Release Guantanamo torture videos, United States judge says

Guantanamo torture, cartoon

By Tom Carter in the USA:

US judge orders release of Guantanamo torture videos

31 October 2015

On Tuesday, federal district judge Gladys Kessler rejected the Obama administration’s latest attempts to block the disclosure of videos that depict beatings and force-feeding at the Guantanamo Bay torture camp.

Judge Kessler had previously ordered the release of the videos on October 3 of last year, and the Obama administration has been attempting to overturn her order ever since. The videos in question are 32 separate recordings and two compilations that depict the torture of former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Abu Wa’el Dhiab.

Dhiab was abducted by the US government in Pakistan in 2002 and smuggled to Guantanamo Bay. After being held and tortured for 12 years without charges or trial, he was released in December 2014 to Uruguay.

Dhiab was born in Lebanon but grew up in Syria. After his marriage he moved to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he ran a small business. Following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Dhiab fled to Pakistan with his wife and children, where he was seized by the authorities and turned over to the American intelligence agencies, likely in return for the payment of a cash bounty.

As a result of his brutal treatment at Guantanamo Bay, Dhiab is now permanently disabled and confined to a wheelchair.

While at Guantanamo Bay torture camp, Dhiab went on a peaceful hunger strike to protest his detention and the conditions of his confinement. Hunger strikes have been widespread at Guantanamo Bay ever since the camp was opened. A 2013 hunger strike involved more than half the population of the camp.

Guantanamo’s guards sought to break the hunger strikes, which they called “voluntary fasting,” with the most sadistic retaliation. In addition to savage beatings called “forcible cell extractions,” strikers were subjected to force-feeding against their will. Strikers were strapped down while feeding tubes, with no anesthetic, were roughly forced up their noses and down their throats. Often, the tube had blood and bile still on it from the previous victim.

Describing the treatment of inmate Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, who later died at Guantanamo Bay under suspicious circumstances, a 2004 Amnesty International report stated: “Twice a day, the guards immobilize Latif’s head, strap his arms and legs to a special restraint chair, and force-feed him a liquid nutrient by inserting a tube up his nose and into his stomach—a clear violation of international standards. The feeding, Latif says, ‘is like having a dagger shoved down your throat.’”

Another Guantanamo prisoner, Ahmed Rabbani, described how during the procedure he “vomited blood on himself three or four times” before passing out. During one sitting, the tube was inserted upside down, so that it felt like it was being “pushed up into [his] brain.” According to his attorney, this left Rabbani “screaming in pain.”

While Dhiab was being held at Guantanamo Bay, attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court in the United States in an attempt to stop the torture.

At the time, Dhiab told his attorneys, “This is my life. I should have the freedom to decide what I want to do with it. If I want to go on hunger strike, that is my business. They should never force feed us. I am on a peaceful protest. The U.S. government pretends that they give freedom to people, but in this way they are taking away my freedom. The whole world knows that we are protesting peacefully and they pretend they want to take care of our health. It is our health, to do with as we see fit.”

“I want to see my wife and children after this captivity and take them to my chest,” he continued. “I want them to feel that their father is with them—that they are not orphans, that their father is alive. I want and demand my stolen freedom and the peace that I am looking for. I want to leave to get medical treatment, and meet my dear wife and sons.”

In May 2014, Judge Kessler issued a ruling that allowed the force-feeding to continue. While she criticized the force-feeding procedures, which caused Dhiab to “suffer unnecessary pain,” she wrote that “the Court simply cannot let Mr. Dhiab die.”

In the course of the litigation, 32 “classified” videotapes depicting the torture of Dhiab were apparently disclosed to Judge Kessler but were not made available to the public. In June 2014, a number of journalists intervened in the case to try to secure the release of the torture videos to the public, after which Judge Kessler agreed to permit a partial release of the footage.

The Obama administration claims that the torture videos constitute “state secrets,” and has sought to block their release in court on the grounds of “national security.” The Obama administration claims that the videos would “incite” extremist groups to engage in violence against America and also embolden other Guantanamo detainees.

Government lawyers appealed unsuccessfully to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the disclosure of the videos, and on May 29 the case was returned to Judge Kessler. On Tuesday, Kessler issued a decision rejecting the Obama administration’s latest arguments as “repetitive, speculative, and extremely vague.”

“Transparency about the actions of our government—including the judiciary—is one of the cornerstones of our democracy,” Kessler wrote. “This Court has found that the Government’s justifications for barring the American public from seeing the videotapes are not sufficiently rational and plausible to justify barring release of the videotapes, which are part of the Court’s official records, from the eyes and ears of the American public.”

Incredibly, the Obama administration’s lawyers had tried to argue that releasing the videos would violate Dhiab’s right to privacy. In her decision on Tuesday, Judge Kessler called this argument “flat out unbelievable.”

