunger striking. We don’t know if it’s the same 37. We don’t know if it’s a different 37.” Read more:

August 23, 2013

Exclusive: As Judge OKs Force-Feeding, California Prisoner on 47-Day Hunger Strike Speaks Out

Democracy Now! August 23, 2013

ToddAshker on DNDays after a federal judge approved the force-feeding of hunger-striking California prisoners protesting long-term solitary confinement, we air an exclusive audio recording of a prisoner who has not eaten since the protest began on July 8. Todd Ashker, one of the authors of the call to hunger strike, has been held for years in the Secure Housing Unit at Pelican Bay Prison after he received a life sentence for killing an inmate in 1987. We also hear from California Correctional Health Care Services spokesperson Joyce Hayhoe, questioned by Democracy Now!’s Renée Feltz. And we’re joined by Azadeh Zohrabi, a member of both the Prisoners Mediation Team and the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, as well as a Soros Justice Fellow at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. Read more:

By Jason Leopold,
August 23rd, 2013
1guantDaniel Klaidman, the national political correspondent for The Daily Beast and Newsweek, got a hold of the White House’s two-page plan and wrote a report about it a week after the Senate subcommittee hearing under the exaggerated headline, “Obama’s Secret Gitmo Plan.” It’s hardly a “secret” plan, as Klaidman claimed, seeing that the White House distributed the materials so widely. The human rights community also obtained copies of the document. Still, Klaidman, who did not post a copy of the White House’s plan, an omission that I’m correcting here by publishing the document in full, was right in noting that the document “makes clear that the administration’s vision for closing Gitmo is more like a mirage, one containing many of the political elements that have served to frustrate progress on issue after issue over the past five years.”Read more: DC Days of Action

Washington, DC – September 4-6, 2013

Three events organized

Busboys & Poets Social (

Diane Wilson on Trial (

Nasal Tube-Feeding at White House (

Below is where you can watch a live stream of the events.

Follow @witnesstorture for live tweets of Diane Wilson’s trial.

EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: CA Prisoner Todd Ashker on His Evolution From Violence to Peaceful Hunger Strike

Democracy Now! Aug. 23, 2013

Todd Ashker posterTODD ASHKER: Greetings. My name is Todd Ashker, and I am from the Pelican Bay State Prison Short Corridor Collective Human Rights Movement. I am a principal representative of all similarly situated prisoners subject to long-term solitary confinement. We greatly appreciate the media’s interest and coverage of our nonviolent peaceful protest efforts towards ending long-term solitary confinement and substantive, meaningful improvement to overall prison conditions. Not limited to the Californian system, rather, we believe our efforts will benefit prison conditions as a whole across the nation.

In response to your question on how it’s come to pass that prisoners of different races and groups have become united in our struggle for prisoners and our outside loved ones to be treated humanely, with dignity and respect, in spite of our prisoner status, well, we’re glad you asked about this because we believe it’s inclusive of a powerful symbol of the wisdom and strength similarly situated people can achieve in the face of seemingly impossible odds when they collectively unite to fight for the common good of all.

It’s important to put our struggle into the proper perspective. Many of us housed in the PBSP SHU short corridor have more than 30 years in prison, most if not all of which has been spent in various isolation units wherein the fascist powers that be have subjected every one of us to progressively more punitive conditions wherein we have experienced and/or witnessed every form of physical, psychological abuse imaginable. This applies to prisoners and our outside loved ones.

As young men full of testosterone, the powers that be would regularly apply psychosocial manipulative tactics to provoke us and pit us against each other for riots and gladiator fights, while employing a no-warning-shot policy in response to any form of physical altercation. Between 1987 and 1995, the above factors were responsible for guards murdering 39 prisoners and severe permanent damage to hundreds more. We all lived this; we all had close friends maimed and murdered. Some of us were set up and shot, resulting in permanent disabilities. Support for this is included in a documentary by Abby Ginzberg titled Soul of Justice and also a video documentary of the Corcoran SHU set-ups and murders by guards created by private investigator Tom Quinn of Fresno.

Over the last three decades, we recognize the manner of which we were being pitted against each other for the purpose of statistical violence to be used in support of the agenda of the fascist prison-industrial complex—e.g. expansion in high-security cells, numbers of staff and money. Notably, in the early 1980s the California prison system received an annual budget of $40 million. Today that annual budget is $10 billion.

August 23, 2013




Guantánamo Officials Accused of Inventing ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Rumor

New York Times (blog) – Aug 23, 2013  By RAVI SOMAIYA and ROBERT MACKEY

Updated, Friday, 10:34 a.m. | After a Congressional delegation was given a tour of the Guantánamo Bay prison recently, one member of the group recounted an anecdote he heard from officials there. “Rather than the Koran, the book that is requested most” by the detainees is “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Representative Jim Moran, Democrat of Virginia, told The Huffington Post in July.
50 Shades of Grey“They’ve read the entire series in English, but we were willing to translate it,” he said of the erotic novels. “I guess there’s not much going on, these guys are going nowhere, so what the hell.” A spokeswoman for Representative Moran, who advocates closing Guantánamo, confirmed the account to Reuters, though the prison itself declined to comment.

The story — which had some of the world’s most avowed Islamic extremists reading a novel described as “mommy porn” for its popularity among middle-aged women, in an environment where prisoners have been subjected to treatment described by the Red Cross as “tantamount to torture,” and reading material is strictly controlled — sounded almost like the set-up for a cruel joke.

Largely, it seems, it may have been, according to a report by The Associated Press.

Read more:

August 22, 2013

American Tells of Odyssey as Prisoner of Syrian Rebels

New York Times  By   Published: August 22, 2013

Matthew Schrier, a photojournalist covering the war in Syria, was captured by al-Qaeda-linked rebels and held for seven months. He finally“They were so nonchalant. They didn’t point a gun at me, and moved me very gently.” Matthew Schrier described his abduction in Aleppo on Dec. 31 by fighters with the Nusra Front, which is aligned with Al Qaeda.escaped and has now told his story to various media outlets.

Once, when he was caught trying to escape, his captors tortured him as punishment.

They “forced a car tire over his knees” and “slid a wooden rod behind his legs,” proceeding to beat the bottom of his feet with a metal cable more than 100 times. At the end of it, he couldn’t walk.

The rebels dragged him back to his cell and their parting words, according to Schrier, were “Have you heard of Guantanamo Bay?”

Caption: “They were so nonchalant. They didn’t point a gun at me, and moved me very gently.” Matthew Schrier described his abduction in Aleppo on Dec. 31 by fighters with the Nusra Front, which is aligned with Al Qaeda.

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Force-feeding prisoners in California and Guantánamo solves nothing

A far better option than force-feeding is to actually address some of the concerns the prisoners are striking about


The California Prison hunger strike that began on 8 July reached a critical stage this week when authorities were given the go ahead to force-feed inmates as they near death. At the time the order was issued, approximately 129 men were still participating in the strike and 69 of those had been starving themselves since the beginning meaning that organ failure may be imminent. While no one wants to see the prisoners die, the decision to allow force-feeding has angered lawyers and advocacy groups who say state officials have chosen to dig in their heels at this crucial juncture rather than make a good faith effort to negotiate an end to what they call the hunger strike “disturbance”.

The force-feeding ruling is particularly controversial as it allows prison officials to override do-not-resuscitate (DNR) directives previously signed by many of the hunger strikers. Lawyers for the state argued that some inmates may have been coerced into signing these directives, but prisoner advocates claim there is little evidence that this is the case.

As Carol Strickman, a staff attorney for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, who has acted as mediator on behalf of the hunger strikers, says: “At the very least, the men who voluntarily signed the directives should have been represented in court.” Jules Lobel, the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who represents some of the hunger strikers in a lawsuit over prison conditions, also expressed regret about the ruling:

Force-feeding should only ever be used as a last resort, after all other alternatives have been exhausted.

One of those alternatives is to provide the inmates with juice or other liquid nutrients, which Lobel says the state has been deliberately withholding, the other is to negotiate, at least around the demands the state finds reasonable.

Caption: Main gate of Guantanamo Bay prison. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

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Guantánamo Bay guards ‘gave Fifty Shades of Grey to prisoner’

Detention Center At Guantanamo

A lawyer for a Guantánamo Bay prisoner charged in the September 11 terror attacks has said guards gave his client a contraband copy of Fifty Shades of Grey apparently as a joke or an attempt to discredit him.

Caption: Defence lawyers for prisoners in Guantanamo Bay said it would be out of character for their clients to read Fifty Shades of Grey. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

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August 22, 2013  “I visit my husband every weekend but I have not touched him for twenty-two years.”

My Friend Todd Ashker, Hunger Striker at Pelican Bay

Counter Punch by DENIS O’HEARN

Todd Ashker April 2002Todd Ashker is on hunger strike in Pelican Bay. California authorities call him “gang leader” and “terrorist.” I want to say something few people want to hear.

Todd Ashker is my friend.

I know him as a thoughtful human being who has dedicated his life to peaceful change, to helping his fellow prisoners by learning the law and sharing his knowledge. He was not that way thirty years ago when he first went to prison. He admits that. But any brain scientist will tell you that no man in his forties is the same man he was in his teens or early twenties.

What puzzles and amazes me is how Todd remains such a remarkable man while living in conditions most of the world considers to be torture.

Sit in a closet for an hour. Put a metal screen over the doorway that you can barely see through. Now think about sitting there for twenty-five years, communicating only with strangers in nearby closets by shouting out the door.

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August 20, 2013

US agents defend interrogation of 9/11 terror suspect at Guantánamo Bay, Monday 19 August 2013      Associated Press at Guantanamo Bay Naval BaseGuantanamo bay military prison Two US federal agents on Monday defended their interrogation of a Guantánamo Bay prisoner accused of providing assistance to the 9/11 hijackers as a pre-trial hearing resumed in the slowly unfolding war crimes proceedings for the five men charged in the attacks.

Caption: The challenge to the interrogations over the language is one of about 30 motions scheduled to be heard this week at Guantánamo. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

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August 19, 2013

US judge approves force-feeding California inmates

Published: August 19, 2013

54-1ns1YL.AuSt.55SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — A federal judge approved a request from California and federal officials on Monday to force-feed inmates if necessary as a statewide prison hunger strike entered its seventh week.

Caption: FILE – In this Aug. 17, 2011 file photo, reporters inspect one of the two-tiered cell pods in the Secure Housing Unit at the Pelican Bay State Prison near Crescent City, Calif. California prison officials with the backing of a federal health care receiver are seeking court permission to force-feed inmates who have been participating in a hunger strike that is entering its seventh week.  RICH PEDRONCELLI, FILE — AP Photo
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Tens of thousands of people imprisoned in the US are being subjected to torturous, inhumane conditions.  Many are:
•   Held in long term solitary confinement; locked in tiny, windowless, sometimes sound proof, cells;  cut off from fresh air and sunlight for 22-24 hours every day and given small portions of food that lack basic nutritional requirements.
•   Denied human contact and violently taken from their cells for petty violations.
•   Put in solitary arbitrarily, often because of accusations for being members of prison gangs based on dubious evidence, with no way to challenge the decisions of prison authorities to place them in solitary.

Many are forced to endure these conditions for months, years and even decades!  Mental anguish and trauma often results from being confined under these conditions.  Locking people down like this amounts to trying to strip them of their humanity.  These conditions fit the international definition of torture!  This is unjust, illegitimate and profoundly immoral. WE MUST JOIN IN AN EFFORT TO STOP IT, NOW!

People imprisoned at Pelican Bay and other prisons in California launched a nationwide Hunger Strike on July 8, 2013.  Prisoners at Pelican Bay also issued a call for unity among people from different racial groups, inside and outside the prisons.  People who are locked down in segregation units of this society’s prisons, condemned as the “worst of the worst,” are standing up against injustice, asserting their humanity in the process.  We must have the humanity to hear their call, and answer it with powerful support!

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As pre-trial hearing resumes at Guantánamo, FBI and Defense Department pair say questioning of Mustafa al-Hawsawi was civil

Two US federal agents on Monday defended their interrogation of a Guantánamo Bay prisoner accused of providing assistance to the 9/11

Guantanamo bay military prison hijackers as a pre-trial hearing resumed in the slowly unfolding war crimes proceedings for the five men charged in the attacks.

The agents – one from the FBI, the other from a Department of Defense task force – portrayed their questioning of Mustafa al-Hawsawi in 2007 as civil. They said the prisoner could understand them, even though the sessions were in English and the Saudi prisoner’s first language is Arabic, and that he was aware that he didn’t have to speak to them.

“He could stop the conversation at any time,” Stephen McClain, an agent with the Criminal Investigative Task Force, said under defense questioning. Later, he added: “He could leave the room at any time.”

Caption: The challenge to the interrogations over the language is one of about 30 motions scheduled to be heard this week at Guantánamo. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

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Former V.P. Al Gore, Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Reid To Meet Monday: Deafening Silence on California Prison Torture

Who:  Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. , former Vice President Al Gore, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval

Gore&ReidWhat: 17th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit
When: Monday August 19, starting at 9:00 a.m.
Where: Sand Harbor State Park, 2005 Nevada 28, Incline Village, NV.

Press contacts: Keith James (SMIN LA) 213-840-5348, D’Andre Teeter (SMIN Bay Area) 510-926-5207, Reiko Redmonde 510-384-1816

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. will join former Vice President Al Gore, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval at the 17th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit at Sand Harbor State Park on Monday.As these national current and former office holders convene a summit in Tahoe, Monday, August 19, marks day 43 of the California Prisoners’ Hunger strike.  This is a life-and-death struggle California prisoners are waging for their humanity and basic rights – especially an end to long-term, indefinite solitary confinement, which is a form of torture – and widely labeled as such by international legal and human rights groups.

Caption: In this 1997 file photograph, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid walks with Vice President Al Gore at the Forest Service Lake Tahoe Visitor Center. / Mark Studyvin/RGJ


The flag over a war crimes courtroom in Camp Justice in this photo reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense on Oct. 17, 2012, during earlier pre-trial hearings for the five Guantanamo prisoners accused of orchestrating the 9/11. Pool photo by MICHELLE SHEPHARD/Toronto Star MICHELLE SHEPHARD / TORONTO STAR Read more here:
The flag over a war crimes courtroom in Camp Justice in this photo reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense on Oct. 17, 2012, during earlier pre-trial hearings for the five Guantanamo prisoners accused of orchestrating the 9/11. Pool photo by MICHELLE SHEPHARD/Toronto Star MICHELLE SHEPHARD / TORONTO STAR
Read more here:

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba – The defense attorney for the nephew of the alleged Sept. 11 attack mastermind got a first look at a mysterious prison where former CIA captives are kept here, and Sunday declared conditions at odds with the Geneva Convention governing how prisoners are treated.

Pentagon defense lawyer James Connell said he spent 12 hours on Thursday with his client Ammar al Baluchi inside the compound called Camp 7, a secret camp where captives who were waterboarded overseas and others are kept incommunicado.


August 17, 2013

A Hunger for Justice

AUGUST 17, 2013
ISSUE #189


The hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay prison passed the six-month mark in early August, with more than 50 prisoners still participating. Meanwhile, a hunger strike at Pelican Bay Prison in California for improved conditions, including an end to long-term solitary confinement, reached one month on August 8.

Read more:


August 18, 2013

The harsh reality of life inside Guantanamo Bay

Clockwise, from main: a Guantanamo detainee peers through a chain-link fence; a guard carries the leg shackles that are used to restrain prisoners; a guard tower overlooking the US facilityPhotographs: Paul J Richards/John Moore/Getty Images

For the hunger strikers, breakfast at Guantanamo begins with a visit from the emergency reaction force: five military police officers in riot gear, trained in the “forced cell extraction” of prisoners.

Caption: Clockwise, from main: a Guantanamo detainee peers through a chain-link fence; a guard carries the leg shackles that are used to restrain prisoners; a guard tower overlooking the US facilityPhotographs: Paul J Richards/John Moore/Getty Images


August 16, 2013

Los Angeles Times — Opinion Page — OP-ED

Tom Hayden on how to end California’s prison hunger strike

FRIDAY, AUGUST 16, 2013 AT 7:00AM


This op-ed originally appeared at the Los Angeles Times on August 16, 2013.

Both sides must set aside their profound differences and look at steps to relieve the worst elements of solitary confinement.

