September 29, 2013

Day 234 Guantánamo hunger strike

19 Gitmo prisoners on strike, 18 force-fed, 0 in hospital (track hunger strike)

September 26, 2013
by Michael Keller and Jason Leopold | September 26, 2013

For the past seven months, detainees at Guantanamo Bay detention camp have been on hunger strike protesting, in part, their indefinite detention and alleged mistreatment. Although this action has been one of the most widely publicized, it’s certainly not the first. Hunger strikes started almost immediately after the camp was opened 11 years ago and have continued regularly since then. This timeline documents the evolving role of hunger strikes as a form of protest.

September 25, 2013
Photo from Lynn Mac Michael

Photo from Lynn Mac Michael


By Heather Marsh

 Omar Khadr's interrogation. via Flickr

Omar Khadr’s interrogation. via Flickr

Omar Khadr made his first appearance in a Canadian court on Monday. After an 11-year journey from Afghanistan to Guantánamo Bay to Canada’s Millhaven Institution, the Toronto-born man is now in Edmonton’s federal prison. He was 15 when he was captured and tortured at Bagram. He turned 27 last Thursday.

Read more:

 Rules for (hunger-striking) radicals

By Nadine Bloch

Andres Conteris publicly fed by nasogastric tube on the 61st day of his solidarity fast in front of the White House on September 6. (WNV/Nadine Bloch)

Andres Conteris publicly fed by nasogastric tube on the 61st day of his solidarity fast in front of the White House on September 6. (WNV/Nadine Bloch)

Over the past few months, an amazing number of people have been fasting or on hunger strike for peace and justice all over the world, earning relatively sparse media coverage, and winning few demands. But this current wave of hunger strikes has expanded the traditional approach to these tactics and offers a look at some new techniques — as well as challenges for those who are currently fasting or thinking about using their hunger as a path to justice.

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Freed former Guantanamo inmate to arrive today

By Houda Mzioudet

Abdulhamid Abdussalam El Ghazzawi

Abdulhamid Abdussalam El Ghazzawi

Tripoli, 25 September 2013:

A former Libyan Guantanamo Bay inmate has been released from prison in the US and is due to arrive at Tripoli International Airport this evening.

Abdulhamid Abdussalam El Ghazzawi, aged 50 and said to be disabled, was kept at the controversial prison between 2002, when he was captured in Afghanistan, and 2010, when he was transferred to Georgia.  He was accused by the Americans of being a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and being linked to Al Qaeda, a claim which he has denied.

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Guantanamo: System failure

You know something is wrong when defense lawyers have to hike to Starbucks to find Internet access they feel they can—relatively, anyway—trust. But that’s exactly what lawyers for the five men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks felt they had to do after widespread failures of the government computer network they’d been using resulted in thousands of private defense emails being handed over to the prosecution and entire files disappearing from defense team drives. That series of undeniable security breaches, they argued, made even a public Internet connection a better option than the government network.

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Guantánamo detainee files complaint about UK security services

Shaker Aamer, who has never been charged or faced trial, alleges that he has been subjected to torture. Photograph: Reprieve

Shaker Aamer, who has never been charged or faced trial, alleges that he has been subjected to torture. Photograph: Reprieve

The last British resident detained in Guantánamo Bay has filed a complaint about the intelligence services with the UK’s most secret court.

Lawyers for Shaker Aamer have lodged a detailed submission at the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) in London, alleging that he is being prevented from being released due to “defamatory statements”.

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September 24, 2013
Pentagon Denies Money for Guantánamo Overhaul


The Obama administration has been trying to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but Congress has prevented it from doing so.

The Obama administration has been trying to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but Congress has prevented it from doing so.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has rejected a military request that it spend $195.7 million to renovate the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an official with the United States Southern Command said on Tuesday. The Obama administration has been trying to close the prison, but Congress has prevented it from doing so.