In fact, Dhiab supports the release of the videos. “I want Americans to see what is going on at the prison today, so they will understand why we are hunger-striking, and why the prison should be closed,” Dhiab wrote in documents filed with the court. “If the American people stand for freedom, they should watch these tapes. If they truly believe in human rights, they need to see these tapes.”

The force-feeding of hunger strikers is acknowledged as a potential form of torture under international law. Since 1975, the World Medical Association has prohibited doctors from participating in the force-feeding of hunger strikers, so long as the prisoner is “capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment.”

In addition to brutal beatings and force-feeding, other forms of torture practiced at Guantanamo Bay and other US “black site” facilities have included waterboarding, forced nudity, shackling in “stress positions,” sexual humiliation, sexual assault, sleep deprivation, mock executions, solitary confinement, and the infamous practice of “rectal feeding” revealed by the December 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program.

To date, none of the war criminals involved in this sadistic conspiracy have been prosecuted, from the participants and their supervisors to those at the top who orchestrated and continue to cover up the program. Instead, the Obama administration has bent over backwards to coddle and protect the war criminals, attempting to conceal the torture program behind a veil of “state secrets” and “national security.”

The Obama administration has vigorously opposed the disclosure of the Dhiab torture videos, and plans to appeal Judge Kessler’s latest decision, further delaying their release.

As of December 4, 2013, the Obama administration announced that it would not be disclosing any more information about the Guantanamo hunger strikes to the public, on the grounds that disclosure does not serve any “operational purpose.”

The author also recommends:

The death of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif
[3 December 2012]

Guantánamo Diary: A book that needs to be read
[6 February 2015]

PLAN TO CLOSE GUANTANAMO EXPECTED THIS WEEK The Pentagon will release the administration’s final attempt to close the prison. However, it would need Congressional approval. [AP]

The White House indicated Tuesday that President Barack Obama will sign into law a Pentagon spending bill that significantly raises the base budget of the US war machine while prohibiting the shutdown of the prison camp at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba or the transfer of its detainees to US facilities: here.

Shaker Aamer, from Guantanámo torture to hospital

This music video says about itself:

PJ Harvey – Shaker Aamer

3 August 2013

PJ Harvey has released a song to highlight the ongoing detention of the last British resident held inside the US prison at Guantánamo Bay.

The track, called Shaker Aamer was recorded by the Mercury prizewinning songwriter to help maintain pressure to have the 46-year-old, whose family live in south London, released back to Britain.

Aamer has been detained in Guantánamo for more than 11 years, despite being cleared for release in 2007, and remains imprisoned without charge or trial. He has a British wife and his four children — the youngest of whom he has never met — were all born in Britain. They live in Tooting, south London.

The British government has stated repeatedly that it wants him back in the UK and last week, under escalating international pressure, the US announced it is to restart transfers from the prison. Concerns remain, however, that Aamer might be forcibly sent to Saudi Arabia and imprisoned there instead of being reunited with his family in the UK.

Shaker Aamer

No water for three days.
I cannot sleep, or stay awake.

Four months hunger strike.
Am I dead, or am I alive?

With metal tubes we are force fed.
I honestly wish I was dead.

Strapped in the restraining chair.
Shaker Aamer, your friend.

In camp 5, eleven years.
Never Charged. Six years cleared.

They took away my one note pad,
and they refused to give it back.

I can’t think straight, I write, then stop.
Your friend, Shaker Aamer. Lost.

The guards just do what they’re told,
the doctors just do what they’re told.

Like an old car I’m rusting away.
Your friend, Shaker, Guantanamo Bay.

Don’t forget.

© 2013 Hothead Music Ltd.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Welcome home!

Saturday 31st October 2015

Shaker Aamer is rushed to hospital after finally touching down in Britain following 13 years without charge or trial

by Luke James and Paddy McGuffin

FREED Shaker Aamer was finally back in Britain yesterday after his 13-year Guantanamo Bay nightmare — but was immediately rushed to hospital.

The last British resident held at the hellish US detention centre — without charge or trial — arrived at Biggin Hill airport in London on a private plane.

Mr Aamer’s long awaited return was announced at just a few hours’ notice by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond over a month after his release was secured.

Mr Aamer’s father-in-law Saeed Siddique called the surprise “a delightful day.”

But there was no emotional airport reunion with family for the father-of-four who required urgent medical treatment.

After landing, the jet taxied into a hangar and the doors were closed before Mr Aamer could be seen.

An ambulance believed to be carrying Mr Aamer then left the main entrance of the airport around half an hour after the plane landed.

It had not been confirmed last night whether Mr Aamer had yet been reunited with his wife and children — including a son he has never met.