At least 300 inmates are now several weeks into a fast that could soon lead to organ failure and death for many of them. Events are moving rapidly, but as I write, nothing has been resolved. And, as California corrections chief Jeffrey Beard made clear recently in an Op-Ed for this newspaper, the sides are far apart.

Caption: Speaking in front of a life-sized replica of a Secure Housing Unit cell, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) speaks at a rally calling for the end of solitary confinement in California prisons at the Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli)

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OP-ED: Why are celebrities aiding prison gang leaders?

August 16, 2013 05:00 Sacramento Bee

Civil libertarians and Hollywood celebrities recently signed a letter voicing support for prisoners engaged in a hunger strike over conditions in the security housing unit at Pelican Bay State Prison.

They ought to save their outrage.

Inmates fomenting the hunger strike claim human rights are being violated. But they include killers and leaders of the most brutal gangs in the prison system. They are from the Aryan Brotherhood, Black Guerrilla Family, Mexican Mafia and Nuestra Familia. One shot-caller was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in federal indictments returned last week in Los Angeles seeking to disrupt Mexican Mafia operations.

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Strike: Life – Sized SHU Cell Installed on State Capitol Steps – 100 people rally to protest Prison Torture and Support Prisoners 5 Demands


On Wednesday, August 14, an extraordinarily urgent press conference, SHU replica installation and protest was held on the steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento, California, to expose the lies of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the silence of Governor Jerry Brown, and to demand that the authorities meet the prisoners’ 5 demands – including an end to the torture of indefinite, long-term solitary confinement.

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August 15, 2013

Guantanamo Bay Through The Eyes Of Artist Molly Crabapple


Molly Crabapple is a New York illustrator and artist who has aptly been called “equal parts Hieronymus Bosch, William S. Burroughs and Cirque du Soleil.” She recently visited the detention facility at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as only the third person allowed to draw the prison and court proceedings at what has become one of the most iconic and controversial plots of land in the world in the last decade. Her visit coincided with the pre-trial hearings of admitted 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators. And she wrote about it in an illustrated essay for VICE. TPM’s Catherine Thompson spoke to Crabapple last week about what she hoped to accomplish with her sketch pad in the face of 24/7 military escorts and in the midst of what she wrote was “a concentration camp on the Caribbean.” She returns to Gitmo later this month.

Read more:

August 14, 2013

Abu Ghraib Torture Victims Sued by Their Torturers

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer


‘Defense’ contractor CACI International has taken the shocking step of suing four former Abu Ghraib detainees who are seeking redress in U.S. courts for the company’s role in torturing, humiliating and dehumanizing them, with the U.S. corporation recently requesting that the judge order the plaintiffs—all of whom are Iraqi—to pay CACI for legal costs.

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Omar Khadr being illegally held as an adult, lawyer argues

By:  National Security Reporter, Published on Tue Aug 13 2013

Omar Khadr should be released from detention because the Canadian government is illegally imprisoning him as an adult for actions he committed as a youth, his lawyer says.

An application challenging the former Guantanamo Bay detainee’s imprisonment was filed in Alberta, where Khadr is being held in the maximum-security Edmonton Institution.

Caption: A lawyer for Omar Khadr, seen in a 2010 courtroom sketch, is arguing that Canada is illegally imprisoning him as an adult when the crimes he was convicted for were committed when he was a youth.

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Feinstein and Durbin: How to close Gitmo

By Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin

August 14, 2013

APphoto_Obama Guantanamo

The detention facility on our military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is holding 166 individuals. Most of them have been there a decade or more.

Operating Guantanamo costs about $450 million a year — or about $2.7 million a detainee, according to the Defense Department. Consider this: It costs $78,000 to hold a convicted terrorist in the most secure federal prison in the United States, Supermax in Colorado. With the sequesterstretching budgets and Defense Department employees under furloughs, the U.S. is spending, per Guantanamo detainee, roughly 35 times the amount it spends at Supermax detaining a convicted terrorist.

Caption: U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. (Brennan Linsley / Associated Press / March 8, 2011)

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August 12, 2013

Guantánamo Bay: the US was dead wrong, but no one can admit it

The Guardian Monday 12 August 2013 14.10 ED, John Grisham

Guantánamo Bay: 'Hundreds of Arabs have been sent to Gitmo, chewed up by the system, never charged and transferred back to their home countries.' Photograph: AFP/Getty ImagesAbout two months ago I learned that some of my books had been banned at Guantánamo Bay. Apparently detainees were requesting them, and their lawyers were delivering them to the prison, but they were not being allowed in because of “impermissible content”.

I became curious and tracked down a detainee who enjoys my books. His name is Nabil Hadjarab, and he is a 34-year-old Algerian who grew up in France. He learned to speak French before he learned to speak Arabic. He has close family and friends in France, but not in Algeria. As a kid growing up near Lyon, he was a gifted soccer player and dreamed of playing for Paris Saint-Germain, or another top French club.

Caption: Guantánamo Bay: ‘Hundreds of Arabs have been sent to Gitmo, chewed up by the system, never charged and transferred back to their home countries.’ Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

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Prison hunger strike enters month two

08.12.13 – 9:52 am | Parker Yesko

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 10.46.41 AM

As a hunger strike staged across California prisons enters its second month, inmates and their advocates are mourning the loss of Billy “Guero” Sells, a Corcoran State Prison inmate who committed suicide on July 22 after 14 days of fasting.

Advocates with the Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition counts Sells as the first casualty of the mass protest. Donna Willmott, a member of the coalition’s media committee, told the Bay Guardian that “people who knew him  believe that [suicide] was very uncharacteristic of him. As a coalition, we’re not saying, ‘no he didn’t commit suicide,’” Willmott added, “but we still think that the CDCR is responsible for what happened to him.”

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Prison Population in California Grew More Than 750 percent


Washington, Aug 12 (Prensa Latina) The number of inmates in California grew since 1970 up to 750 percent today, warned an editorial of The New York Times newspaper.

During the last quarter of this century many lawsuits have been brought against State prisons in California which are dangerously overcrowded, remarked the article.

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the overcrowding was such in the prisons that there were almost twice its design capacity, committing in that way the health and security of the prisoners. The court ordered the state to reduce its prison population by tens of thousands of prisoners.

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August 11, 2013

EDITORIAL: Don’t mistake expedients for real corrections reform

THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE August 11, 2013; 06:00 PM
California can comply with a federal court order to shrink the state prison population without widespread inmate releases. But the governor and Legislature should not mistake such short-term expedients for real reforms. Legislators still need to address the underlying conditions that helped create the jammed prisons.

The state no longer has any excuse for failing to obey a federal court order to reduce the number of inmates in state prisons, after the U.S. Supreme Court this month rejected the state’s request to postpone a Dec. 31 deadline. A three-judge panel in 2009 ordered the state to trim the prison population, then about 150,000, to 110,000 inmates. At the time, many prisons were crammed to nearly double their intended capacity. The state has eased prison crowding substantially since 2009, but still remains about 9,600 inmates above the court-ordered population cap.

Read more:

Prison overcrowding and offender releases

by Johann Koehler


Gov. Jerry Brown has known for some time that California’s Prison Realignment was unlikely to bring overcrowding within the CDCR’s facilities in line with the SCOTUS ruling in Brown v. Plata. When Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion upheld the three-court decision requiring the CDCR to bring down overcrowding from 175% to 137.5%, the State correctly identified that relieving the pressure in the chamber could be achieved in many ways: it could build more prisons; it could invest in smart and effective probation measures; it could tinker with the sentencing rules; or it could mobilise county facilities to do jobs that were historically reserved for the state. It ultimately settled on the fourth option.

The state’s effort to transfer inmates from state facilities into county jails was a move of legal and political ingenuity. It enabled the Governor to assure citizens that he wasn’t releasing offenders, as Alito had forewarned in his dissent to Brown v. Plata, and it evaded having to raise vast amounts of money to build new prisons, thus protecting Brown’s re-election prospects for 2014.

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August 10, 2013

Ex-MI6 officer joins Guantánamo inmate in hunger strike

Former MI6 officer Harry Ferguson. Photograph: Gerard Farrell

A former MI6 officer will begin a week-long hunger strike on Monday in solidarity with the Guantánamo Bay detention camp prisoner Shaker Aamer, a move he says is prompted by shame over the behaviour of the British intelligence service he once served.

Harry Ferguson, 52, will attempt to fast for a week to highlight the plight of Aamer, the last UK resident being held at the US military camp, who has been on hunger strike for more than 170 days. The former MI6 operative, who took part in the fight against terrorism, said he was motivated by a regret that the “organisation of which I was once proud to be a member now supports policies including assassination, rendition, torture and detention without trial”.

Caption: Former MI6 officer Harry Ferguson. Photograph: Gerard Farrell

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After Guantánamo, Another Injustice

By John Grisham  Published by the NYtimes

Joe Raedle/Getty Images A restraint chair used to force-feed detainees at the military hospital at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

ABOUT two months ago I learned that some of my books had been banned at Guantánamo Bay. Apparently detainees were requesting them, and their lawyers were delivering them to the prison, but they were not being allowed in because of “impermissible content.”

I became curious and tracked down a detainee who enjoys my books. His name is Nabil Hadjarab, and he is a 34-year-old Algerian who grew up in France. He learned to speak French before he learned to speak Arabic. He has close family and friends in France, but not in Algeria. As a kid growing up near Lyon, he was a gifted soccer player and dreamed of playing for Paris St.-Germain, or another top French club.

Caption: Joe Raedle/Getty Images A restraint chair used to force-feed detainees at the military hospital at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

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Just released – Song for Pelican Bay: They’re Not Eating Any More

– by David Rovics ( – 5th week of Pelican Bay Hunger Strike

Fast Tube by Casper

Shocking Mos Def video sheds light on force-feeding of Gitmo detainees

Fast Tube by Casper

L.A Times — By Alexandra Le Tellier  July 8, 2013, 12:43 p.m.

What is it like to be force-fed by a tube jammed up your nose while shackled to a restraint chair? MosDef demonstrates the procedure in a stomach-churning new video on the Guardian’s website meant to shed light on what the Guantanamo Bay detainees on hunger strike are suffering.

In the video, which was made by Reprieve, an organization fighting to protect human rights of prisoners, the actor and rapper also known as Yasiin Bey is seen in an orange jumpsuit, shackled to a chair. He is writhing in pain, gagging, screaming, crying and begging for the procedure to end.

It is impossible to watch it without feeling absolutely gutted. And worse, this is what our country is doing in Guantanamo.

In a Sunday Op-Ed about force-feeding detainees at Gitmo, Alka Pradhan, Kent Eiler and Katherine Hawkins, who worked for the Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment, warned:

Putting detainees in lockdown and force-feeding them in restraints can postpone deaths, but it cannot prevent them indefinitely. Prolonged force-feeding carries its own medical risks, and Guantanamo detainees have killed themselves even in the highest security sections of the prison. There have been seven suicides.

They called on President Obama to put an end to force-feeding detainees by taking the appropriate steps to end the hunger strike.

As the president said in a speech on May 23, force-feeding detainees who have been held without charge for more than a decade is unacceptable: “Is that who we are? Is that something our founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave our children?”

Unfortunately, the detainees at Guantanamo no longer place much hope in Obama’s promise to close the prison. Since the president’s speech, the number of detainees being force-fed has increased by at least 13. The administration must move as swiftly as possible to exercise its authority to restart transfers out of Guantanamo, beginning with those detainees previously cleared for transfer. Exercising that authority is the best chance to end the hunger strike.

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August 8, 2013 


Mediators talk with prisoners as hunger strike reaches one month mark, situation remains critical, negotiations crucial – by Isaac Ontiveros, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition Hunger-strike-outreach-Venice-Beach-072813-by-Keith-JamesOakland, Aug. 8, 2013

Today marks one month for prisoners on hunger strike throughout the California prison system. Earlier today, the mediation team working on behalf of the strikers was able to speak to the prisoners at Pelican Bay who initially called for the strike. Just moments ago members of the mediation team issued the following statement: “All of the members of our mediation team were able to speak with hunger strike representatives at Pelican Bay for two-and-a-half hours. All four representatives are totally united and resolute. They were clear that this peaceful protest is not about them – it is about making real, fundamental changes to an incredibly unjust system. “They haven’t eaten for 32 days but they are cogent, focused and committed. “We were able to work together to develop new ideas about how to move forward, which we’ll be acting on over the next few days. The mediation team will be staying in contact with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and issuing statements daily.” Reports from prisoners at Pelican Bay indicate escalated mistreatment from guards in the Administrative Segregation and Security Housing Units. Prisoners report being verbally abused by guards and overhearing them discussing orders “to treat some prisoners really nicely and others really badly.”

Caption: Hunger striker supporters drew many curious people to a display at Venice Beach on the last weekend in July. – Photo: Keith James

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What the Guantanamo Hunger Strikers Achieved

   Assist. Professor of Sociology, Univ. of Denver,  8/8/2013

On July 24, Congress held its first hearing on Guantanamo since 2009. Remarkably, little has changed in the past four years. Guantanamo, of course, remains open, and the politics surrounding the facility remain divisive. Not even the Democrats’ arguments for closing the facility have changed much, although members of the party now repeatedly note that maintaining Guantanamo is expensive, costing the U.S. over $2 million per

Hunger Strikeprisoner per year. Though so little in American politics has changed, the debate about Guantanamo feels — and genuinely seems — renewed. Two months ago, President Obama addressed Guantanamo and the force feeding of hunger strikers there in a high-profile, national security speech. Between that speech and this week’s hearing, federal courts have issued a spate of rulings on Guantanamo, one of which sharply criticized the force feeding of detainees as “a painful, humiliating, and degrading process.” The Pentagon has also gotten involved, recently announcing that it will assess whether seventy-one detainees at the facility remain threats to the U.S.

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Top enlisted sailor at Guantanamo hospital suspended

Stars and Stripes
Published: August 8, 2013
Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Robert Banuelos, left, and Capt. Daryl K. Daniels, commanding officer of U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay.
Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Robert Banuelos, left, and Capt. Daryl K. Daniels, commanding officer of U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay.

WASHINGTON – The Navy announced Thursday the suspension of the command master chief at U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay of his duties for alleged misconduct.

The hospital’s commander, Capt. Daryl K. Daniels, relieved Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Robert Banuelos of his duties “due to lack of confidence because of allegations of personal misconduct” that remain under investigation, according to a press release from the hospital.

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Prisoner hunger strike Day 32: Countdown for humane conditions – by Barbara Becnel, Mediation Team member Aug. 8, 2013 –

Today is the one-month anniversary of a hunger strike initiated by prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison that quickly spread to other correctional facilities across the state of California. To be precise, it is Day 32 of a month-long period of no solid foods for what are now hundreds of prisoners. Hunger-Striker-Billy-Sell-altar-made-by-Dendron-Utter-Oscar-Grant-Plaza-073013-by-Molly-BatchelderThese are men risking their lives to insist on humane conditions and certain terms for those prisoners who have otherwise been banished to indefinite sentences of solitary confinement in California’s prison system. Many of these men have been isolated for decades with no windows, no contact visits, no outside sunlight and no real exercise. Recent reports from these prisoners demonstrate that their brave efforts have been made all the more difficult by prison guards who are treating them very harshly. Guards are knocking them into walls, handcuffing them incorrectly to cause suffering and bending their arms to provoke extreme pain. Guards are spitting out racial epithets or deliberately placing an African American prisoner, for example, in a cell with racist graffiti.