Pentagon: ‘No one believes Guantanamo hunger strike is over’

Former Guantanamo Bay detainees wear black hoods during a protest to demand the release of Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo Bay, outside the U.S. embassy in Sanaa April 16, 2013. (Reuters)

Former Guantanamo Bay detainees wear black hoods during a protest to demand the release of Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo Bay, outside the U.S. embassy in Sanaa April 16, 2013. (Reuters)

Eman El-Shenawi – Al Arabiya

The mass wave of prisoner hunger strikes at Guantanamo Bay cannot be considered over, a Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday, following an outcry over media reports suggesting the protest had largely ended.The official statement to Al Arabiya English came after Guantanamo authorities on Monday saidthe number of hunger-striking prisoners had fallen in recent weeks, and that daily updates on detainees refusing food would no longer be issued.

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Little Progress in the Four Months Since Obama’s Promise to Resume Releasing Cleared Prisoners from Guantánamo

By Andy Worthington



Four months ago, on May 23, President Obama delivered a major speech on national security issues, in which he promised to resume releasing cleared prisoners from Guantánamo. At the time, of the remaining 166 prisoners, 86 had been cleared for release in January 2010 by an inter-agency task force of officials from the major government departments and the intelligence agencies, which the president had established shortly after taking office in January 2009.

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September 23, 2013

Pentagon will no longer provide media updates on hunger strike according to Jason Leopold.

Witness Against Torture looking for October rolling fasters. Send e-mail to [email protected] with which day you would like to fast.

Reflection shared from Katie Berrigan (granddaughter of Philip Berrigan)


To change my normal routine by not eating was a strong reminder of the men imprisoned at Guantanamo, and the discomfort of 24 hours without food seemed incredibly small in comparison to what I know of their experiences. We read a recent opinion piece from Al-Jazeera talking about the long list of broken promises and crimes against humanity the U.S. government has racked up between Bagram prison and Guantanamo. Though it’s a small gesture on this end, it was also meaningful to me to read the list of prisoners’ names and hold each person in my thoughts for a little while.

A letter from Shaker Aamer shared from wife, Johina Aamer.


An old letter from Shaker Aamer to us. TAKE ACTION for Shaker Aamer and request a FULL parliamentary debate. Contact your MPs. Template provided here >

You can send the email to your MP via Please remember to click the confirmation link you will receive in your inbox afterwards. Or send a handwritten letter.

Omar Khadr set to make first public appearance tomorrow during Edmonton court hearing

By:  National Security Reporter, Published on Sun Sep 22 2013

EDMONTON—Former Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr is expected to make his first public appearance in Canada Monday morning, transferred amid tight security to an Edmonton courthouse where his lawyer will argue he is being held illegally as an adult.

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National opinion: Moving prisoners from Cuba is the best chance for justice

U.S. military guards walk within the Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba in 2006. / AP file photo

U.S. military guards walk within the Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba in 2006. / AP file photo

With Congress back in session, Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester will soon consider whether to adopt new provisions in a defense-spending bill allowing Guantanamo Bay detainees to be transferred to the U.S. for trial by federal courts.

After years of passing restrictions on such transfers, these new provisions, proposed as part of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), are the first sign of any significant movement in Congress toward bringing the deeply flawed military commissions system at Guantanamo to an end.

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September 20, 2013

Guantanamo hearing ends without ruling on ‘Starbucks solution’

By Jane Sutton

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba | Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:38pm EDT

(Reuters) – The judge in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal recessed a weeklong hearing in the September 11 conspiracy case on Friday evening without ruling on a defense request to halt future hearings until Pentagon computer problems are fixed.

The judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, said he would issue a decision “in due course.” The next pretrial hearing in the death penalty case against five suspected al Qaeda conspirators is scheduled to start on October 22 at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba.

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September 18, 2013

Pentagon defense counsel: Guantánamo tech woes are worse

Miami Herald, Posted on Wednesday, 09.18.13 — By CAROL ROSENBERG  [email protected]

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:

US Army military judge Col. James L. Pohl, July 7, 2005 file photo, Fort Hood, TX. Currently, Chief of the Guantanamo military commissions judiciary. LM OTERO /ASSOCIATED PRESS

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — Chronic problems of Pentagon computer network insecurity have gotten worse in the five months since the military commissions chief defense counsel declared the system too compromised for Sept. 11 trial preparations, the counsel testified Wednesday.

