Human rights groups refuse Guantanamo propaganda stunt

This video is the film The Road to Guantanamo.

From Associated Press:

SAN JUAN – Three human rights groups said yesterday that they will decline an invitation to tour the Guantanamo Bay prison next month because it doesn’t include an opportunity to speak with prisoners.

Amnesty International USA, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights Watch all said the recent Defense Department invitation falls short of the full access to the prison at the US base in Cuba that they jointly requested in a January letter to President Obama.

See also here.

Music torture and Guantanamo: here.

R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails Join Campaign To Close Guantanamo Bay: here.

A UN human rights investigator insisted on Monday that Guantanamo Bay detainees must be freed or transferred to US federal courts for trial by the January 22 deadline set by US President Barack Obama: here.

US Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that ten of the prisoners now held in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp would be transferred to US locations and placed on trial on terrorism charges: here.

Legal action charity Reprieve has urged the government to help in the desperate plight of a British resident who remains in the limbo of Guantanamo Bay: here.

Britain: Senior members of the Muslim community in Bolton have condemned the arrest and subsequent release without charge of a 62-year-old community leader by counter-terrorism officers: here.

High Court hears the case of Shaker Aamer, the last recognized British resident in Guantánamo Bay, as Government demands secrecy: here.

Lawyers representing a British national who suffered torture at the hands of US interrogators went to the High Court on Tuesday alleging British complicity in his abuse: here.

THE London Guantanamo Campaign staged a protest yesterday outside the American embassy on the 8th anniversary of the establishment of the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison, demanding it be shut down: here.

3 thoughts on “Human rights groups refuse Guantanamo propaganda stunt

  1. Guantanamo ‘hell on Earth’, says Somali detainee

    AFP – Wednesday, December 23

    Mohamed Saleban Bare, a Somali just home from eight years in the US jail at Guantanamo Bay has told AFP the prison was “hell on Earth”, and alleges torture there has scarred some of his fellow inmates.

    HARGEISA, Somalia (AFP) – – A Somali just home from eight years in the US jail at Guantanamo Bay told AFP the prison was “hell on Earth”, and alleged torture there had scarred some of his fellow inmates.

    Mohamed Saleban Bare, who arrived in his hometown of Hargeisa on Saturday, said he was innocent of any charges that would have caused security forces to arrest him in Pakistan in 2001 and transfer him to the US jail via Afghanistan.

    “Guantanamo Bay is like hell on Earth,” he said in an interview Monday with an AFP reporter who visited him at his hotel in Hargeisa, capital of the northern breakaway state of Somaliland.

    “I don’t feel normal yet but I thank Allah for keeping me alive and free from the physical and mental sufferings of some of my friends,” he said.

    Sporting short hair and a long scrawny beard, Bare says he is in good physical health but looks dazed, speaks very softly and walks gingerly.

    Bare, 44, was among a dozen Guantanamo detainees from Afghanistan, Yemen and the breakaway Somalia region who were sent home at the weekend, bringing the number of detainees at the “war on terror” prison in Cuba to below 200.

    He and another Somali, 45-year-old Osmail Mohamed Arale, were handed over to their relatives in Hargeisa by the International Representative Committee of the Red Cross in the presence of Somaliland authorities.

    “Some of my colleagues in the prison lost their sight, some lost their limbs and others ended up mentally disturbed. I’m OK compared to them,” he said.

    Bare said he was picked up in the Pakistani port city of Karachi in December 2001, weeks after the United States launched its “war on terror” following the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York.

    He claims he had been there for some time with several relatives who had fled the violence in Somalia and were hoping to find asylum in a western state.

    After about four months he was transferred to US military prisons in Kandahar and Bagram in Afghanistan, he said.

    “At Bagram and Kandahar, the situation was harsh but when we were transferred to Guantanamo the torture tactics changed. They use a kind of psychological torture that kills you mentally,” he said.

    This included depriving prisoners of sleep for at least four nights in a row and feeding them once a day with only a biscuit, he said.

    “And in the cold they let you sleep without a blanket. Some of the inmates face harsher torture, including with electricity and beating,” he said.

    Bare was reluctant to answer questions about his alleged ties with Al-Ittihad Al-Islamiya, a Somali Islamist movement which produced many of the current leaders of the Al Qaeda-linked Shebab.