After being captured by bounty hunters while doing charity work in Afghanistan and sold to the US, he entered Guantanamo Bay on February 14 2002, the very day his youngest child was born.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said measures have been put in place to “ensure public safety,” but confirmed there were no plans to detain Mr Aamer on his return.

Reprieve charity director and Mr Aamer’s lawyer Clive Stafford Smith explained his client’s ordeal had left him “in terrible shape.”

Mr Aamer, known by the Guantanamo authorities as detainee 239, suffered beatings, torture and lengthy spells in solitary confinement.

In protest at the treatment meted out to him and other detainees Mr Aamer engaged in a number of hunger strikes, on one occasion losing more than half his body weight.

And Mr Stafford-Smith said: “His first priority is health.”

“He told me he is like an old car who hasn’t been to see a mechanic for a long time. He needs to get to a hospital.

“His second priority is to get with his family and rebuild that relationship that has been torn from him. He has never even met his youngest child.”

In a statement Mr Aamer said: “The reason I have been strong is because of the support of people so strongly devoted to the truth.

“If I was the fire to be lit to tell the truth, it was the people who protected the fire from the wind.”

The former detainee gave his thanks for the support he has recieved throughout his incarceration: “My thanks go to Allah first, second to my wife, my family, to my kids and then to my lawyers who did everything they could to carry the word to the world.

I feel obliged to every individual who fought for justice not just for me but to bring an end to Guantanamo.

“Without knowing of their fight I might have given up more than once.

“The reality may be that we cannot establish peace but we can establish justice. If there is anything that will bring this world to peace it is to remove injustice.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was among the leading figures in the campaign that has secured Mr Aamer’s freedom.

Mr Corbyn was among MPs who visited Washington in May to piled pressure on US authorities to secure the release.

He said: “I am delighted to hear that Shaker Aamer has finally been released after 13 years in Guantanamo Bay.

“Now that Shaker has been released, the scandal of the Guantanamo detention camp itself must be brought to an end. I hope that Shaker and his family will now be given the time and space to rebuild their lives.”

Joy Hurcombe, of the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, praised the “immense courage and fortitude” show by Mr Aamer.

But she added the campaign would now demand answers from the government over Mr Aamer’s claims that MI5 agents were present during his torture by CIA agents.

A government spokesman said: “We welcome his release and continue to support President [Barack] Obama’s commitment to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo.”

His biggest tests are yet to come – Begg
Fellow ex-inmate warns that Shaker’s ordeal is far from over

by Paddy McGuffin

FOR the vast majority of people, the horrific ordeal suffered by Shaker Aamer, who was finally freed from Guantanamo Bay yesterday, are unimaginable.

What it feels like to suffer daily beatings, torture and mental abuse, in addition to being incarcerated without charge or trial despite being wholly innocent of any crime, is beyond the comprehension of most.

No doubt the mental and physical scars inflicted on the 46-year-old father of four will take time to heal.

One man who knows all too well what Mr Aamer has gone through, and what now awaits him, is Moazzam Begg, himself a former Guantanamo detainee and founder of human rights group Cage.

In a statement on the organisation’s website, Mr Begg said: “The day has finally arrived. Britain’s longest-serving Guantanamo prisoner is coming home.”

But he also warned: “Shaker’s greatest tests are yet to come.

“That is the heartbreaking part, and anyone who has been imprisoned away from their family can attest to this.

“A stranger becoming a father — not of children, but of young adults — is an unimaginable task that nobody has any expertise in, except perhaps a few Guantanamo prisoners scattered around the globe.”

However, Mr Begg added: “Shaker is a courageous, resilient, kind and thoughtful person who has faced the worst the world has to offer and survived.”

Tory MP Andrew Mitchell, one of four MPs who went to Washington earlier this year to press for Mr Aamer’s release, called on the government to allow the former detainee a family life.

He said: “I hope he will be reunited with his family as swiftly as possible and that he will receive full support as he adapts to life back in Britain after 14 years in custody without charge or trial.”

Joanne MacInnes, of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, raised concerns that Mr Aamer could be tagged or monitored.

She said the more pressing issue was health problems which “have never really been addressed.”

Ms MacInnes added: “He also has a huge suspicion of doctors because all doctors have done so far is watch and be complicit in his torture in Guantanamo. He will have to overcome that lack of trust and hopefully finally be treated with some TLC.”

Aamer must be ‘closely monitored’ say rightwingers

by Lamiat Sabin

SHAKER AAMER should be “monitored very carefully” by security officials, a “neoconservative” organisation said yesterday on the innocent man’s first day of freedom.

Robin Simcox of the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a self-declared “pro-democracy think tank,” accused Mr Aamer of having been “a weapons-trained recruiter for al-Qaida,” for which he should be kept under surveillance.