Caption: One martyr to the hunger strikers’ struggle for human rights and an end to the torture that is solitary confinement has already fallen. This altar to the outstanding artist Billy Michael Sell, known as Guero, was created for a recent demonstration at Oakland’s Oscar Grant Plaza in support of the strike. – Photo: Molly Batchelder

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August 7, 2013

Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers’ Stories: Lorenzo Benton

Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00 By Lorenzo BentonTruthout | Report

The following letter by Pelican Bay Secure Housing Unit inmate Lorenzo Benton was addressed to Truthout contributor Victoria Law. July 28, 2013 My cordial greetings, Vikki! As always, with the sharing of respect, concerns, and appreciation, it does one good to share this time with you. Received your letter from July 16th on the 26th of July, and as it was my 18th day within this current hunger strike, it discovered me not in the best of wear – mentally my mind appears to be a lot clearer, but physically my body and energy are undergoing a transformation (reduction) in performance … so even though all is not as it should be, I remain within a positive state of being (all things considered) and with that being the case, I trust that you and yours are well as one moves forward within life and contribute[s] to its well-being. IMG_0149Now with this hunger strike about to enter its fourth week of endurance, I have been maintaining a practice of approximately 20 cups of water a day, no physical exercises, and a lot of reading and a little writing per day to sustain my physical and mental health as best as I can (so far so good). On July 25, 2013, prison officials started to offer those of us on hunger strike status packages of vitamins (multivitamins and vitamin B and C: a 30-day allotment) and 2 packets of Gatorade powder to minimize potential damage to our bodies. The latter action was as a result of our main reps making known to prison officials and our outside reps that we are in fact on a solid food hunger strike and not a liquid one, so should not be precluded from drinking other liquids besides water. So as of July 25th, vitamins and other liquids (electrolyte) were provided us, so as it stand[s] now, it appears that as one journeys further into this hunger strike, one’s body will be able to last a little longer with the addition of these supplements as we seek to bring these actions to a just conclusion, as we put our bodies/lives on the line. And that’s where I stand. So far, prison officials have taken the following actions against those of us on hunger strike and those who are not:

  • On July 11th (the fourth day of the hunger strike), prison officials removed from our environment all of the main reps and just about all of the secondary reps and placed them in Ad-Seg [administrative segregation] with none of their personal property. Later, though, it was reported they were provided with all of their legal work, but no appliances, a few days later.
  • On July 12th, prison officials removed all canteen food items (including drinks and vitamins) from all hunger strike participants in my environment.
  • On/from July 8 to 17, 2013, all hunger strike participants were denied access to the recreation yard, but [that] was restored July 18th.
  • On July 20, 2013, prison officials started issuing out CDC-115 rule violation reports to all hunger strike participants within my environment, charging us with allegedly willfully delaying a peace officer (participation in a mass hunger strike).
  • On July 24, 2013, prison officials started moving/separating all hunger strike participants from non-participants in the Short Corridor, placing all participants in a pod together. This was completed on July 25, 2013.

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Security threat from Yemen complicates Obama’s Guantanamo plan

Washington Post  By , Published: August 7 E-mail the writer

The recent security threat emanating from Yemen has complicated President Obama’s latest push to close the military prison at Guantanamoyemen Bay, Cuba, reviving doubts among conservative lawmakers about whether it is safe to return Yemeni detainees to their turbulent home country.More than half of the 166 prisoners being held in Guantanamo are from Yemen, and the transfer of many of them is essential to Obama’s long-promised goal of closing the detention center.

But the recent threat involving al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the terrorist group’s Yemen-based branch is known, underlines the national security and political obstacles ahead. The United States and other countries this week shut down their embassies in Yemen, citing concerns about security. “Since it’s now well-known that Yemen-based al-Qaeda is actively plotting against us, I don’t see how the president can honestly say any detainee should be transferred to Yemen,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement. “Sending them to countries where al-Qaeda and its affiliates operate and continue to attack our interests is not a solution.” It is not the first time that Yemen has emerged as the prime obstacle to Obama’s attempt to close the prison, which he has called an important terrorist recruiting tool and a $350 million annual burden on the strained federal budget.

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Yemen turmoil could stall Obama’s effort to empty Guantánamo



Police in an armored vehicle secure a road leading to the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. The State Department on Tuesday ordered non-essential personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen to leave the country. The department said in a travel warning that it had ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen "due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks" and said U.S. citizens in Yemen should leave immediately because of an "extremely high" security threat level. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) HANI MOHAMMED / AP Read more here:
Police in an armored vehicle secure a road leading to the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. The State Department on Tuesday ordered non-essential personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen to leave the country. The department said in a travel warning that it had ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen “due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks” and said U.S. citizens in Yemen should leave immediately because of an “extremely high” security threat level. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) HANI MOHAMMED / AP
Read more here:

WASHINGTON – Turmoil in Yemen and the warnings of attacks that prompted the United States to shut diplomatic missions across the Middle East could hinder President Barack Obama’s plans to close Guantánamo Bay prison.

Read more here:

August 6, 2013

Shaker Aamer And Other Guantánamo Prisoners Call Force-Feeding Torture, Ask Appeals Court for Help – OpEd

Eurasia Review By   August 6, 2013

On June 30, as I reported here, lawyers for four prisoners in Guantánamo — Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, Nabil Hadjarab Shaker Aamerand Ahmed Belbacha, both Algerians, and Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian — filed a motion with the District Court in Washington D.C., asking a judge to issue a ruling compelling the government to “stop force-feeding in the prison and stop force-medicating prisoners, particularly with Reglan, a drug used by the US during the force-feeding process that when used for extended periods of time can cause severe neurological disorders, including one that mimics Parkinson’s disease,” as it was described in a press release by Reprieve, the London-based legal action charity whose lawyers filed the motion, along with Jon B. Eisenberg in the US. The men are amongst the 86 prisoners (out of the 166 men still held), who were cleared for release by the inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force, established by President Obama when he took office in 2009. In addition, all are involved in the prison-wide hunger strike that began six months ago, and both Nabil Hadjarab and Ahmed Belbacha are amongst the 41 prisoners who are being force-fed. Although the prisoners made a compelling argument for the need for intervention, the judge ruling in Abu Wa’el Dhiab’s case, Judge Gladys Kessler, was unable to grant the motion, because of a legal precedent from February 2009, when, in the case of Mohammed al-Adahi, a Yemeni who sought to stop his force-feeding, a court ruled that “no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any other action against the United States or its agents relating to any aspect of the detention, transfer, treatment, trial, or conditions of confinement of an alien who is or was detained by the United States and has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant.”

Caption: Shaker Aamer: ‘The administration at Guantánamo is doing everything they can to break our hunger strike.’ Photograph: Reprieve UK/PA R

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Guantánamo: 4,000 days in limbo

Livewire – Amnesty International’s Blog 6 August 2013 by Livewire Teamobaidullah-230x300

Imagine this. You are 19 years old, asleep in your family home in a remote rural village. In the middle of the night, foreign soldiers burst in. They put a hood over your head and force you to sit against a wall. You are terrified. After a few hours, bound hand and foot and still hooded, you are taken to a military base. There you are physically assaulted, interrogated, threatened with a knife, and deprived of sleep and food. You fear you will be killed. After what you think is about 48 hours – your disorientation makes it difficult to know for sure – you are bundled, still hooded and shackled, into a helicopter and flown to another, larger military facility. There the interrogations and abuse continue. Three months later, you are taken from your cell, your head is shaved, you are put into shackles and blacked-out goggles, and you and some others are thrown into a transport plane and tied down like cargo.

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August 5, 2013

Gitmo Architect Says Gitmo Shouldn’t Have Been Built

Published on Monday, August 5, 2013 by Common Dreams - Andrea Germanos, staff writer

William Lietzau, the Pentagon detainee policy head with history of defending indefinite detention, now says notorious prison was a mistake

A key architect of the Guantánamo Bay prison is now saying it should never have opened.obamaclosegitmo_1_0 William Lietzau, the Pentagon’s top official on detainee policy, made the statement in an interview with the UK’s The Mail on Sunday. Instead, Lietzau told the paper, the prisoners should have been labeled prisoners of war and “held in Afghanistan,” or, if they were charged with a crime, they should have been charged in federal courts, not the military commissions—the commissions he helped develop. Further, he charged, George W. Bush’s label of “‘the global war on terrorism’ had suffered from a lack of clarity, suggesting that it might be effectively limitless.” On torture at the prison, he said, “There were people who were treated badly, and this is not something we are proud of,” and dismissed widespread reports of ongoing torture.

Caption: Photo: Justin Norman/cc/flickr

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Bagram: Torture, Detention Without End at US Military’s ‘Other Guantanamo’

Published on Monday, August 5, 2013 by Common Dreams  - Sarah Lazare, staff writerbagram

The US military has no plan to close the infamous Bagram prison in Afghanistan—often referred to as the “other Guantanamo“—despite claims it is winding down the US-led war in Afghanistan. “Is there a plan [to close the prison]? No,” Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, told the Washington Post in a report published Monday. Top officials admitted a few weeks ago that there is no end in sight to the prison. “Our impression is that Bagram will remain open even after U.S. combat operations cease in December 2014,” Pentagon spokesperson Todd Breasseale told Rolling Stone in late July. In March, approximately 3,000 Afghan inmates were handed over to the Afghan authorities, who in exchange gave the US permission to continue running the prison for “third party nationals.” Despite widely publicized claims that the US handed over control of the prison to Afghan authorities, the US in fact maintains a powerful role at the prison and complete control over the 67 non-Afghan prisoners, two thirds of them Pakistani, with many captured in other countries and transported to the prison.

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Caption: A lone soldier walks the wall at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan (Photo: J Smith/Flickr Creative Commons)

Oakland State Building Protest: Protest lock themselves to door1098368_506948649393780_1805777616_n

August 5, 2013, Oakland— At 8:00am this morning, protestors locked themselves to the doors of the Oakland State Building at 1515 Clay St. in solidarity with the California Prisoner Hunger Strike and called for Governor Brown and the CDCR to enter honest negotiations to meet the hunger strikers 5 demands. The demands are an end to long term solitary confinement, comprehensive changes in draconian “anti-gang” policies, an end to collective punishment, and the provision of nutritious food and constructive programs and educational services.


August 4, 2013

PJ Harvey Releases New Track ‘Shaker Aamer’ for Guantanamo Detainee

By   August 4, 2013 11:49 AM ET

PJ Harvey released a new track on Saturday to draw attention to the case of a British resident detained at Guantanamo Bay. Following in the dark, politically charged vein of 2011′s Let England Shake, “Shaker Aamer” describes the agony of its title subject’s four-month hunger strike as he endures the prison’s feeding tubes, restraining chairs and shackles.pj song Shaker Aamer Aamer is the last British resident remaining in the US prison. According to the Guardian, the 46-year-old has been held at Guantanamo for more than 11 years without being charged or tried. He was cleared for release in 2007, and the British government has repeatedly requested that Aamer, who has a British wife and four British-born children, be returned to the UK. While the US announced last week that it would restart its repatriation of low-level detainees from Guantanamo, Aamer’s supporters fear that he will be sent to his birthplace of Saudi Arabia for imprisonment instead. Guantanamo Bay: Stories From Inside the World’s Most Infamous Jail ”We hope that people listen to this song and think about Shaker Aamer’s plight: detained for eleven long years at Guantanamo, without charge or trial – despite having been cleared for release by both Bush and Obama,” Clive Stafford Smith, Aamer’s lawyer and director of the prisoners’ rights nonprofit Reprieve, said in a statement on Harvey’s website. “The UK Government must do everything it can to bring Shaker back home to his wife and kids in London, where he belongs. PJ Harvey has written a wonderful song – I know Shaker will be deeply moved by it – and I only hope that, with the support of the public, he will one day be able to listen to it in freedom.” Photo caption: PJ Harvey performs in London by Matt Kent/WireImage

August 3, 2013

US denies Russia access to Russian held at illegal Guantanamo site

16IMG_2150The Voice of Russia  August 3,  2013 Radio: Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reports that talks that had been ongoing between Russia and the United States on the visit of a Russian delegation to the illegal Guantanamo Bay U.S. “terror” prison to meet with a Russian national kept there for over a decade without formal charges have come to a deadlock. Read more:

Prison breakouts in Iraq, Pakistan and Libya endanger Guantánamo closure

The Times  Annabel Symington and Tom Coghlan  12:01AM, August 3 2013
Explosive attacks to free militants will damage US anti-terror policy times of london prison break in Iraq
It was named the “Campaign of Breaking Walls” by al-Qaeda in Iraq — co-ordinated assaults on prisons using heavy weapons and suicide bombers to free militant colleagues. The vulnerability of prisons has been shown in the past ten days with a spate of mass breakouts that have freed nearly 1,700 prisoners in three countries. Analysts said that the four jailbreaks, in Iraq, Pakistan and Libya, could complicate the US Government’s plans to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay.

Obama praises Yemeni leader, makes no mention of Guantanamo

U.S. President Obama listens to his Yemeni counterpart Hadi during a meeting in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama praised Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi for his work combating terrorism but made no mention of efforts to repatriate detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison in public remarks at the White House on Thursday.

Aug. 2, 2013

Advocates for inmates on hunger strike offer Calif. prison chief ideas to improve conditions

Associated Press, Published August 02, 2013
SACRAMENTO, Calif. –  Advocates for inmates on a hunger strike to protest California’s solitary confinement program met with the state prisons chief on Friday as they pushed for an end to practices they say are inhumane.banner-support-the-hunger-strike-at-pelican-bay-at-sf-state-bldg-rally-070111-by-paul-sakuma-ap
Mediators who support the protesting inmates issued a statement after the hour-long meeting with Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard, saying they offered ideas for ending the hunger strike and improving prison conditions that include indeterminate sentences in isolation units.
“He received us well and listened to our concerns and those of the prisoners and their families,” the statement said.
Ron Ahnen, president of California Prison Focus, who was among those who met with Beard, declined to elaborate on the secretary’s response to their suggestions.
More than 300 inmates have refused all meals since the strike began on July 8. About 30,000 inmates initially participated.
Corrections officials declined to immediately comment on the specifics of Friday’s meeting. But spokesman Jeffrey Callison said before the meeting that Beard intended to explain the changes California has already made to the confinement program.
Those include policy revisions allowing some inmates classified as gang members to be moved out of the units without having to inform on other inmates.
This is the third hunger strike launched since 2011 to protest living conditions in those prison units, where 4,500 gang members, gang associates and serious offenders are held.
The meeting occurred shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling paving the way for the early release of nearly 10,000 California inmates. A majority of the court rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s emergency request to halt a lower court’s directive for the early release of prisoners, which is intended to ease severe overcrowding at California’s 33 adult prisons.

Have I Lost Hope at Guantanamo?

Posted: 02/08/2013 00:00
By Shaker Aamer
Guantanamo Sept 11 Trial
My name is Shaker. I am also known as Sawad Al-Madany because I was born in the Holy City of Medina. Please can you remember these names for me, because I hardly can anymore.
Here, they call me 239. In fact, I call myself 239. It feels so strange to witness my name slipping away from me. I can’t do anything about it. I wonder how long it is going to take for all of us here in Guantánamo to slip away from the world’s memory?

Zawahri vows al Qaeda to free Guantanamo inmates Still image from video shows Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri speaking from an unknown location(Reuters) – Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri slammed U.S. treatment of hunger striking inmates at Guantanamo Bay and said the group would spare no effort to free them, according to an audio recording posted on the Internet on Wednesday.

Photo Caption: DUBAI | Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:19am EDT

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Guantánamo Bay inmates will be freed vows al-Qaida chief Zawahiri

Leader’s online recording condemns US over hunger-striking detainees at Cuba base and drone strikes ‘aimed at Guantánamo protest, Washington DC, July 2013Islamists’ Reuters in Dubai - The al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has denounced US treatment of hunger-striking inmates at Guantánamo Bay, saying his organisation will spare no effort to free them, according to a recording posted online on Wednesday. “The [hunger] strike by our brothers at Guantánamo unmasks the true ugly face of America,” Zawahiri said in the audio recording on an Islamist website, the authenticity of which could not be verified. “We pledge to God that we will spare no effort to free all our prisoners, on top of whom are Omar Abdel Rahman, Aafia Siddiqui, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, and every oppressed Muslim everywhere,” he said, referring to prominent Islamist militants held by the US. He did not elaborate on what al-Qaida intended to do, but militants have in the past kidnapped westerners and sought to trade them for jailed comrades. Al-Qaida also claimed responsibility for simultaneous raids on two Iraqi jails last week in which the group said more than 500 inmates were set free. And in Pakistan Taliban members broke 250 prisoners out of a prison on Tuesday.

Caption: Protesters in Washington DC highlighting the Guantánmo Bay hunger strikes in July. Photograph: Paul J Richards/AFP/Getty

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July 30, 2013 How Solitary Confinement in Pelican Bay Almost Drove Me Mad 

New America Media, Commentary, Michael Cabral, Posted: Jul 30, 2013

Michael Cabral has served ten years on a 15-Life sentence for murder, beginning when he was still a juvenile. His first two and a half years were spent in the Pelican Bay SHU. He spent time in Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, and is currently at Corcoran State Prison. His writing has appeared often in The Beat Within, NAM’s weekly publication of writing and art by juvenile detainees, and NAM has published previous commentaries from him.