    “Guantanamo is a place of humiliation for Muslims. All the inmates are Muslims but they (Americans) claim the prison is for terrorists. Why don’t they arrest non-Muslims belonging to these so-called terror groups?”

    “No human rights convention stands in Guantanamo. Interrogators force inmates to confess crimes they didn’t commit by torturing them and sullying their religion,” Bare said.

    “They would throw Korans into the toilet and raise the volume of their music during prayers,” he recounted.

    Bare said the US authorities had never told him why he was arrested.

    “They used to ask many questions, most of them relating to my background like what I was doing in Somalia and about the people I know. It was all about suspicions and not a clear case,” he said.

    US President Barack Obama has vowed to close down the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention facility by January with some of the inmates to be moved to a maximum-security prison in the state of Illinois.


  2. A year later, Obama falters on pledge to shut Guantanamo

    Washington, Jan 14 (DPA) When President Barack Obama took office, one of his first acts was to order within a year the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison for holding suspects in the war on terrorism. The directive, which came two days after his inauguration, was welcomed worldwide after years of allegations that the prison violated civil rights.

    Obama said repeatedly during his election campaign that Guantanamo tarnished US credibility and vowed to shut it down. But as the Jan 22 deadline approaches, Obama has acknowledged the goal will not be met, with officials conceding that closing the facility on the US naval installation in Cuba has proven more challenging than believed.

    ‘The logistics of it have proven more complicated than we anticipated,’ Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said.

    There are nearly 200 prisoners currently locked up at Guantanamo. Since Obama took office, his administration has been able to send more than 40 to other countries, but the pace has been slow and many nations are reluctant to take more.

    In trying to close Guantanamo, the Obama administration has had to resolve a broad array of legal, diplomatic and political complexities while coping with sharp criticism from conservatives and opposite-minded civil rights groups.

    A task force headed by the Justice Department has spent the year evaluating the cases, trying to determine which detainees can be prosecuted; which can be released to another country; and which fall into a controversial third group: too dangerous for release but cannot be tried. A senior administration official has said none have so far been identified as belonging in that controversial third category.

    The Pentagon has so far identified more than 100 detainees as eligible for release, but only a handful of countries have been willing to resettle the prisoners, and when they do it’s only in very limited numbers.

    Further complicating the problem was the Dec 25 Al Qaeda bomb plot on a US airliner. The Nigerian suspect has reportedly told US authorities that he received training in Yemen. About half the remaining population at Guantanamo are Yemeni.

    The US government has been increasingly concerned about Al Qaeda’s growing presence in Yemen, heightened by the indication that the Christmas Day attack originated from the Arabian Peninsula country. Obama quickly announced that he was blocking the transfer of any detainees to Yemen, including reported plans to send 34 more to the country.

    According to the Pentagon, the rate of released Guantanamo detainees heading back into Al Qaeda’s ranks has climbed, including some who joined the terrorist group in Yemen.

    ‘When these Gitmo detainees find their way back on the battlefield … they form the core of people who want to attack the United States,’ Pete Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, said on CBS television.

    In the wake of the attack, there is mounting opposition in Congress to funding Obama’s plan to relocate the Guantanamo detainees to a prison in Illinois. Federal control of the state-owned Thomson Correctional Centre, which lies about 240 km west of Chicago, has emerged as a cornerstone of the policy to empty the cells at Guantanamo.

    Republicans have sharply criticised the move, saying bringing the detainees to the US is a security threat. Some Democrats facing re-election this year have expressed similar concerns following the airline plot.

    ‘The president’s decision to move dozens of terror suspects from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to an Illinois jail is another mistaken step in this administration’s stubborn insistence to turn the global war on terror into a law enforcement effort,’ Republican Senator George LeMieux said.

    Obama has also endured fierce criticism from civil rights groups which only a year ago praised his announcement to close Guantanamo. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sharply opposes Obama’s position that some detainees can be held indefinitely without charges.

    ‘The creation of a Gitmo North in Illinois is hardly a meaningful step forward,’ Anthony Romero, the ACLU executive director said. ‘Shutting down Guantanamo will be nothing more than a symbolic gesture if we continue its lawless policies onshore.’

    Obama has remained steadfastly committed to closing Guantanamo. He said his decision to block the transfer of detainees to Yemen will not deter shutting down the prison. ‘Make no mistake. We will close Guantanamo prison, which has damaged our national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for Al Qaeda,’ he said.


  3. Pingback: Guantánamo ‘suicides’, real suicides? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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