Emails don’t arrive, legal motions have been stripped off electronic notices and case work that vanished has yet to be found, Col. Karen Mayberry testified in a defense bid to freeze the death-penalty proceedings until the Pentagon builds a separate, secure system for the war crimes court’s defense lawyers.

In an act of exceptional defiance in April, Mayberry, a career Air Force lawyer, directed her defense teams to keep their confidential work off the war court network. Wednesday, she testified that, after fresh failures in an email migration, it’s currently better for defense teams in the complex death-penalty case to use their home computers, private emails and coffee shop WiFi to conduct their business.

“We’ve got more issues now than we did then and we’ve resolved very little of the ones that existed at the time,” Mayberry said.

Ex-Guantánamo detainee dies fighting Assad in Syria

Miami Herald, Posted on Wednesday, 09.18.13 — By CAROL ROSENBERG  [email protected]

A rebel leader, Sheik Abu Ahmad al Muhajir, eulogizing the man as Mohammed al Alami, a Northern African a veteran of the jihad in Afghanistan who “who went through hardship for the sake of God in the prison of the Americans in Guantánamo for five years.” Read more here:

A rebel leader, Sheik Abu Ahmad al Muhajir, eulogizing the man as Mohammed al Alami, a Northern African a veteran of the jihad in Afghanistan who “who went through hardship for the sake of God in the prison of the Americans in Guantánamo for five years.”

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba – An Islamic opposition group in Syria has posted a video of the funeral of a former Guantánamo prisoner, the first known report that one of the 500 or so captives released during the Bush administration joined the Syrian insurgency to topple Bashar Assad.

The Syrian Islamic Movement posted the video Monday on YouTube. It shows the body of a fallen fighter in his 30s or 40s and a rebel leader, Sheik Abu Ahmad al Muhajir, eulogizing the man as Mohammed al Alami, a Northwest African veteran of the jihad in Afghanistan “who went through hardship for the sake of God in the prison of the Americans in Guantánamo for five years.”

September 16, 2013

No One Reads Kafka in Gitmo

Passing Time in the World’s Most Notorious Prison

Molly Crabapple Artist, VICE columnist. Writing memoir, DRAWING BLOOD, for Harper Collins. Words for Paris Review, Daily Beast, CNN, The Guardian.

Molly Crabapple noncompliantSeptember 16, 2013 – A Jamaican love song plays at Guantanamo Bay’s tiki bar. The woman cries that she will wait for her man forever. I drink my beer and think of Zin, the wife of British detainee Shaker Aamer. It’s been eleven years since the Northern Alliance arrested Shaker. Though not charged with any crime, he sits in a solitary cell a few miles from the tiki bar. Zin Aamer is still waiting.

Guantanamo Bay is where people wait. A faded relic of The War on Terror, four of its eight camps stand empty for lack of prisoners. Called “contrary to who we are” by President Obama, it costs nearly 2 million dollars per detainee per year to operate. Of the 779 men who have passed through, only 7 have been convicted of crimes. 164 remain. According to the chief prosecutor, 144 will never be charged at all.

Ringed with razor-wire, Guantanamo practices a security culture so rigorous that when a journalist accidentally left an iPod in his bag, our press escort worried that the guards who confiscated it would have to smash it with a hammer. Guards peer at each detainee through cell cams every three minutes. Detainees are moved between camps in shackles and sometimes on backboards, something a guard told me was for “their safety” but could not explain how. Their genitals are searched before and after they use the phone.Molly Crabapple Ferry Leeward

But for all the security theater, on press tours, Guantanamo feels like a dollhouse without the dolls. Detainees are conspicuous in their absence. Military police walk me through kitchens, a hospital, and show-cells. Cooks prepare six sample meals (including garlic chicken) just for me to taste. Medics lecture next to the restraint chair they use for force-feedings. In empty cells, guards arrange neat rows of “comfort items” (Koran, toothbrush, soap, comb, prayer cap, Rubbermaid bin for likely-futile legal papers) representing the detainees’ only possessions.