How can I make anyone understand what it’s like to cling desperately to the hope of someday being heard because that’s the only hope left? That’s one reason why the hunger strike going on across California’s prisons matters. It might just keep that hope alive for prisoners locked down in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing and Administrative Segregation Units (known as the SHU). At the age of eighteen years, four months, and six days, I was cast into the SHU where I stayed for two and half years, alone, without a window, a television, or a radio. (Mail, when it came, was delayed for months at a time.) My only real distractions were the terrifying and gut-wrenching sounds and smells of grown men reaching their breaking points: crying, screaming, banging; blood and feces being smeared on walls and bodies; Correctional Officers (C/Os) yelling, shooting pepper spray… and puking. I found a small measure of comfort in books and in treasured conversations through the ventilation system, with older men whose faces I’d never see (conversing with anyone face-to-face was so rare as to be nonexistent). There was also the sound of my door being padlocked shut whenever there was a tsunami warning, meaning that if a tsunami did wash over us, the inmates’ only hope is that death comes quickly. Maybe that sound was the most dehumanizing of all, because to realize you matter so little to other human beings is not a feeling one gets used to, or ever forgets. There were seven inmate suicides during my time in the SHU. None of them surprised me. As an eighteen-year-old with my entire life ahead of me, I understood why people wanted to die.

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July 24, 2013 Senate debates Guantánamo in first hearing on closing prison since 2009

Dick Durbin and Ted Cruz face off over what to do with detainees housed at US military site where 69 are on hunger strike

Associated Press in Washington:

Deep divisions among members of a Senate panel over whether to close the US detention center at Guantánamo BayCuba, underscore the uphill battle President Barack Obama faces in fulfilling a five-year-old promise to shutter the facility.guantanamo senate hearing Opening the first Senate hearing on closing Guantánamo since 2009, senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, said Wednesday that it’s time to end a “sad chapter” in American history and close Guantánamo. The Obama administration can do more to begin closing the prison, according to Durbin, but he said the blame for the failure to shutter the much-maligned facility rests primarily with Congress. Restrictions enacted by Congress on the transfer of terror suspects at Guantánamo – including a ban on moving detainees to the US – have undercut President Barack Obama’s authority and made it nearly impossible to close the facility, he said. “It’s time to lift these restrictions and move forward with shutting down Guantánamo prison,” said Durbin, the Senate’s No 2 Democrat and chairman of the Senate judiciary subcommittee on the constitution, civil rights and human rights.

Caption:  Silent protesters holding photos of Guantánamo detainees watch the Senate debate on Wednesday. Photograph:J Scott Applewhite/AP

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Protest at Hart Senate Building In Support of Hunger Strikers

By Staff,
July 30th, 2013



Today, activists called on Congress and the White House to take action before they take their summer vacation.  The protested in support of hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay and the Pelican Bay Prison in California as well as in support of people held in solitary confinement all over the world.  Several of the participants in the protest are in the midst of long term solidarity hunger strikes. Six people were arrested: Tarak Kauff, Margaret Flowers, Jay Wenk, Will Thomas, Cynthia Papermaster and Crystal Zevon.

Guantanamo Officials Dole Out Solitary Confinement, Beatings to Break Hunger Strike

Yemeni detainee: “I have not done anything for this.”

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer
Photo: Jordan P/cc/flickr
Photo: Jordan P/cc/flickr
A first-hand account from a prisoner at Guantánamo reveals the abusive tactics prison authorities are using to break the prisoners’ hunger strike.

A colonel in charge said that “Any person who continues on the hunger strike will be moved to a solitary confinement and will be removed from communal areas,” Yemeni detainee Samir Moqbel told his lawyer, Cori Crider, who works with the UK-based charity Reprieve.

July 26, 2013

2 Guantanamo detainees to be repatriated to Algeria – White House

Published time: July 26, 2013 18:50

Guantanamo bay prison.(AFP Photo / John Moore)
Guantanamo bay prison.(AFP Photo / John Moore)

Washington said it intends to send two Guantanamo Bay detainees back home to Algeria. The Obama administration made the decision “in consultation with the Congress,” according to a White House spokesperson.

 Why, Mr President, Is Guantanamo Bay Still Open?

 Legal Director, Reprieve

This image reviewed by the US military s

“A symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law.” These arePresident Obama’s recent words on Guantanamo Bay, the military prison he rules as commander-in-chief. But as Gitmo’s infamous hunger strike enters its sixth month, it is increasingly plain that we have not one, but two administrations on Guantánamo Bay.

The first – the administration of President Obama’s speeches – regrets the prison, promises a new push to close it, and finds force-feeding repulsive, if necessary. It says: “Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are on hunger strike…. Is that who we are? Is that something that our founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children?”


July 25, 2013

White House skips Senate’s first Gitmo hearing in 5 years

RT Published time: July 25, 2013 05:00
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee July 24, 2013 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo / Win McNamee)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee July 24, 2013 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo / Win McNamee)

Though president Obama recommitted to closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in May, the first Senate hearing in five years held to discuss precisely that topic was notable for the lack of any White House witnesses.

On Wednesday, the Senate held its first hearing since 2009 on whether to shut down Guantanamo.  It was chaired by Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill, one of the strongest proponents of the facility’s closure, who came up with a suggestion of how to do just that.

We can transfer most of the detainees to foreign countries. And we can bring the others to the United States, where they can be tried in federal court or held under the law of war until the end of hostilities,” Durbin said as cited by AP.

This vision seemed unacceptable to some of the Republican Senators, as RT’s Liz Wahl reported from the hearing.

July 24, 3013 

Lawmakers Blast Guantanamo’s $2.7 Million Per Prisoner Cost Patricia ZengerleReuters Jul. 24, 2013,  comments #4

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic lawmakers pushing to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay said on Wednesday its cost has skyrocketed to $2.7 million per inmate this year and argued it is too expensive to keep open while the country is fighting budget deficits.

prisoners gitmo soccer“This is a massive waste of money,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the base.

Guantanamo has been dubbed the most expensive prison on Earth, and President Barack Obama in May cited its cost – then calculated at about $900,000 per prisoner – as one of many reasons to close it.

Representative Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, testified during the hearing that the current cost of operating the facility has jumped to $454 million in the fiscal year ended September 30, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, or about $2.7 million for each of the 166 inmates.

Smith said overall, $4.7 billion has been spent running Guantanamo since the facility opened in 2002.

By comparison, super-maximum security prisons in the United States spend about $60,000 to $70,000 at most to house their inmates, analysts say.

Advocates for closure also argue that holding prisoners for years without charge or trial is a stain on the United States. They say Guantanamo is a threat to national security because it is a powerful recruiting tool for militants.

Read more:

 July 23, 3013

Retired Military Leaders Urge Senate Committee to Close Guantanamo

Washington, DC – On the eve of a Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights hearing about the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 26 of the nation’s most respected retired military leaders are urging members of the committee to support steps to shutter the facility.

In a letter to subcommittee Chairman Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Ranking Member Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), the retired admirals and generals wrote: “Terrorists aim to sow fear, and thereby to cause us to change who we are.  We should demonstrate our moral courage by standing true to our values and laws.  Closing Guantanamo is a necessary step forward in reaffirming our commitments to ourselves and to the world.  We welcome this Committee’s hearing on Guantanamo and urge the Committee to explore how to remove any remaining impediments to closing the Guantanamo chapter in our history.”

Read more:

Watch live stream from: Witness Against Torture


Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) force-fed under standard Guantánamo Bay procedure – video

Fast Tube by Casper

As Ramadan begins, more than 100 hunger-strikers in Guantánamo Bay continue their protest. More than 40 of them are being force-fed. A leaked document sets out the military instructions, or standard operating procedure, for force-feeding detainees. In this four-minute film made by Human Rights organisation Reprieve and Bafta award-winning director Asif Kapadia, US actor and rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), experiences the procedure

Watch video published July 9, 2013:

July 20, 2013

The Public Record
Jul 20th, 2013
The American Flag waving in the wind outside of Guantanamo’s prison camps. Photo taken by Jason Leopold at Guantanamo in May 2013.
The American Flag waving in the wind outside of Guantanamo’s prison camps. Photo taken by Jason Leopold at Guantanamo in May 2013.
 Attorneys representing Guantanamo prisoners were notified by a government official late Friday night that the men who the Obama administration has determined can neither be prosecuted nor released will finally have their cases reviewed to determine whether they should still be indefinitely detained.
In an email I obtained, retired Navy Rear Admiral Norton C. Joerg, who last year was appointed by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to the position of director, periodic review secretariat, said, “a new Periodic Review Board (PRB) process will review the continued detention of certain detainees to assess whether continued law of war detention is necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”

July 19, 2013

Frankie Boyle joins hunger strike in support of Guantánamo prisoner

Scottish comedian tweets updates to fans while fasting to protest treatment of last British detainee Shaker Aamer


Comedian Frankie Boyle has started a hunger strike in solidarity with Guantánamo Bay prisoner Shaker Aamer, who has been striking for 150 Frankie Boyledays.

Boyle began fasting yesterday, joining Aamer’s lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, who had already been fasting for seven days. Stafford Smith had previously tweeted that the comic was prepared to “take over from me when I fall” in the protest, which aims to raise awareness of Guantanamo prisoners on hunger strike, some of whom have reportedly been force-fed.

Boyle has been posting updates on his Twitter feed, after sending his congratulations to Stafford Smith for his actions so far. Yesterday, he signalled the start of his shift by tweeting, “There’s no feeling on earth like being on hunger strike in a Dutch beach bar while they blast out Abba’s Dancing Queen.” Hours later, he added: “Well Day 1 of hunger not too bad. But let’s remember who’s really suffering. My local pizza shop. I jest.”

This morning, he described the start of his second day as feeling “a bit like being drunk.”

According to Stafford Smith, British actress Julie Christie has also agreed to undertake a week of the joint hunger strike.

Aamer is the last British resident imprisoned in Guantánamo, where he has been held without charge since 2002.

As of Saturday, 96 of the 166 prisoners at the detention centre were still being classified as hunger strikers by the US army, down from a high of 106.

Human rights lawyers claim those figures are being wilfully underestimated.

Aamer has twice attempted to pass Stafford Smith a list of those striking, but on both occasions names have been deleted by army censors. On 14 June, Aamer wrote a letter claiming “for sure” that 120 prisoners were on strike, despite an official count of 104.

Photo Caption: Frankie Boyle: fasting felt ‘a bit like being drunk’. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

Pelican Bay Emergency Alert! Take action to help prisoners!

The California Department of Corrections and ‘Rehabilitation’ (CDCr) began to retaliate against the vocal spokespeople for the hunger strikers, in Pelican Bay and Corcoran State Prisons.  Our Pledge of Resistance Alert today will focus on the extreme brutality of prison authorities against the Representatives of the hunger strikers in Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California.

The CDCr is also trying to undermine legal and community support of the hunger strikers. They have just issued ‘banning’ orders to Marilyn McMahon, an attorney for many of the Reps in Pelican Bay, denying her access to her clients.

Please be determined and polite in trying to send your phone and email messages. Whether you get a voice or a voice mail, they will know you are watching them, and want them to Stop the Torture.

Clic here for specific action suggestions


Compliance Or Exploitation? Guantanamo Bay Force-Feeds Muslim Inmates  Rashaad Mubarak July 19, 2013

Muslim Inmates force-fed in GitmoRamadan is obligatory for all Muslims; only those who are diabetic, ill, and pregnant are exempt from this. Even the inmates of Guantanamo Bay, who are Muslim, participate in Ramadan and abstain from food, water, and intercourse. The guards of Guantanamo Bay respect this religious belief and allow Muslim inmates to participate in Ramadan. But cruelty manifests as the Guantanamo Bay guards force-feed hunger-striking Muslim inmates before sunrise and after sunset, complying with the guidelines of Ramadan.

“We understand that observing the daytime fast and taking nothing by mouth or vein is an essential component of Muslim observance of Ramadan,” said a prison spokesman. “And for those detainees on hunger strike, we will ensure that our preservation of life through enteral feeding does not violate the tenets of their faith.” Thus, Guantanamo Bay officials may respect religious beliefs, but they are simultaneously showing a complete disregard for ethics, privacy, and human rights as inmates continue to be subjected to inhumane methods of ingestion.

Guantanamo Bay guards feed the Muslim inmates by inserting nasogastric tubes through the nose, down the throat and into the stomach. The schedule consists of two nightly force-feedings in which the guards feed Muslim inmates between 7:44 p.m. and 6:28 a.m. The guards also immobilize the Muslim inmates by shackling their arms and hands and securing them with belts, decreasing resistance from the inmates. Stephen Chapman, a columnist from the Odessa American, records a testimony from an inmate who has endured the force-feedings. “The process of being force-fed hurts a great deal. Sometimes they botch putting the tube in, and tears stream down my cheek,” said the inmate. “They shackle our feet with metal chains and shackle our arms and hands. Then they put us in a force-feeding chair and tie us with belts.” From this testimony, it is clear that Guantanamo Bay officials and guards inflict excruciating agony and torture on Muslim inmates, unconcerned by the tears and screams.

Hip-hop artist Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, released a video of his encounter with the force-feedings at Guantanamo Bay on July 8. This video reveals the pain that Muslim inmates and others on hunger strike at Guantanamo endure as Bey voluntarily undergoes a force-feeding procedure. Bey enlightens Americans, and probably the world, in this video as he is quickly brought to tears and screams, begging the officers to stop the procedure.

July 18, 2013

Press Release from California Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition


Oakland–The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation continue to retaliate against hunger strikers.  Yesterday it was reported that a core group of strikers were moved from the Security Housing Unit in Pelican Bay to even more restricted isolation.  Since then, supporters have learned that prison officials have been attempting to break the resolve of strikers by blasting cold air into the SHU and Administrative Segregation (AD-Seg) units at Pelican Bay.  Also, in a move to restrict communications between prisoners and their legal advocates, the CDCR has issued an exclusion order denying attorney Marilyn McMahon access to her clients at Pelican Bay State Prison, many of whom are in the 11th day of their protest against indefinite long term solitary confinement.

Leaders of California Hunger Strike Against Solitary Punished With More Severe Solitary

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Solitary Confinement (Photo: Kim Panian/Flickr Creative Commons)
Solitary Confinement (Photo: Kim Panian/Flickr Creative Commons)

In a California prisoner hunger strike against solitary confinement, strike leaders are being retaliated against with further isolation.

At least 14 Pelican Bay State Prison inmates who are active in the hunger strike and signed a statement calling for prisoner unity—the Agreement to End Hostilities Among Racial Groups—were forcibly removed from their cells last Thursday and tossed into severe isolation units, the California-based Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition reports.

“[On] July 11, 2013, we were placed in Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg), where we are subjected to more torturous conditions than in the [solitary housing units],” declared the targeted prisoners in a statement released Wednesday morning. “Despite this diabolical act on the part of the [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] intended to break our resolve and hasten our deaths, we remain strong and united!”

Attempting to Break Hunger Strike, CDCR Increases Retaliation, Shuts Out Attorney Advocate

California Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition — July 18, 2013

Oakland–The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation continue to retaliate against hunger strikers.  Yesterday it was reported that a core group of strikers were moved from the Security Housing Unit in Pelican Bay to even more restricted isolation.  Since then, supporters have learned that prison officials have been attempting to break the resolve of strikers by blasting cold air into the SHU and Administrative Segregation (AD-Seg) units at Pelican Bay.  Also, in a move to restrict communications between prisoners and their legal advocates, the CDCR has issued an exclusion order denying attorney Marilyn McMahon access to her clients at Pelican Bay State Prison, many of whom are in the 11th day of their protest against indefinite long term solitary confinement.

The order bans McMahon from the prison pending a CDCR investigation to determine whether one of her legal assistants  “presents a serious threat to security.” The order says nothing about what the assistant stands accused of. McMahon comments, “I’m struck by how similar this is to the gang validation process, one of the hunger strike issues. Prisoners are sent to solitary indefinitely based on reports that they are not allowed to see, made by prisoners whose identity they are not allowed to know.”

