Guantánamo ‘suicides’, real suicides?

UPDATE 29 October 2010: At this blog post, there used to be a video by Amnesty International, called Type of torture in Guantánamo Bay.

However, YouTube has removed that video. They say because of “hate speech”. ??????????!!!!!!!!!!! What a strange definition YouTube bosses have of hate speech. A very mainstream and moderate organization like Amnesty International seemingly is not allowed to call torture torture … if the torture is by the United States government. While all sorts of open nazis and racists are on YouTube.

I have replaced the removed video with another one about Guantanamo torture. In fact, with two videos.

From Harper’s Magazine in the USA:

January 18, 9:00 AM, 2010

By Scott Horton

This is the full text of an exclusive advance feature by Scott Horton that will appear in the March 2010 Harper’s Magazine. The issue will be available on newsstands the week of February 15.

1. “Asymmetrical Warfare”

When President Barack Obama took office last year, he promised to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great.” Toward that end, the president issued an executive order declaring that the extra-constitutional prison camp at Guantánamo “shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.” Obama has failed to fulfill his promise. Some prisoners are being charged with crimes, others released, but the date for closing the camp seems to recede steadily into the future.

Furthermore, new evidence now emerging may entangle Obama’s young administration with crimes that occurred during the Bush presidency, evidence that suggests the current administration failed to investigate seriously—and may even have continued—a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.

Late in the evening on June 9 that year, three prisoners at Guantánamo died suddenly and violently. Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, from Yemen, was thirty-seven. Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, from Saudi Arabia, was thirty. Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, also from Saudi Arabia, was twenty-two, and had been imprisoned at Guantánamo since he was captured at the age of seventeen. None of the men had been charged with a crime, though all three had been engaged in hunger strikes to protest the conditions of their imprisonment. They were being held in a cell block, known as Alpha Block, reserved for particularly troublesome or high-value prisoners.

As news of the deaths emerged the following day, the camp quickly went into lockdown. The authorities ordered nearly all the reporters at Camp America to leave and those en route to turn back. The commander at Guantánamo, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, then declared the deaths “suicides.” In an unusual move, he also used the announcement to attack the dead men. “I believe this was not an act of desperation,” he said, “but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.” Reporters accepted the official account, and even lawyers for the prisoners appeared to believe that they had killed themselves. Only the prisoners’ families in Saudi Arabia and Yemen rejected the notion.

Two years later, the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which has primary investigative jurisdiction within the naval base, issued a report supporting the account originally advanced by Harris, now a vice-admiral in command of the Sixth Fleet. The Pentagon declined to make the NCIS report public, and only when pressed with Freedom of Information Act demands did it disclose parts of the report, some 1,700 pages of documents so heavily redacted as to be nearly incomprehensible. The NCIS report was carefully cross-referenced and deciphered by students and faculty at the law school of Seton Hall University in New Jersey, and their findings, released in November 2009, made clear why the Pentagon had been unwilling to make its conclusions public. The official story of the prisoners’ deaths was full of unacknowledged contradictions, and the centerpiece of the report—a reconstruction of the events—was simply unbelievable.

See also here. And here.

Casting Doubt on U.S. Claims of Suicide, Attorney Scott Horton Reveals 3 Gitmo Prisoners Died After Torture at Secret Site: here. And here.

The forthcoming issue of Harper’s Magazine contains a devastating exposure of the alleged suicides of three Guantánamo Bay detainees in June 2006: here.

The US Justice Department has determined that nearly 50 of the remaining 196 detainees at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are to be held indefinitely, without charges or trial: here.

A plea from Guantánamo inmate Younous Chekkouri: here.

By Juan Cole in the USA:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Top Ten Counter-Terrorism Scandals 2010

The new year is not very old, but several recent revelations cast the US fight against al-Qaeda (a tiny if deadly fraternity of a couple thousand fanatics spread in dozens of countries) in a bad light, if not to say a scandalous one. The entire premise of combating al-Qaeda as though it were an enemy army, using the Pentagon as the lead agency, while simultaneously militarizing the CIA, needs to be questioned. But so too do a lot of other premises about a so-called American ‘Long War’ with parts of the Muslim world, including drone strikes, secret bases, and torture. Worst of all, embarrassing revelations are coming out about damaging or even criminal actions and policies that can only harm any genuine counter-terrorism program.

Kenya Seeks Return of Citizen from Guantanamo: here.

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4 thoughts on “Guantánamo ‘suicides’, real suicides?

  1. It has been one year since President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order calling for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

    Today, 20 veterans are on Capitol Hill, representing over 2000 veterans who have signed the letter telling Congress to follow through and support President Obama’s call to close the detention center at Guantanamo as a matter of national security.

    Let’s join these veterans and tell Congress:

    Bob Fertik

    Dear Activist,

    For too long the prison at Guantanamo Bay has remained a blight on the American conscience. Guantanamo is a recruiting tool for terrorists that undermines our troops and undermines our security. As veterans of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, we urge you to take immediate action to permanently close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

    General Colin Powell has said that if it were up to him, he would close Guantanamo Bay not tomorrow, but this afternoon. General David Petraeus made clear in testimony before Congress that he believes that Guantanamo Bay should be closed. Many other military leaders, both active and retired, have expressed this view. They know what is at stake for our men and women in uniform.

    We stand with them.

    Every day that the facility at Guantanamo Bay remains open and detainees are held there without trial is another day that terror networks have an effective recruiting poster – that the United States applies the laws to some, but is hypocritical when it comes to others. Guantanamo has been used in videos by senior al Qaeda leadership at least 32 times since 2001 and four times this year alone. Guantanamo is harmful to our national security and to the men and women in uniform who we have put into harm’s way.

    There are many viable options to house and try detainees here on U.S. soil, including the possible purchase of the state prison in Thomson, Ill. We support these options as we know that our justice system is capable of handling those who are accused of harming us. More than 300 terrorists – foreign and domestic – are currently being held on U.S. soil. 195 terrorism suspects have been tried and convicted in a U.S. court of law. We believe in the justice system that we have fought to protect. Those who would use fear-mongering and demagoguery to tarnish our system of justice run counter to everything we fought for – the defense of our laws, our Constitution, and our way of life. Theirs is a position of weakness.

    Ours is a position of strength.

    Closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay is in the national security interest of America and of the troops we send into harm’s way. We urge you to do so without delay.


    Tom Andrews
    Executive Director


  2. Pingback: Were Guantanamo prisoners ‘suicided’? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Guantanamo Bay’s butterflies and moths | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Pro peace soldier Joe Glenton freed | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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