Guantanamo is the world’s most notorious prison, but we see the detainees’ lives as if through dark water. To know them, we have a fewleaked assessments, a few administrative review board transcripts — some tribunal president telling a British prisoner “I don’t care about international law.” The rest sinks into classification. In Gitmo, even the library stamps are secret.

Read more:

Protesting 9/11 defendants, sick defense attorney shut down Guantánamo hearing

Miami Herald – Posted Monday, 09.16.13 By CAROL ROSENBERG   [email protected]

pentagon on fire 9 11

Helicopter flies over the Pentagon in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 as smoke billows over the building. HEESOON YIM / ASSOCIATED PRESS

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — The judge in the Sept. 11 case shouted down two alleged conspirators protesting their lack of rights, ejected one from the war court and then hastily recessed Monday morning to get a sick defense lawyer to the Navy base hospital.

“I have a right to talk,” Yemeni defendant Ramzi bin al Shibh shouted at the judge, Army Col. James Pohl.

“No you don’t,” the judge shouted back, trying to silence him before ordering U.S. Army guards to remove him from the Top Secret court.

Bin al Shibh, 41, was on his feet, unshackled, shouting at the judge and attired in a desert camouflage jacket atop a traditional white robe when two soldiers pinned his arms behind his back and hustled him out of court

Moments before, the alleged 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, 48, appeared to be reading an Arabic-language protest of military obstacles to meeting with his lawyers. The judge shut him down with a ruling that Mohammed lost the right to voluntarily absent himself from this week’s pretrial hearing by not answering his questions.

Read more:

September 13, 2013

Truth-Out, Thursday, 12 September 2013 — Palina | Op-Ed

Left: Andres Conteris, August 8th, 2013 Right: September 6th, 2013 water-only fast 61 days, 52 lbs lost (25% of body mass)

Left: Andres Conteris, Aug. 8th, 2013 Right: Sept. 6th, 2013 water-only fast 61 days, 52 lbs lost (25% of body mass)

On Friday, September 6, 2013 dozens witnessed in front of the White House, a live force-feed of 52-year-old Andres Conteris on his 61st day of a water-only hunger strike. Thousands more would watch from home via livestream,  RT and Huffington Post. Conteris began a hunger strike on July 8, 2013 in solidarity with Guantánamo Bay and the California prison, Pelican Bay. Among the dozens of witnesses was a crowd of international press covering the event. American press was absent with the exception of Ryan J. Reilly, a justice reporter for The Huffington Post who earlier this spring, traveled to Guantánamo.

Read more:

September 12, 2013 – Don’t Forget the Prisoners in Guantanamo and Those in Solidarity with Them

 (author of Voices of Conscience) Dissent:Voices of Conscience (video) 

September 12, 2013 - While Syria dominates the news now, let’s not forget about the prisoners in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Prison. Two prisoners were released from the military prison in Guantanamo, Cuba, without fanfare on August 28, the first releases since the Obama administration freed two Muslims of Uighur ethnicity and sent them to live in El Salvador on April 2012. On Sept 29, 2012, Canadian Omar Khadr was sent to his home nation of Canada to complete a seven-year prison sentence after his conviction by the military commission of while as a 15 year old, shooting at American soldiers as they attacked the compound of family members in Afghanistan.


Nabil Hadjarab

On August 28, Nabil Hadjarab and Mutia Sadiq Ahmad Sayyab, both Algerian citizens, were released from Guantanamo and transported to Algeria.  Hadjarab, now 34, was captured in Afghanistan on suspicion of being a low-level al-Qaida fighter. He was sent to Guantanamo in February 2002. He had been eligible for release since 2006 and took part in hunger strikes at Guantanamo because of his continued imprisonment.

Sayyab, now 37, who had worked as a chef in France and Syria, was arrested in Pakistan as a part of the U.S. bounty program in which hundreds of foreigners were sold to the U.S. after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Sayyab also was cleared for release years earlier but, due to congressional restrictions on transfers, had to remain at Guantanamo. Sayyab also had joined in hunger strikes at the prison to call attention to the prisoners’ indefinite detention.