 McMahon and fellow attorney Carol Strickman were banned during the hunger strike in 2011 under the same administrative regulations. “All charges against us were eventually lifted,” said McMahon, “but to this day CDCR has never told me the charges against me.”  The order prevented the two attorneys from having legal visits with their clients for the remainder of that strike.

Late last week, the CDCR moved 14 supposed hunger strike leaders from the SHU in Pelican Bay to the even more restrictive Administrative Segregation, confiscating their legal papers related to a lawsuit filed against the Department for its policies of indefinite long-term solitary confinement. In further efforts to break the strike, the Department is forcing cold air into the cells of striking prisoners.  Supporters and advocates are denouncing the CDCR’s tactics as cruel and inhumane.

 “The CDCR wants to cut off communications between prisoners and the outside world, but we are not going to let that happen,” said McMahon. The prisoners are resolute about continuing their hunger strike until a legally binding agreement is reached.

Guantanamo genital searches to continue

Last Modified: 18 Jul 2013 13:17

US military officials insist that genital searches are necessary for the life of the detainees, according to court documents [Getty Images]
US military officials insist that genital searches are necessary for the life of the detainees, according to court documents [Getty Images]

A federal appeals court on Wednesday suspended a lower court’s decision last week barring Guantanamo guards from conducting the “religiously and culturally abhorrent” procedure of searching prisoners’ genitals when they leave their cells to meet with attorneys and return to the prison camp.The move comes just as a congressional committee is gearing up to hold its first significant hearing since 2009 to shutter the detention facility where 166 men have been detained since 2002 and as a mass hunger strike, now in its fifth month, appears to be winding down as some of the prisoners have been returned to communal living. Over the past week, 28 prisoners quit the hunger strike, according to the military, however, 46 are still being force-fed.

July 17, 2013

When Prisoners Protest



THERE aren’t many protests in prison. In a world where authorities exercise absolute power and demand abject obedience, prisoners are almost always going to be on the losing side, and they know it.

The typical inmate doesn’t want trouble. He has little to gain and too much to lose: his job, his visits, his recreation time, his phone privileges, his right to buy tuna, ramen and stale bread at inflated prices in the commissary. The ways even a bystander to the most peaceful protest can be punished are limited only by the imagination of the authorities. Besides, logistics are difficult: men from cellblock X can’t just stroll down to see the inmates in cellblock Y. Strategizing must be done furtively, usually through intermediaries, any one of whom might snitch.


By Danny McDonald

Gerard Hodgins. (Photo courtesy of Gerard Hodgins)
Gerard Hodgins. (Photo courtesy of Gerard Hodgins)

The hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay has moved beyond its 160 day. Prisoners are refusing to eat in protest against conditions in the detainment camp, the fact that the majority of them haven’t even been charged with a crime—despite being held there for years—and because 86 prisoners have been cleared for release but are still being held without any reasonable explanation.

To make matters worse, there have been reports of guards punishing and humiliating strikers, and officialshave been accused of using the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to massage hunger strike numbers. Oh, and everyone’s seen that incredibly distressing video of Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) being force-fed—that’s what guards are currently inflicting upon more than 40 hunger strikers in the camp. (Except—without wishing to diminish the power of Bey and Asif Kapadia’s film—it’s for two hours twice per day in a Cuban prison camp rather than four minutes in a video directed by a Bafta-winning director).

July 16, 2013


America’s Most Reasonable ‘Unreasonable Woman’ Drags Gitmo to Obama: Diane Wilson Exclusive

OpEdNews Op Eds 

No one outdoes Texan Diane Wilson for unflinching, off-the-wall, over-the-fence, ingeniously brilliant protests. That insight struck me after a Diane imagesphone chat about her dramatic, face-to-face White House fence insurgency against relentless Guantanamo abuses. Then, for perspective, I asked her celebrated CODEPINK cohort to pinpoint Diane’s special gifts and activist standing.

“One of a kind,” says the anti-war group’s co-founder, Medea Benjamin, amazed how this “fearless, clairvoyant visionary” brings to every protest action an “enormous compassion” for those wronged by official powers. “She gets it,” Benjamin explained, “how separate parts are linked, intuitively connecting human suffering with key corporate, environmental, legal and political focal points.”

Consistent with hardscrabble, heartland origins — Pentecostal upbringing, mother of five, Native American grandfather, fourth-generation Gulf shrimper — Diane’s heart-felt pragmatism is liberated from both constraints of ideology or fear of bodily injury. Her first book, “An Unreasonable Woman,” sets forth her evolved wisdom: 1) “Prison doesn’t greatly bother me,” and 2) “Risking one’s life can be strangely liberating.”

Fortified with Convictions

Her moral driver, as CODEPINK co-founder, is simplicity itself: justice and empathy for the defenseless against hypocrisy. In action, Benjamin verifies, “Diane enters war zones more courageously than Marines armed to the teeth. Her legendary courage means she goes anywhere, fortified only with her convictions.”


Guantanamo Frowned on John Grisham Books

By Jess Bravin


The military prison at Guantanamo Bay makes sure that the suspected terrorists it houses don’t receive dangerous materials—things like weapons, narcotics and, of course, books by John Grisham.

Capt. Justin Swick, a military defense attorney, thought that the lawyer-novelist’s works could help his client, Sufiyan Barhoumi, learn American legal principles. But guards seized the books when the lawyer tried to bring two paperbacks, along with their audio editions, during a recent client visit. Capt. Swick says Guantanamo authorities explained the two paperbacks had been “rejected for content.”


Sun man investigates U.S. detention camp the world forgot

From OLIVER HARVEY, Chief Feature Writer, in Guantanamo Bay


Detainees_prayersEarlier I had been shown a hellish contraption in which some hunger-weakened men are strapped then force-fed through a nose tube.

We’re in Camp Five at the infamous detention camp for terrorists held in America’s War on Terror.

A recent poll showed 70 per cent of Americans want to keep the camp open, to detain terror suspects. But others know it as Gulag Gitmo — US slang — and say its sickening abuses of human rights shame the Land of the Free.

Obama’s pledge to close the camp failed It’s a razor-wired purgatory where dozens have been caged for years without charge.

Some, including the last British captive Shaker Aamer, have been left to rot despite being cleared for release years ago.

July 15, 2013

Guantanamo’s challenge

By Walter Pincus, Published: July 15

A quote worth recalling when it comes to the U. S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay Cuba is Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell’s: “Watch what we do, not what we say.”

Obama quoted the judge who sentenced shoe bomber Richard Reid, saying the way the United States treats detainees “is the measure of our own liberties.”

The latest example starts with President Obama’s May 23 speech at National Defense University when he discussed his efforts to close the facility, which he called “a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law.”

What the president did not discuss, and may not have known, was that on May 22, lawyers for several detainees had filed an emergency motion in Washington arguing that rather than face newly instituted, religiously repugnant groin searches, their clients — many on a hunger strike — were canceling attorney meetings and phone calls to family members. Last week, Federal District Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth noted Obama’s use of “our own liberties” in his July 11 opinion, in which, among other things, he barred U.S. guards from continuing the searches.


Guantánamo Bay Hunger Strike May Be Winding Down

By Margaret Hartmann


The military reported on Sunday that the number of Guantánamo Bay detainees on hunger strike is decreasing, not that having 81 of 166 prisoners still refusing food is very good news. The number has been dropping steadily since Wednesday, when participation in the strike hit a high of 106. The military had forced detainees into individual-cell lockdown after a raid in April, but with the start of Ramadan last week compliant prisoners were allowed to move back into communal living conditions and continue praying together. “We can’t speculate why they are choosing to come off hunger strike. It may be because of Ramadan or because they feel they’ve gotten their message across,”  Army Lt. Col. Samuel House, a base spokesman,told CBS News. On the other hand, some say the military may actually be using the Islamic holy month to distort the statistics.

“Some detainees are taking a token amount of food as part of the traditional breaking of the fast at the end of each day in Ramadan, so that is now conveniently allowing them to be counted as not striking,” said Clive Stafford Smith, an attorney whose organization, Reprieve, represents detainees. David Remes, another Guantánamo defense attorney, told the New York Times he’s also skeptical about the military’s figures, and wants to talk with his clients about their reasons for ending the strike. “Perhaps the authorities finally made hunger striking such a horrendous experience that some men, at least, are dropping out,” Remes said. “Perhaps some men feel the hunger strike has achieved its goals by forcing Guantánamo back onto the national agenda and jump-starting the transfer process. There are still other ways to read the numbers. Until we speak with our clients, we can only speculate.”

One number has remained unchanged: The amount of detainees who have lost enough weight to qualify for force feedings. Since July 2 that figure has held steady at 45.

July 14, 2013

Using hunger as weapon of protest

By Dennis Yusko
Published 9:57 pm, Friday, July 12, 2013


A gaunt Elliott Adams sat on a metal folding chair at the corner of Wolf Road and Central Avenue as protesters in orange jumpsuits and black hoods demanded the U.S. close its jail at Guantanamo Bay.

Adams, 66, has been fasting for six weeks in solidarity with prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, where about 106 of 166 wartime detainees refuse to eat and 45 are being force-fed by U.S. military personnel, according to media reports from this week.

 A Hunger Strike Against Solitary Confinement: Shane Bauer on Inhuman Prisons from California to Iran

Democracy Now! Headlines 

More than 12,000 prisoners in California have entered their fifth day of a hunger strike in a push to end long-term solitary confinement, which they call a form of “indefinite state-sanctioned torture.” Other demands include ending harsh group punishment, redefining gang activity, improving food quality, and increasing access to healthcare and education services. In addition to refusing meals, more than a thousand prisoners are also missing classes and prison work programs. This is the third large-scale hunger strike in the past two years. The current fast began at Pelican Bay State Prison and has now spread to two-thirds of the state’s 33 prisons.

July 13, 2013

Prisoners suspend hunger strike at Guantanamo

Last Modified: 13 Jul 2013 05:16

Guards have been force-feeding the hunger strikers with a liquid nutrient mix [GALLO/GETTY]
Guards have been force-feeding the hunger strikers with a liquid nutrient mix [GALLO/GETTY]

Most prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay have resumed eating, the US military has said.The inmates of the army-controlled detention centre ended, or at least paused, the hunger strike on Friday as 99 of the 102 prisoners have now eaten at least one meal in the past 24 hours.They are still considered hunger strikers because the military requires several days of sustained eating and a minimal caloric intake before a prisoner is removed from the list.


July 12, 2013

Cynthia Papermaster & Jimminywinks

A couple of great interviews from Cynthia Papermaster (Codepink) on her 28th day of solidarity hunger strike.


Peter B. Collins show @39:00

Dennis Bernstein’s Flashpoints @57:28



Gerry Condon (Veterans for Peace) reporting on Bradley Manning trial at 37 minutes. Directly following his interview is solidarity hunger strike, Elliott Adams.

 Why Doctors Oppose Force-Feeding Guantanamo Hunger Strikers


To raise awareness about force-feeding, Yasiin Bey, the musician and actor formerly known as Mos Def, in a video voluntarily underwent the same procedure administered to prisoners who refuse solid food in political protest while they are held in Guantanamo Bay.
To raise awareness about force-feeding, Yasiin Bey, the musician and actor formerly known as Mos Def, in a video voluntarily underwent the same procedure administered to prisoners who refuse solid food in political protest while they are held in Guantanamo Bay.


For centuries, the act of refusing food has turned human bodies into effective political bargaining chips. And so it’s no surprise that the prisoners desperate to leave Guantanamo after, in some cases, nearly a dozen years there, have turned to hunger strikes on and off since 2005 to try to win their release.

For years, the Pentagon officials who run the detention camp have responded by force-feedingprisoners. Currently, some 45 of the 104 hunger-striking captives are receiving the procedure, as many people learned this week when a graphic video featuring Yasiin Bey, the rapper and actor formerly known as Mos Def, went viral. While Bey’s performance may be part publicity stunt, doctors say it does help expose the unethical treatment and some of the pain of the Gitmo detainees subjected to force-feeding.

Read more here:

July 11, 2013

New report exposes violent tactics used to break Guantanamo hunger strike



A new report released today by human rights charity Reprieve uses Guantanamo detainees’ testimony to expose the violent tactics being used by the Obama administration in an attempt to break the ongoing hunger strike.

The report - Down the tubes: The 2013 Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Bay – collates unclassified testimony from the men to expose the hunger strike from the inside, in the words of those engaged in it. The first-hand testimony is organised around themes that emerged from the men’s words, including force-feeding as punishment, Forcible Cell Extractions (FCE’s), forced medication and solitary confinement.

The report shows the impact of the hunger-strike – some detainees have lost as much as a quarter (Shaker Aamer) or even a third (Ahmed Rabbani) of their weight. Others report health problems including chest pain, low blood pressure, and problems with their sight. More worryingly, it finds evidence of prison authorities using heavy-handed tactics in an attempt to break the strike. Among other things, the detainees report:


— Jul. 11 12:17 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the government to stop genital searches of Guantanamo Bay detainees who want to meet with their lawyers.

Royce Lamberth, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington, on Thursday limited guards to grasping the waistband of a detainee’s trousers and shaking the pants to dislodge any contraband.

The detainees had complained that guards had recently begun touching and holding detainees’ genital and anal areas during searches.

As Hunger Strike Continues, Ex-Chief Guantánamo Prosecutor Says “No Good Reason” To Keep Prison Open

Democracy Now!


More than 150 days in their hunger strike, at least 45 Guantánamo prisoners are being force-fed through tubes. “It’s regrettable that it’s taking them putting their lives at risk to get us to pay attention, that they’ve been cleared for transfer, yet they’re still in prison,” said Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor at Guantánamo.

Watch Morris Davis here



June 10, 2013

Senior lawmakers push Obama over Guantanamo force-feeding

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON | Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:49pm EDT

The interior of an unoccupied communal cellblock is seen at Camp VI, a prison used to house detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, March 5, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Bob Strong
The interior of an unoccupied communal cellblock is seen at Camp VI, a prison used to house detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, March 5, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Bob Strong

(Reuters) – Two senior Senate Democrats pushed President Barack Obama to cut back on force-feeding of prisoners at the Guantanamo naval base on Wednesday, two days after a judge ruled that only the president had the power to stop the procedure.

The First Day of My Hunger Strike

Posted: 11/07/2013 00:00
By Clive Stafford Smith
Clive Stafford Smith is a US lawyer and the founder and Director of legal action charity Reprieve
Clive Stafford Smith is a US lawyer and the founder and Director of legal action charity Reprieve
Today is the first day of my hungerstrike. While we have agreed that it can be done in simple solidarity with all the detainees – currently more than 100 are on strike, and at least 48 are being force fed – the alternative is to ‘Adopt a Hunger Strike’, where you choose to do it in sympathy with a particular prisoner. I was in Guantánamo visiting my clients last week, and I promised Shaker Aamer that I would do the next few days (as long as I can last) adopting his strike.

This does not mean that Shaker is giving up: far from it. He began on 15 February, meaning that today is the 145th day of his protest – a commitment that I could never match. Neither will I have anyone to abuse me in the way the US military mistreats him. Neither am I spending my twelfth year in arbitrary confinement, long since cleared for release – the status of 86 (or 52%) of the detainees who remain in Guantánamo Bay.

July 9, 2013

Judge: Gitmo Force-Feeding “Painful, Humiliating, Degrading,” in Obama’s Hands  

Democracy Now!  July 9, 2013

A federal judge has issued a ruling suggesting the force-feeding of hunger striking Guantanamo Bay prisoners is 
illegal, but warning only President Obama can stop it. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler rejected a 
prisoner's effort to halt his force-feeding, saying she lacks jurisdiction. But she said "It is perfectly clear…. that 
force-feeding is a painful, humiliating, and degrading process." Judge Kesller added: "It would seem to follow 
[the president] has the authority — and power — to directly address the issue of force-feeding of detainees at 
Guantanamo Bay." At least 45 of the estimated 106 Guantanamo hunger strikers are being force fed through tubes.

California Prisoners Begin What Could Be State’s Largest Hunger-Strike

Thousands of prisoners across California have launched their third large-scale hunger strike in the past two years. The action focuses on ending long-term solitary confinement, which the prisoners call a form of “indefinite state-sanctioned torture.” Thousands took part in the most recent hunger strike in the fall of 2011, winning vows to improve conditions in solitary confinement. The fast started at Pelican Bay State Prison but it’s now spread to two-thirds of the state’s 33 prisons. California officials say some 30,000 prisoners refused meals on the strike’s first day, which if sustained would result in the largest prison hunger strike in the state’s history. In addition to refusing meals, many prisoners are also missing classes and prison work programs.

July 8, 2013

30,000 California prisoners refuse meals in apparent hunger strike 

Protesting California prison policies of indefinite isolation, inmates signal beginning of a hunger strike by refusing meals.

By Paige St. John — Los Angeles Times – July 8, 2013, 10:36 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — Officials said 30,000 California inmates refused meals Monday at the start of a prison strike involving two-thirds of the state’s 33 lockups, as well as four out-of-state facilities. 

1473908_me_prison_hunger_strike_rallyParticipants refused breakfast and lunch, said corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton. In addition, 2,300 prisoners skipped work or classes, some saying they were sick.

The protest was organized by a small group of inmates held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison near the Oregon border. Their complaints focus on policies that put inmates in isolation indefinitely, some for decades, if they are suspected of having ties to prison gangs.

They want a five-year limit on such isolation. They also seek education and rehabilitation programs and the right to make monthly phone calls.

Last year, corrections officials began releasing inmates from isolation who showed no evidence of gang-related behavior. Nearly half of the 400 prisoners reviewed so far have been returned to the general inmate population.

Corrections policy is not to declare a hunger strike until inmates miss nine meals. Even so, Thornton said, Monday’s protest participants number far more than two years ago, when 11,600 inmates were refusing meals at one point.

Thornton said prisons operated as usual despite the protests. “Everything has been running smoothly,” she said.

The action coincided with the start Monday evening of Ramadan, the annual period during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, possibly complicating authorities’ attempt to count the protesters.

photo caption: John A. Imani, seen right, joins about 75 demonstrators in front of the Ronald Reagan State Office building downtown for a rally in support of Pelican Bay State Prison inmates who are on a hunger strike in protest of conditions at state prisons. (Barbara Davidson, Los Angeles Times / July 8, 2013)


Published on Monday, July 8, 2013 by Common Dreams

Prisoners’ Hunger Strike Blasts ‘Decades of Indefinite State-Sanctioned Torture’

Pelican Bay prisoners in California resume strike until officials reform abusive practices

July 7, 2013

My life at Guantanamo

A detainee at the US prison explains that hunger striking is the only way left to cry out for life, freedom and dignity.

Moath al-Alwi is a Yemeni national who has been in US custody since 2002. He was one of the very first prisoners moved to Guantanamo, where the US military assigned him the Internment Serial Number 028.

Moath al-Alwi is a Yemeni national who has been in US custody since 2002. He was one of the very first prisoners moved to Guantanamo, where the US military assigned him the Internment Serial Number 028.

A month ago, the guards here at Guantanamo Bay gave me an orange jumpsuit. After years in white and brown, the colours of compliant prisoners, I am very proud to wear my new clothes. The colour orange is Guantanamo’s banner. Anyone who knows the truth about this place knows that orange is its only true colour. My name is Moath al-Alwi. I have been a prisoner of the United States at Guantanamo since 2002. I was never charged with any crime and I have not received a fair trial in US courts. To protest this injustice, I began a hunger strike in February. Now, twice a day, the US military straps me down to a chair and pushes a thick tube down my nose to force-feed me.

July 6, 2013

Guantánamo guards ‘forcing inmates to stay awake

By Mark Townsend The Observer, Saturday 6 July 2013 US flag flying over Camp VI, a prison used to house detainees at the naval base at Guantanamo BayDetainees inside the US camp at Guantánamo Bay are being exposed to increasingly brutal sleep deprivation techniques with doors outside inmates’ cells allegedly being slammed by guards up to 300 times a night. According to Shaker Aamerthe last British resident inside the camp, one guard had told him that he was following orders by making as much noise as possible while detainees – many on hunger strike – tried to sleep. Aamer, 46, in a letter written on Thursday, said: “He admitted to me: ‘It’s my orders to keep going up and down all night tonight’. They crashed the doors maybe 250 to 300 times in the night, keeping us awake, and continued until around 9am – then quiet.”

July 4, 2013

Letters from Guantanamo Bay

 Last Modified: 04 Jul 2013 11:43 1In the letter obtained by Al Jazeera, Chekkouri describes being sexually assaulted by guards as they search him each time he leaves and returns to his cell in order to talk to his lawyer or his wife. And he says he is not the only one enduring this kind of treatment. In response to the allegations, the Pentagon described Guantanamo guards as “some of the most professional, most heavily scrutinized guards on the planet” adding that “absurd accusations simply do not withstand intellectual rigor”.

Read the article here:


How You [and President Obama] Can Close Guantanano Prison


Yesterday, July 1, marked the first day in office for Clifford Sloan, newly appointed Guantanamo closure envoy. Shortly after his May address on counterterrorism, President Obama appointed Sloan to the Office of Guantanamo Closure in the State Department, a position that had been vacant since January. The appointment and reopening of the office is the only concrete step the President has taken concerning Guantanamo since his May speech. With over 100 of the 166 remaining prisoners on a hunger strike and over 40 being brutally force-fed, great hopes are being placed on Mr. Sloan to break the impasse.

July 1, 2013

Guantanamo Brit Shaker Aamer, And Fellow Detainees, Sue US Government Over Hunger Strike Force-Feeding


The last British detainee in Guantanamo is to sue President Barack Obama for the US Government forcing him and fellow inmates to take food andShaker Aamer w kids medicines.

Shaker Aamer, along with fellow detainees Nabil Hadjarab, Ahmed Belbacha and Abu Wa’el Dhiab, have filed a motion in US federal court in Washington DC, to stop them being force-fed and force-medicated.

The motion was filed by British legal charity, Reprieve, which is representing the men along with co-counsel Jon B Eisenberg.

Guantanamo Bay Prisoners Ask To Halt Force Feeding Practices

By BEN FOX 07/01/13 02:29 PM ET EDT AP

MIAMI — Prisoners at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are asking a federal court to halt the force-feeding that is intended to prevent prisoners from starving to death during a hunger strike that has dragged on for more than four months.

A motion filed on behalf of four prisoners argues that the military’s practice of using a nasogastric tube to involuntarily feed striking prisoners with a liquid nutrient mix is inhumane and violates medical ethics. They also say it will prevent them from observing the traditional fast during the upcoming Muslim holy period of Ramadan, depriving them of the right to practice their religion as guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions.

“Being strapped to a chair and having a tube forcibly inserted through one’s nostrils and into one’s stomach is dishonorable and degrading,” according to the motion for a preliminary injunction. “It falls within the ambit of torture.”

Hunger-striking Guantánamo detainees seek end to force-feedings for Ramadan

A lawsuit filed on behalf of four Guantánamo detainees asks a federal judge to order a halt to force-feedings and forcible drugging in advance of the religious fast during Ramadan, which begins July 8. They and about 40 others are on hunger strike to protest their indefinite detentions.

By The Christian Science Monitor, Staff writer / July 1, 2013 – Longtime prisoners on hunger strike at the Guantánamo detention camp for terrorism suspects are asking a federal judge to order the US

0701-Starving for Justicegovernment to stop forcibly drugging them and to stop force-feeding them in advance of the religious fast during Ramadan.

The month-long fast, celebrated by all Muslims, is set to begin with the new moon on July 8.

The motion was filed Sunday. It asks the judge to block US officials from continuing to administer a drug said to cause dangerous side-effects. Prolonged use of the drug, Reglan, may cause a neurological muscular disorder similar to Parkinson’s disease, lawyers for the detainees say. It can also trigger depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide, they argue.


June 29, 2013

Navy Commander Rescinds Order Halting Commercial Flights From Florida to Guantanamo

By Jason LeopoldTruthout – The Navy commander at Guantanamo has rescinded an order issued last month halting commercial air travel to Guantanamo from Florida.

In an email obtained by Truthout, the contents of which were confirmed by a Pentagon official, the flights to the prison will continue as usual, albeit it “until at least the end of the year.” The author of the email, Angela Weidenbenner, is legal counsel at the Defense Department’s Office of General Counsel.

June 28, 2013

Guantanamo criticised over inmate death

Report obtained by Al Jazeera indicates failings by guards at Guantanamo Bay contributed to inmate’s suicide.



28 Jun 2013, – A report by the US military into the suicide of a Guantanamo detainee last year has criticised the facility’s guards and medical staff for not following correct procedure.

Al Jazeera has obtained a copy of the report into the suicide of Adnan Latif, a 31-year-old Yemeni man who overdosed on anti-psychotic medication last September.

Latif was pronounced dead on September 8, 2012, the same day that his mother died, according to the report.

New York Times

Suicide by Pills Is Cited in Death of Guantánamo Detainee

By   Published: June 28, 2013

WASHINGTON — A Yemeni detainee who was found dead last year at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, committed suicide by taking an overdose of psychiatric medication, according to a military report made public on Friday.


In the 11 years of its existence, it has been a growing stain on America’s reputation – with endless allegations of rendition, humiliation and torture and 51 suicide attempts, six of them successful.

No fewer than 104 of the remaining 166 inmates are on hunger strike and pictures released yesterday showed the almost medieval methods that are used to  force-feed them.

June 26, 2013

Diane Wilson Arrested After Jumping White House Fence

Huff Post By DARLENE SUPERVILLE 06/26/13 03:54 PM

WASHINGTON DC — The Secret Service says a woman is under arrest and in the custody of District of Columbia police after jumping over the White House fence on Wednesday.

Diane Wilson arrested after jumping White House fenceA Secret Service spokesman identified the woman, who wore an orange jumpsuit, as Diane Wilson. She was charged with unlawful entry and handed over to local authorities.

No hometown was given for Wilson. She appeared to be among a group of 17 similarly attired demonstrators who had chained themselves to the fence on the northwest side of the White House.

They were protesting the detention of terrorist suspects at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

President Barack Obama was not in the White House at the time. He has said he is redoubling his efforts to close the Guantanamo facility.

White House actions on June 26th by Jehovahjonesoccupy — June 28, 2013 

When several hundred social-justice activists gathered at the White House Wednesday to demand that President Obama free the scores of martyrs being illegally held prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, there were some in the crowd who were quietly determined not to be ignored yet again.

Representing Veterans for Peace, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Code Pink and World Can’t Wait, this constitutionally protected citizens’ protest featured prayer and singing of hymns, a huge contingent of protestors in orange prison jumpsuits, some bearing the names of the 86 prisoners who have been cleared of any crime and yet not freed, and a flock of pink umbrellas spelling out ‘Close Gitmo.’


US bishops ask president Obama to close Guantanamo Bay prison

June 26, 2013. ( Bishop Richard Pates, the official spokesman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent a message to the U.S Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, asking him to actively promote the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. According to the bishop, the facility has become ‘a symbol of the indefinite detention of prisoners awaiting a trial.

In his message, he also says the detainees ‘have a right to a just and fair trial held in a timely manner.’ The letter also says the indefinite detention not only harms, those individuals, but it also wounds the moral reputation of the nation.

Inside Guantanamo Bay Facility – Photo Essay

June 26, 2013 — Irish Independent – An inside look at Gitmo, 30 photographs

Yemenis in Guantanamo

Both Yemen and the US should take immediate action to address the current detention crisis in Guantánamo

 – ALJAZEERA 26 Jun 2013 10:30

Reuters foto of Medea in Yemen protestIt has been over 10 years since the first Yemeni prisoner was declared an enemy combatant and transferred to Camp X-Ray. Since then, tales of discrimination, humiliation and torture in Guantanamo have galvanised public opinion against the prison. Yemenis, the largest group of inmates, continue to languish with no foreseeable return to their home country. Reason? Apparently, Washington policymakers deem the country too unstable to accept them.

Reducing Yemeni detainees to their passports, rather than treating them as individuals, is wrong and which suggests that Guantanamo would never close. With the largest hunger strike in the prison’s history underway, this is the single most important detention crisis of the Obama presidency. Sorting out the Yemenis will be an essential part of his legacy on Guantanamo. 

Guantanamo: Amnesty International calls for Cameron to ‘urgently secure’ release of Shaker Aamer

Posted: 26 June 2013

‘Does Mr Cameron want to be remembered as the prime minister who acted too late to save Shaker Aamer?’ – Kate Allen

Amnesty International has launched a new call on Prime Minister David Cameron to “urgently secure” the release of Shaker Aamer, the last former UK resident held at Guantánamo Bay.

Last week Mr Cameron said in Parliament that he had raised Shaker Aamer’s case “directly” with the US President at the recent G8 meeting, and that he would be writing to Mr Obama “about the specifics of the case and everything that we can do to expedite it”.

June 25, 2013

The ‘war on terror’ doesn’t justify riding roughshod over people’s rights. Force-feeding policies have never succeeded


Guantanamo bay doctor holds feeding tube used to feed detainees on hunger strikeHow has force-feeding been allowed to resurface in the prison camps of Guantánamo Bay? In the post 9/11 world, it seems that basic medical ethics can be discarded and past prison controversies forgotten so long as the objectives of the so-called war on terror are achieved. And where are the critics? Feminists rightly remind us of the prison experiences of suffragette hunger strikers a century ago; an opera based on the life of suffragette Emily Davison launching next month devotes an entire act to Davison’s experiences of force-feeding. Nonetheless, feminists remain curiously silent on present-day force-feeding in Guantánamo. Little has been said in Northern Ireland, either, despite the discussion of Margaret Thatcher’s treatment of hunger strikers that accompanied her recent death.

Force-feeding is not a new concern. It fell rapidly out of fashion in 1917 after Irish republican Thomas Ashe unexpectedly died after being fed, and again in the 1970s following IRA hunger striker Michael Gaughan’s controversial death. Then, as now, medical professionals and human rights activists raised concern about the dubious use of the stomach tube to suppress hunger strikers. The World Medical Organisation’s 1975 condemnation of force-feeding as torturous and degrading seemed to signal an end to the practice. Indeed, one of the key reasons why Thatcher was left with few options but to allow IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands and his fellow prisoners to starve – in the face of politically damaging controversy – was because she knew that force-feeding was no longer ethically viable.

photo caption: A military doctor holds a feeding tube used to feed detainees on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay. Photograph: John Riley/EPA

OpEdNews Op Eds 

A Psychologist’s Guantanamo Nightmare


Although psychologists are better known for interpreting the dreams of others, sometimes we have nightmares of our own. The one recounted here took shape after I read the recent task force report on detainee treatment from the bipartisan Constitution Project. That report confirmed that the United States has indisputably tortured “war on terror” prisoners — and that psychologists and other health professionals played critical roles in the systematic abuse. The following description of past events and the glimpse into an imagined dark future reflect the failure of psychology’s leaders to adequately prioritize and defend the profession’s ethical commitment to doing no harm. What has already happened cannot be changed, but there are alternative paths forward. I believe the most promising one for my profession requires dedicated and unflinching efforts directed toward accountability and reform.

June 24, 2013

Bill Allowing Guantánamo Detainees to Be Moved Advances

New York Times By  Published: June 24, 2013

The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved a bill that would significantly relax legal restrictions on the transfer of detainees out of the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, giving President Obama much greater flexibility as he tries to revive his effort to close the facility. If the bill were to become law, the Pentagon could send detainees to the United States for necessary medical treatment that would be too expensive to replicate at the base, for continued detention in a different prison, or for prosecution. The bill would also streamline and ease statutory limits on transferring detainees to other countries. The committee approved the bill, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2014, in a closed meeting last week.

“I Wish I Was Dead,” Shaker Aamer Says from Guantánamo, as David Cameron Writes to His Daughter 


Shaker Aamer in Guantanamo, in a photo made available by his family in 2012, before the hunger strike began.
Shaker Aamer in Guantanamo, in a photo made available by his family in 2012, before the hunger strike began.


In a desperate message from Guantánamo, Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, told one of his lawyers by phone, “The administration is getting ever more angry and doing everything they can to break our hunger strike. Honestly, I wish I was dead.”

Shaker, who was cleared for release from the prison under President Bush in 2007 and under President Obama in 2009, was speaking to Clive Stafford Smith, the director of the legal action charity Reprieve, and his words were reported in the Observer, which also noted his claims that “the US authorities are systematically making the regime more hardline to try to defuse the strike, which now involves almost two-thirds of the detainees.”