There are 164 prisoners who still remain at Guantanamo; 84 have been cleared for release but still remain locked up.

September 5, 2013, marked day 209 of the hunger strike by prisoners at Guantanamo. 34 prisoners continue on the hunger strike and 31 are being force-fed through tubes in the nose to the stomach. Two months ago, 106 prisoners were on a hunger strike, 46 were being force fed and 3 prisoners were hospitalized.

Solidarity Actions

Solidarity actions for the prisoners have taken place around the world citing indefinite detention without trial, no release for years after prisoners are cleared for release and painful forced nasal-gastric feeding tubes shoved up the nose of prisoners on long-term hunger strikers and dangerously pushed down into their stomachs.

Weekly vigils take place around the United States. In Washington, DC, each Friday Witness Against Torture holds a vigil in front of the White House.

Video: Willy Cortes, teleSUR

On June 26, a large national mobilization at the White House ended with 21 people arrested for refusing to move from in front of the President’s residence. One protester, Diane Wilson, climbed the White House fence and attempted to sit on the fence, but fell into the White House grounds.

Wilson had been on a water-only hunger strike for 58 days. She was arrested and tried on September 6 for unlawful entry. She was found guilty of unlawful entry on September 6 and sentenced to 90 days in jail, but the sentence was suspended.

cynthia p day 29 hunger strike

Cynthia Papermaster, July 13, 2013 on hunger strike day 29

Several other international activists have been on long term solidarity hunger strikes.  Cynthia Papermeister of Berkeley, California ended her 82-day, 300-calorie-per-day liquid hunger strike, on September 6 with the release of the Algerian prisoners.  Elliot Adams of Sharon, New York, was on a 300-calorie hunger fast for 80 days from May 18 to August 4, 2013.

Tarak Kauff of Woodstock, New York, was on a 300-calorie hunger fast for 58 days from June 7 through August 4, 2013.  Brian Willson of Portland, Oregon, suspended his hunger strike on June 10 after 31 days on a 300-calorie-per-day strike due to being accidentally hit by a car.

video – by Eddie Becker

Activist undergoes Nasogastric tube Feeding in Solidarity with Guantanamo Hunger Strikers

On September 6, Andres Conteris, who has been on a water-only hunger strike for 60 days, was voluntarily force fed with a nasal-gastric tube Guantanamo-Force-Feeding graphicin front of the White House to demonstrate the painfulness of what 32 prisoners at Guantanamo are subjected to on a daily basis by US military medical personnel. Conteris said the forced feeding was “excruciatingly painful.”  He said that he could not imagine how the Guantanamo prisoners who have been force fed for months can possibly stand the procedures as their nostrils and throats are swollen from constant pushing of the tubes down through the nose, throat and stomach.

Videos and photos of Sept. 6 White House feeding action

Hundreds of others throughout the world are on shorter solidarity hunger strikes.

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CloseGitmo_OrangeRibbonVisit and spread the word that it costs $2.7 million per Gitmo prisoner per year.  Please contribute $1.00 to help distribute 2.7 Million Orange Ribbons while building the campaign to Close Gitmo and Support the 5 Core Demands of Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers. Click here to support human rights and make your tax-deductible donation

 U.S. Hunger Striker in Solidarity w/Guantánamo Bay & Pelican Bay inmates







Andrés Thomas Conteris - Day 84, water-only, lost 57 lbs. Solidarity fast began July 8, 2013 with 30,000 hunger striking California prisoners with 5 Core Demands of the Pelican Bay inmates.  After fasting 61 days, on Sept. 6th at 12:00 noon, he was fed through a nasogastric tube in front of the White House to depict how prisoners in Guantánamo are subjected to forced-feeding torture twice-daily.  He will continue to fast in solidarity with Gitmo prisoners and be fed like they are fed.  Future public demonstrations similar to the White House feeding will soon be announced. 

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 faces a jury trial in DC District Court on Sept. 5th, 8:30am. All are welcome!


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

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