- See more at:

June 22, 2013

US steps up efforts to break Guantánamo hunger strike

Shaker Aamer, last British resident held in camp, tells of harsh regime to break strikers’ resistance

, home affairs editor  The Observer

Shaker Aamer: ‘The administration at Guantánamo is doing everything they can to break our hunger strike.’ Photograph: Reprieve UK/PA
Shaker Aamer: ‘The administration at Guantánamo is doing everything they can to break our hunger strike.’ Photograph: Reprieve UK/PA

Increasingly brutal tactics are being used in an attempt to break the hunger strike by detainees at Guantánamo Bay, according to fresh testimony from the last British resident still held in the camp.

Shaker Aamer claims that the US authorities are systematically making the regime more hardline to try to defuse the strike, which now involves almost two-thirds of the detainees. Techniques include making cells “freezing cold” to accentuate the discomfort of those on hunger strike and the introduction of “metal-tipped” feeding tubes, which Aamer said were forced into inmates’ stomachs twice a day and caused detainees to vomit over themselves.

The 46-year-old from London tells of one detainee who was admitted to hospital 10 days ago after a nurse had pushed the tube into his lungs rather than his stomach, causing him later to cough up blood. Aamer also alleges that some nurses at Guantánamo Bay are refusing to wear their name tags in order to prevent detainees registering abuse complaints against staff.

Speaking last week from the camp in Cuba, exactly four months after he joined the hunger strike, Aamer said: “The administration is getting ever more angry and doing everything they can to break our hunger strike. Honestly, I wish I was dead.”

The momentum behind efforts to release Aamer – who has spent more than 11 years without trial inside the camp – mounted sharply last week with David Cameron raising the issue directly with the US president, Barack Obama, during the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

Solitary Confinement at Guantanamo Bay

Approximately 70% of the men imprisoned in Guantánamo are in solitary confinement or isolation. 2

Virtually none have ever been charged, and most will never be charged or tried. Yet, they remain in “super-maximum security confinement” conditions – held by a federal judge to “press the outer bounds of what most humans can psychologically tolerate.”

Read the story here:

Navy lawyer tried to send al-Qaida magazine to accused 9/11 conspirator at Guantánamo


[email protected] COM



GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba – The Navy defense lawyer for one of the Sept. 11 accused tried to send his client a copy of an al-Qaida magazine, a prison camps lawyer testified Friday.

Navy Capt. Thomas Welsh, until recently staff attorney at the detention center, identified Mustafa al Hawsawi’s defense attorney, Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz as the person who sent a copy of the magazine “Inspire” as legal mail in the summer of 2010. It included an article titled, “How to build a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.”

June 21, 2013

DSC_1553                                                          Santa Monica/6/20/2013/Tom Hofer


L.A. Vigil Bannering
June 20,21,23,24,26  between 3PM and 7PM Pacific Coast HWY and McClure Tunnel Small teams will do bannering vigils at various overpasses or other sites around town: Teams will create signs out of Deer Fencing and Letters out of Water Proof House Wrapping (some are ready for assembly and more can be made with supporting teams of 2-3 people) Contact Kathleen Hernandez: 310-339-1770

Guantanamo doctors OK with force-feeding prisoners - 4:18 PM 06/21/2013

Gitmo Office Mil ComThe practice of force-feeding prisoners on a hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay has not raised medical concerns from prison doctors, The Associated Press reports.

To prevent the strikers from starving to death, military medical personnel have been using nasal feeding tubes to nourish immobilized prisoners, which Navy Captain Robert Durand, a spokesman for the prison, has referred to as a “lawful order.”

One-hundred four of 166 prisoners are participating in the hunger strike, which has been going on for nearly four months.

The American Medical Association wrote to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel decrying the practice of force-feeding.

Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein agrees with the AMA and wrote to Hagel upon returning from a recent visit to the prison.

“The current approach raises very important ethical questions,” she wrote, according to the AP.

Navy lieutenant commander Walter Ruiz, a lawyer representing a prisoner who has occasionally denied to eat and has been force-fed, asked the judge, Army colonel James Pohl, to ban the practice in a pretrial hearing this week.

“The reality is that it’s not the preservation of a life. It’s the preservation of existence,” Ruiz said. “There is no life. In essence, by keeping these people here we have already killed their soul, and their spirit and taken away their dignity.”

June 20, 2013

Guantanamo Bay protestors rally at 12 Corners

Gary McLendon Staff writer,
The silent protest involved about 20 people. These few walk down Monroe Avenue in Brighton at 12 Corners. / Gary McLendon/staff photographer
The silent protest involved about 20 people. These few walk down Monroe Avenue in Brighton at 12 Corners. / Gary McLendon/staff photographer

A small contingent of protesters rallied at 12 Corners in Brighton against the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The silent protest – which involved about 20 people, some in orange jumpsuits and covered faces – was designed to call attention to the holding of people in custody although they have been legally cleared of committing any crime.

Read the story:

Democracy Now! 

Sen. Feinstein: End Force-Feeding of Hunger Striking Guantanamo Prisoners

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein is calling for an end to the force-feeding of hunger striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Lawyers say at least 130 of the 166 remaining prisoners at Guantánamo are refusing to eat in protest of their indefinite imprisonment. Forty-three prisoners are now being force-fed through tubes four months after the strike began. In a letter to the Pentagon, Feinstein, the chair of the Senate intelligence committee, said: “Hunger strikes are a long-known form of non-violent protest aimed at bringing attention to a cause, rather than an attempt of suicide…The current approach raises very important ethical questions and complicates the difficult situation regarding the continued indefinite detention at Guantanamo.” Feinstein is one of the most senior U.S. lawmakers to oppose force-feeding at Guantanamo. During his speech Wednesday in Berlin, President Obama highlighted his pledge to seek Guantanamo’s closure.

President Obama: “Even as we remain vigilant about the threat of terrorism, we must move beyond the mindset of perpetual war and in America, that means redoubling our efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo.”

June 19th 

Obama says U.S. to redouble efforts to close Guantanamo

June 19, 2013 (Reuters)

U.S. President Obama addresses news conference at Chancellery in Berlin

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the United States would step up its attempts to close Guantanamo Bay prison.

“Even as we remain vigilant about the threat of terrorism, we must move beyond the mindset of perpetual war and in America that means redoubling our efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo,” Obama said in a speech in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.

“It means tightly controlling our use of new technology like drones, it means balancing the pursuit of security with the protection of privacy,” he added.

ReutersBy Jane Sutton 


Dianne Feinstein

June 19, 2013 - GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein urged the Pentagon on Wednesday to stop force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and called the practice “out of step” with medical ethics and international norms.

Feinstein, a California Democrat who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, saying the Guantanamo force-feeding policy was also out of synch with policies in the civilian federal prisons.

“Hunger strikes are a long-known form of non-violent protest aimed at bringing attention to a cause, rather than an attempt of suicide,” she wrote.

“I believe that the current approach raises very important ethical questions and complicates the difficult situation regarding the continued indefinite detention at Guantanamo.”

Starving for Justice at Gitmo

Is force-feeding a form of torture?

In These Times June 19, 2013 BY TERRY J. ALLEN



Gitmo’s ‘padded cell on wheels,’ for force-feeding

Many detainees have endured more than a decade without habeas corpus or trial in conditions condemned by the Red Cross.

“I am known only as 239 here,” wrote Shaker Aamer from his cell in Guantánamo. He is one of 166 prisoners trappedbetween a perpetual “war on terrorism” and a political/judicial system crippled by moral cowardice and jingoism. Captured 11 years ago, Aamer was cleared for release in 2007, but release never came.

Despair and anger have driven Aamer and more than 100 detainees to join a hunger strike that began February 6.

June 18th

Press Release from Veterans for Peace -June 18

Veterans Join Hunger Strike to Close US Prison at Guantánamo

Large Protest Action Outside White House on Wednesday, June 26

The quagmire of Guantánamo

Al Jazeera, June 18, 2013

US President Barack Obama has appointed a Washington lawyer to oversee the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, but is he likely to succeed where others have failed?

The continuing hunger strike by over 100 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay has only served to draw attention to one of the most glaring unkept promises of Obama’s presidency.

Last month, however, the president pledged to lift his self-imposed ban on transferring Guantánamo detainees to Yemen. He also promised to name envoys at both the state department and the Pentagon to expedite the prison’s closure.

HUFF POST Politics

Judge Urges New Approach For Guantánamo Detainee Cases


WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court judge Tuesday called on the president and Congress to consider a different approach to the handling of legal cases of Guantánamo Bay prisoners.

Judge Harry T. Edwards made the comment at the end of a written opinion in which he reluctantly concurred with a three-judge panel’s decision rejecting a Guantánamo prisoner’s challenge to his detention.

Edwards wrote that the prisoner’s challenge fails because of the precedent established by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“However, when I review a record like the one presented in this case, I am disquieted by our jurisprudence,” wrote Edwards, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, adding that the judges on the circuit have “strained” to make sense of the law and follow Supreme Court commands.

“The time has come for the president and Congress to give serious consideration to a different approach for the handling of the Guantánamo detainee cases,” he wrote.ánamo-detainee-cases_n_3460468.html

A Medical Ethics-free Zone? Guantánamo Doctors Urged to Stop Force Feeding Hunger Striking Prisoners

Democracy Now! June 18, 2013

As the prison-wide hunger strike at Guantánamo enters its 133rd day, a group of top U.S. doctors and public health specialists are calling on their colleagues in the military to boycott the mass force-feeding of prisoners. In an article for the New England Journal of Medicine, three professors from Boston University write: “Physicians at Guantánamo cannot permit the military to use them and their medical skills for political purposes and still comply with their ethical obligations. Force-feeding a competent person is not the practice of medicine; it is aggravated assault.” We speak to George Annas, one of the co-authors of the article. He is a professor of health law, bioethics and human rights at the Boston University School of Public Health.

U.S., Yemeni Demonstrators Rally Against Guantánamo in Sanaa

Democracy Now! June 18, 2013

U.S. and Yemeni demonstrators joined together outside the U.S. embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, Monday to call for Obama to comply with his five-year-old promise to close Guantánamo and transfer dozens of Yemenis and other prisoners back home. Former U.S. diplomat Col. Ann Wright was among them.

Col. Ann Wright: “I’d say the United States must close Guantánamo, clear the prisoners that have already, no charges; we must, the United States must release those prisoners. We must also stop our drone strikes in Yemen, they are very dangerous, they kill innocent civilians …”

More than 100 of Guantánamo’s 166 prisoners are on hunger strike.

June 17th 

List of ‘indefinite detainees’

Posted on Monday, 06.17.13  – These are the names and nationalities of the 48 Guantánamo captives, whom an Obama administration Task Force in 2010 classified as indefinite detainees ineligible for release, transfer or prosecution. Their formal classification is “continued detention pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001), as informed by principles of the laws of war.” The captives’ names are different on different documents.

This lists reflects the names on a release to The Miami Herald under the Freedom of Information Act, and includes each captive’s internment serial number, ISN, as a guide. Two of the detainees on the list have since died at Guantánamo, one of a suicide and another of a heart attack. Each of these men is identified with an asterisk and the notation deceased.

Guantánamo detainees’ lawyers seek to obtain Red Cross reports

June 17, 2013 By Jane Sutton

Guantánamo BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) June 17, 2013 – Lawyers for five prisoners accused of plotting the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States have asked to see confidential reports by the International Committee of the Red Cross about visits to the defendants at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp.

They want to see the reports about conditions at the camp’s maximum-security unit to ensure they do not interfere with the defendants’ ability to help prepare a defense.

The issue is one of dozens on the docket for a week-long pretrial hearing that began on Monday in the death penalty case against the alleged mastermind of the hijacked plane attacks on the United States, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four co-defendants accused of funding and training the hijackers.

Democracy Now!

June 17, 2013

Protesters Call for Gitmo Closure Ahead of Obama Speech

On Sunday, Amnesty International staged a rally for the closure of Guantánamo Bay outside a Belfast venue where President Obama is speaking today. Amnesty spokesperson Patrick Corrigan said Guantánamo’s continued existence undermines Obama’s global credibility on critical issues.

Patrick Corrigan: “And we say to President Obama, come here, support our peace, but support peace and the rule of law internationally by closing Guantánamo and ceasing the breaches of international law. Then we can take you more seriously as a global leader.”

U.S. to Appoint New Envoy for Gitmo Closure

The Obama administration is expected to announce today the appointment of a new envoy to head the effort to close Guantánamo Bay. Clifford Sloan, a Washington lawyer, has been tapped to head the State Department’s Office of Guantánamo Closure. The office has been idle since January after the administration effectively abandoned the closure effort. More than 100 Guantánamo Bay prisoners remain on a hunger strike to protest their indefinite imprisonment.


CodePink Activists Arrested for Guantánamo Protest at White House

Democracy Now! June 27, 2013

A number of activists with the group CodePink were arrested at the White House on Wednesday in a protest for the closure of the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay. The group’s co-founder Diane Wilson, was arrested after scaling the White House fence and attempting to deliver a letter to the White House front door. Wilson is on a liquid-only fast in solidarity with hunger striking Guantánamo prisoners.

June 15th

House votes to block Obama plan to close Guantanamo

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON | Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:45pm EDT

(Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive defense bill on Friday that includes measures to block President Barack Obama’s plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, underscoring the tough fight ahead for the White House as it seeks to shutter the controversial detention camp.

The Republican-controlled House voted, 315-108, for the $638 billion National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes money for weapons, troops and the war in Afghanistan. But it also addresses a range of policy matters, including this year’s efforts to combat sexual assault in the military and provisions intended to prevent the closure of the prison camp at the base in Cuba.

Despite a hunger strike by at least 104 of the 166 prisoners and appeals from Obama that the prison is too expensive to maintain and a recruiting tool for anti-American militants, the House voted, 249-174, to defeat an amendment calling for its shutdown by the end of 2014.

Lawmakers also voted to prevent the transfer to Yemen or the United States of any of the prisoners, captured in counterterrorism operations after the September 11, 2001, attacks, although more than half have been cleared for release during U.S. military and intelligence reviews.

Weeds and flowers grow near the fence at Camp X-Ray, a prison formerly used to house detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, March 7, 2013.  Credit: Reuters/Bob Strong
Weeds and flowers grow near the fence at Camp X-Ray, a prison formerly used to house detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, March 7, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Bob Strong


Report back from New York City Grand Central Station

Saturday, June 15th 2013|Luke Nephew

AUDIO Replaced.Still002
             Yesterday 20 human rights activists gathered on the steps of The New York Public Library and burst into song.  The soulful demand for justice drew crowds in to listen and take pictures of the orange jumpsuit choir holding neon yellow signs that begged all who could see: Close Guantanamo Now!  Little did they know, we were just getting warmed up.  20 minutes later, at the peak of rush hour in Grand Central, the group pierced the busy air of the train station with their song, harmonizing a clear demand:  ”It’s time to be honest, you can’t blame it on Congress.  President Obama, Make good on your promise”  Again passerby’s were drawn in and documented the surprising scene.  The huge numbers of police, who apparently had found out about the action before, attempted to intimidate the group into silence, plastic handcuffs at the ready, but we sang the song through several times before they announced they would arrest us for blocking pedestrian traffic if we continued.


Posted on Saturday, 06.15.13




The men undergoing forced-feeding aren’t permitted to speak to journalists, but Ahmed Zuhair, 47, knows what the experience is like. Until he was released from U.S. custody in 2009, he and another prisoner had the distinction of staging the longest hunger strikes at the prison. Zuhair kept at it for four years in a showdown that at times turned violent.


June 14th

Standard Operating Procedure: Forget Obama’s Latest, In Order to Move Forward, Look to Guantánamo

Friday, 14 June 2013 12:52By Daniel FalconeSpeakOut | Interview

President Obama started his first term with enormous expectations from the electorate. After eight years of President Bush, America was ready to exit the neo-conservative policy and worldview. Reality has been much different, partly because President Obama has proven to be a far better status quo politician than a real “change agent.” One reason that he has struggled from the beginning: the failure to close Guantánamo.

Just recently, at the George W. Bush Presidential Library opening, President Obama stated, “And that’s why every President gains a greater appreciation for all those who served before him; for the leaders from both parties who have taken on the momentous challenges and felt the enormous weight of a nation on their shoulders. And for me, that appreciation very much extends to President Bush.”

I.e.: Extreme policies at home and abroad come first, the American people and the world, second.

Read the story here:



June 13th


Indefinite Inattention; the Obama Approach to Guantanamo

Thursday, 13 June 2013 09:37 By Bryan K. Bullock Truthout | Op-Ed

President Obama has suddenly rediscovered that there are still about 130 men being held, without charge, in horrible conditions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It is good that the President has been aroused from his indefinite inattention, but neither the prisoners, habeas counsel nor those in the public who care about this issue should get overly excited. All of the men being held at Gitmo now, the day of the President’s awakening, were there when he took office in his first term.

Many of the President’s supporters say that Congress got in his way and prevented him from closing the notorious prison camp. It’s true that the President signed an executive order in his first few days in office indicating his desire to close the prison camp. It’s also true that the Congress immediately introduced legislation that restricted the President’s hand in many ways in what he could do in terms of bringing the prisoners here to stand trial in federal court. However, the President’s supposed helplessness at the hands of the Republican Congress gives one pause and requires a look at the facts as he now has indicated, five years later, that he still wants to close the prison.

Read the story here:



Americans on Long-Term Hunger Strike to Close Gitmo Prison

Medea Benjamin  Co-founder, CODEPINK: Women for Peace
Posted: 06/13/2013 6:53 pm HUFF POST – Politics

Unreported in the mainstream press is the long-term hunger strike by a group of Americans in solidarity with the hunger strikers in Guantanamo prison. The fasters include CODEPINK cofounder Diane Wilson (on a water-only fast since May 1) and former president of Veterans for Peace, Elliott Adams. Below is an interview with Elliott Adams, who began his hunger strike on May 17.

Why did you decide to take this dramatic action, which entails such personal sacrifice?

What is happening in Guantanamo is despicable. Just think about it: 86 prisoners are cleared by the government — the Department of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security over a year ago, and they’re still being held. Many of them have been held for over 11 years!Now the prisoners’ access to their attorneys has also been reduced. They have a new rule that to meet with their attorneys, they have to go through a draconian search process, which includes people touching their genitals and anus, violating their religion.The prisoners in Guantanamo are desperate. They see no sign that they will ever get out of that place. They’ve tried the legal route but now realize that even though the government has decided not to charge them and admits that they’re not a threat to U.S. national security, they’re still going to be held. The only way they can see to get out is to starve themselves. That is a level of desperation that Americans don’t understand. And instead of releasing them or giving them trials, the government is brutally force-feeding them.It’s disgusting. It’s a violation of our moral and religious principles, international law, national law; it’s a violation of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the things that are supposed to define America. It goes against the very principles I thought the American flag stood for when I was a young man.I just can’t sit and enjoy my life when my country is doing such terrible things to these people. It’s up to us to force our government to get them out of there.

By Andy Worthington
June 14, 2013


As the prison-wide hunger strike at Guantánamo reaches its 128th day, we are still awaiting action from President Obama, who promised three weeks ago to resume the release of cleared prisoners (who make up 86 out of the remaining 166 prisoners), and to appoint new envoys in the State Department and the Pentagon to deal with the resettlement of prisoners.


June 12th - 

Military doctors urged to refuse force-feeding at Guantanamo

Posted Jun 12 2013 09:03PM EDT
By Jane Sutton
 GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - U.S. military doctors should refuse orders to force-feed hunger strikers at the Guantanamo detention camp because it violates their ethical obligations, two doctors and a medical ethics professor wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday. ”Force-feeding a competent person is not the practice of medicine; it is aggravated assault,” the trio said in an article posted on the website of the respected medical journal.Read the story here:


Gitmo prosecutors charge Iraqi inmate with unlawful war tactics

Saudi Gazette

GUANTANAMO BAY US NAVAL BASE — An Iraqi prisoner identified as a senior Al-Qaeda commander has been charged in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal with firing on a medical evacuation helicopter and using unlawful tactics to wage war on US and allied forces in Afghanistan.

Read the story:


June 11th -

Guantanamo war court debate: When is a spiral notebook a weapon?

The Miami Herald 
By Carol Rosenberg

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba —When is a spiral-bound notebook a possible weapon? And who gets to decide?

Defense and prosecution attorneys parried with the war court’s chief judge on this for about a half-hour Tuesday in a pre-trial hearing in the death penalty case of a Saudi Arabian prisoner.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 48, is accused of being architect of al-Qaida’s suicide bombing of the USS Cole destroyer off Yemen a dozen years ago. Seventeen sailors were killed and many more were wounded – and Tuesday morning’s hearings focused on which witnesses defense attorneys would be allowed to testify at the war court as they argue that the military meddles in the attorney-client relationship.


The Huffington Post
By Ryan J. Reilly

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration probably will bring military commissions charges against about half of the 36 detainees it originally said could be charged, the military’s chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo military tribunals said this week.

In 2010, the Obama administration’s Guantanamo Review Task Force found that 36 detainees were eligible for prosecution. One of the 36 has since been charged and convicted in federal court, but the other 35 were supposed to be charged in military commissions or in federal court. In a military commission, the “jury” is made up of members of the United States military and the rules of evidence are generally considered more lax. Federal court trials are better established and involve a conventional jury.

Read the story here:



Since this piece was published on April 14, 2013, I have finished my second year of law school, started working at CCR for the summer & celebrated my son’s sixth birthday (among other things).

TODAY is DAY 125 of the Guantanamo Hunger Strike. The only thing that has changed in Guantanamo, despite renewed attention and presidential hand-wringing, is now over 100 men are participating — 41 are being force fed — and 4 are in the hospital.

If you haven’t read this piece, please do. If you have, read it again. And then join our rolling fast in solidarity. Make phone calls. Share ideas. Use whatever tools are at your disposal.

- Matthew Daloisio, Witness Against Torture


June 10th -

The Miami Herald

Charges sought for Iraqi held at Guantánamo

By Ben Fox

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba – U.S. military prosecutors announced plans Monday to add another case to the docket of the war crimes tribunal at Guantánamo amid efforts by President Barack Obama to move the proceedings to the United States and shutter the detention center.

Prosecutors have filed charges against Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi for the war crime known as “perfidy,” alleging he coordinated a long series of suicide attacks on U.S. and allied troops and civilians in Afghanistan, the chief prosecutor for the Guantánamo tribunals, Army Gen. Mark Martins, told reporters at the base.

Read the story:


US Senate hopefuls differ on foreign policy, Guantanamo Bay and national security issues

By Bob Salsberg

Massachusetts Senate


U.S. Senate candidate Republican Gabriel Gomez, left, gestures during last week’s debate, while Democrat Edward Markey listens. (Associated Press)

BOSTON — The U.S. Senate candidates in Massachusetts’ special election have differing views on many national security and foreign policy issues but also appear to share some core philosophies when it comes to America’s role on the global stage.

Read more here:


June 8th -

The Guardian UK

McCain and Feinstein pledge to close Guantánamo but sidestep hunger strike

By Matt Williams

mccain guantanamo

McCain visited the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay on Friday, accompanied by Dianne Feinstein and the White House chief of staff. Photograph: Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

Returning from trip to US prison camp, senators say inmates’ care is ‘safe and respectful’ as dozens protest treatment. A cross-party delegation consisting of two leading US senators and President Barack Obama‘s most senior aide have reaffirmed a determination to close Guantánamo Bay following a visit to the camp.

In a joint statement late Friday, Republican senator John McCain, Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chair of the Senate Intelligence committee, and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said it remained in the “national interest” to shutter the centre and move inmates to other locations.

Read the story:


June 7th, 2013 - 

Free Ahmed Ould Abdel Aziz, a Mauritanian teacher in Guantánamo

By Andy Worthington


Due to a misunderstanding by a human rights representative in Mauritania, it was mistakenly thought last weekend that Ahmed had been released. Sadly, however, he is still held, even though he is one of the 86 prisoners cleared for release by President Obama’s inter-agency task force in January 2010.

Read the story:


Letters to Senators Kerry and Napolitano

Witness Against Torture has signed two letters for help on an Abu Ghraib torture case.
CCR's opposition, which contains much of the history on this, is here: CCR PDF

The letters can be found here:




June 6, 2013  –

Democracy Now! 

Report: U.S. Sends 125 More Troops to Contain Guantanamo Revolt

The U.S. military is sending a massive new contingent of guards to help contain the revolt of hunger-striking prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. The Miami Herald reports the Army Reserve is deploying 125 troops to assist the holding of prisoners in solitary confinement and the force-feeding of 39 hunger strikers.

Read more here:



June 5, 2013  –

The Miami Herald

Guantanamo Prison Getting Reinforcements

By Carol Rosenberg [email protected]

The U.S. military is sending a massive new contingent of guards to help contain the revolt of hunger-striking prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. The Miami Herald reports the Army Reserve is deploying 125 troops to assist the holding of prisoners in solitary confinement and the force-feeding of 39 hunger strikers.

The U.S. Southern Command said Wednesday it has requested additional guards for the prison camps at Guantánamo, with the goal of reaching a 2,000-strong staff at the detention center of 166 captives.

Part of the reason is the ongoing hunger strike that has most prisoners under lockdown. As of Wednesday, the Pentagon had 1,831 troops and civilians assigned to the prison, including 15 extra public-affairs troops training 20 replacements.

“When you go to single cell, that takes more people,” said Navy Capt. Robert Durand, the prison spokesman, who reported Wednesday night that 124 reinforcements from the Texas-based 591st Military Police Co. arrive at Guantánamo on Saturday.

Read more:

Al Jazeera’s exclusive publishing of a key Guantanamo prison military document lays bare the brutality of force-feeding.

Al Jazeera  Last Modified: 13 May 2013 16:39

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – Hunger striking Guantanamo prisoners who are force-fed a liquid nutritional supplement undergo a brutal and dehumanising medical procedure that requires them to wear masks over their mouths while they sit shackled in a restraint chair for as long as two hours, according to documentation obtained by Al Jazeera. The prisoners remain this way, with a 61cm – or longer – tube snaked through their nostril until a chest X-ray, or a test dose of water, confirms it has reached their stomach.

tube feeding equipmentAt the end of the feeding, the prisoner is removed from the restraint chair and placed into a “dry cell” with no running water. A guard then observes the detainee for 45-60 minutes “for any indications of vomiting or attempts to induce vomiting”. If the prisoner vomits he is returned to the restraint chair.

That’s just a partial description of the “chair restraint system clinical protocol” which medical personnel are instructed to follow when administering a nutritional supplement to prisoners who have been selected for force-feeding by Guantanamo Commander Rear Admiral John Smith.

Standard operating procedure

The restraint system, published here for the first time, along with the feeding procedures policy, was contained in a newly revised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Guantanamo hunger strikers, obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera from United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which has oversight of the joint task force that operates the prison.

The 30-page manual contains the most detailed descriptions to date pertaining to the treatment of hunger strikers and prisoners who undergo force-feedings. The SOP replaced a previous SOP issued in 2003 – revised in 2005 - which was declassified several years ago by the Pentagon, albeit with redactions. The new, unredacted policy obtained by Al Jazeera went into effect March 5 - one month after Guantanamo prisoners launched their protest over the inspection of their Qurans.

The procedure appears to have been revised and implemented in order to deal with a mass hunger strike.

“Just as battlefield tactics must change throughout the course of a conflict, the medical responses to GTMO detainees who hunger strike has evolved with time,” says the SOP. “A mass hunger strike was successfully dealt with in [2005] by utilising procedures adopted from the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the approach delineated in this SOP.

“However, the composition of the detainee population, camp infrastructure, and policies has all undergone significant change since the initial version of this SOP… Much of the original instruction has been retained in the form of enclosures. In the event of a mass hunger strike, these enclosures can be utilised as they have proven efficacy under mass hunger strike conditions.”

The SOP notes that there are a number of prisoners who have been hunger striking since 2005, who have “proven their determination”, and whose physical frailty have limited Guantanamo authorities’ “options for intervention”. The document goes on to say, “in the event of a mass hunger strike, isolating hunger striking patients from each other is vital to prevent them from achieving solidarity”.

On April 13, guards staged a predawn raid at the communal camp and isolated more than 100 prisoners into single cells in an attempt to bring an end to the protest.


Leonard Rubenstein, a lawyer at the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Heath and the Berman Institute of Bioethics, who reviewed the SOP document for Al Jazeera, said the revised guidelines were troubling because they prohibit doctors and nurses from acting independently and make clear that they are simply “adjuncts of the security apparatus”.

Caption: ‘Internal nourishment preparation’ supplies in Guantanamo Bay prison, where hunger strikers are being force-fed [Army Sgt Brian Godette] 
Read more:
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GTMO has been open:

U.S. Hunger Strikers

Hunger Striker's Blog

 U.S. Faster in Solidarity w/Gitmo & Pelican Bay Prisoners


Foreground: EMT prepares the tool for the nasal intubation.       Background: U.S. Embassy, Buenos Aires, Argentina Middleground:...agony awaits. 

The feeding demo is extremely painful, yet it is done with consent. The long-term solidarity fast continues with nasogastric nourishment in front of U.S. governmental symbols of power. The twice-daily force-feeding of Gitmo hunger strikers is nonconsensual and therefore real torture by the standards sponsored by U.S. taxpayers and authorized by members of Congress who just raised the debt ceiling to nearly $17 trillion. President Obama's actions continue to belie his empty words "Close Guantánamo."  As Commander-in-Chief, he could easily order an end to what the Pentagon refuses to call "forced-feeding."   The force-feeding is premeditated  relentless forced penetration of plastic into their innermost sacred cavities !

Andrés Thomas Conteris - fasted on water and coconut water with vitamin and electrolyte supplements. Solidarity fast began July 8, 2013 with 30,000 hunger striking California prisoners urging fulfillment of 5 Core Demands of the Pelican Bay supermax prisoners.  Force-feeding protests began Sept. 6 & Sept. 25 in front of the White House & later in front of the Oakland Office of CA Dept of Corrections and Rehab (CDCR) to depict how prisoners in Guantánamo are tortured with force-feeding twice-daily and how CA prisoners as future hunger strikers have been threatened with a court order authorizing force-feeding.  On Oct 4 and Oct 8 he was tube-fed in front of the U.S. Embassies in Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina. On Oct 15 a similar protest took place in Santiago, Chile.  On Friday, Oct 18 the feeding protest returns to Washington, DC outside a Federal Court hearing on the lawsuit challenging force-feeding in Guantánamo.  He is now on a maintenance fast losing about 1 pound per week, unlike the 5 pounds/week the first 11 weeks.  In January 2014 with the anniversary of Guantánamo on Jan. 11, the force feeding protests will recommence.  Please spread the word. 

Join a Rolling Fast

U.S. Hunger Strikers who have suspended their fast






Diane Wilson - Water only 58 days (lost 48 lbs). Diane, co-founder of CodePink and member of Veterans for Peace, suspended her hunger strike on June 27, 2013 after detention following her arrest for scaling the White House fence the day before. She faced a jury trial in DC District Court on Sept. 5th, 2013.


S. Brian Willson - Suspended Hunger Strike on June 10, 2013 after 31 days on 300cal/day, when a car accidentally hit him. Supporters continue a vigil with a rolling fast, in Portland, OR.



Elliott Adams - Went 80 days on 300 cal/day from May 18, to August 4, 2013 losing 45 lbs.   He is past President of Veterans for Peace.







Tarak Kauff - Ended fast on August 4, 2013 after 58 days on 300 cal/day since June 7.  He lost 29 lbs. On Board of Directors for Veterans for Peace.


Cynthia Papermaster - After 84 days on 300 cal/day, Cynthia suspended her  hunger strike on Sep. 6 which began June 15, 2013. Code Pink member,  lost 35 lbs. The transfer of two Algerian prisoners on Aug. 29, 2013, inspired her to suspend her fast. 

Collaborative of Organizations

Arlington West Santa Monica

- Campaign for Alternatives to

   Isolated Confinement - NY

Close Guantá

Code Pink

Global Exchange

- Fast for the Earth

- The Jericho Movement

The Justice Campaign

The London Guantánamo


Meta Peace Team: "Pursuing peace

   through active nonviolence"

- Metta Center for Nonviolence


No more Guantánamos

Nonviolence International

Nuremberg Actions

Office of the Americas

Peaceworkers USA

Save Shaker

Stop Mass Incarceration

Witness Against Torture

The World Can't Wait

Veterans for Peace

Pelican Bay Hunger Strike

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