This is despite the fact that the last British detainee held in Guantanamo was never charged or put on trial for any crime.

The HJS, an anti-communist group that has had former CIA director James Woolsey as a patron, claimed to have “several areas of concern” over Mr Aamer’s return to his family.

Stop the War Coalition spokesman Chris Nineham said the … HJS had “complete contempt for any legal process and lacks humanity” in smearing Mr Aamer before and after his release.

He added that the former detainee had been “tortured and imprisoned without trial and there isn’t a shred of evidence to support the claims the HJS is making.

“The danger is that we are moving into territory where anyone that is Muslim and accused by the authorities automatically becomes a terrorist.”

Compensation of around £1 million is rumoured to have beeen offered to Mr Aamer. Mr Simcox claimed that it could end up in the pockets of “violent extremists,” endangering national security.

Tory PM David Cameron’s spokeswoman said: “There was a settlement in relation to detainees in 2010.

“That was subject to a legally binding confidentiality agreement. I cannot go into details of who was party to it.”

Reaction: Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty director

Shaker Aamer’s release will bring huge relief to his family, but serious questions remain. Why did it take us so many years to persuade our closest ally to behave decently?

Reaction: John McDonnell, shadow chancellor

Shaker was simply a man in the wrong place at the wrong time, a charity worker building wells in Afghanistan who was kidnapped, ransomed and falsely imprisoned.

“I hope that he now gets the full support he needs so that he’ll be able to settle back into society, and get on with the rest of his life.

Reaction: Kate Hudson, CND general secretary

His wife and children, including a son he has never met, have suffered greatly since their husband and father was imprisoned and I hope today will be the first step to recovery for all of them. We must not forget that Shaker and his family are victims of the ‘war on terror’ launched by Bush and Blair.

Reaction: Chris Nineham, Stop the War deputy chair

He has never been tried and has had to suffer imprisonment for over a decade. We wish him and all those close to him well in adjusting to life back in London.

We call for the Guantanamo Bay detention centre to be closed.

SHAKER AAMER is finally at home with his family, but the 13 years he suffered in the Guantanamo Bay torture camp stand as an eternal badge of shame for Britain. Successive British governments colluded with Washington’s denial of justice and humanity to prisoners in US-occupied Cuba, putting a mythical “special relationship” before the rule of law: here.

Innocent Guantanamo prisoner free at last

This is a video of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, saying during the March on Washington in the USA: ‘Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last’!

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Shaker Aamer released: After 13 years in Guantanamo, final British detainee lands at Biggin Hill

Mr Aamer was never convicted of any crimes

Rose Troup Buchanan

2 hours ago

The last British resident detained in Guantanamo landed in the UK on Friday after spending 13 years imprisoned in Cuba.

Shaker Aamer, 48, landed at Biggin Hill airport at around 2pm in a private Gulfstream IV jet.

Security at the airport, located in south east London, was tight with journalists and even Mr Aamer’s lawyer Clive Stafford Smith denied entry.

“He needs, first, to be in a hospital, and then to be with his family,” Clive Stafford Smith, told an Associated Press reporter.

Mr Aamer will be taken for a health check-up before returning to his home in Battersea, south London.

During his time in Guantanamo, an independent doctor who examined him warned his health had rapidly deteriorated in the past eight years.

Dr Emily Keram, a US doctor who visited him during his imprisonment, diagnosed Mr Aamer with acute post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), migraines, digestive problems, swelling, asthma and tinnitus. She recommended urgent treatment.

Mr Aamer was cleared for release from the notorious US detention centre in Cuba in 2007, but it would be a further eight years before American officials allowed his transfer.

A Saudi citizen, Mr Aamer has four children with his British wife and has been granted permanent British residency. He has never met his youngest son, born after he was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 and then imprisoned by the US government.

Films on Afghan war, Guantanamo reviewed

This video from Canada is called GUANTANAMO’S CHILD: OMAR KHADR Trailer | Festival 2015.

By Joanne Laurier:

8 October 2015

This is the fourth in a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto International Film Festival (September 10-20). The first part was posted September 26, the second part October 1 and the third part October 3.

The case of Omar Khadr

The “war on terror” is a lying, noxious phrase, endlessly invoked to justify the American ruling elite’s drive for global dominance. This week marks the 14th anniversary of the US military’s invasion of Afghanistan, an exercise in sociocide, which has led to the deaths of tens of thousands and the further laying waste of the already impoverished nation.

The tragic encounter of American imperialism with the Afghan people goes back to the late 1970s, when the Carter administration incited and fomented Islamic fundamentalists, including Osama bin Laden, as part of the strategy of undermining the Soviet Union. The criminality of US policy in Central Asia knows almost no bounds.

Michelle Shephard and Patrick Reed’s documentary, Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr, concerns itself with the Canadian-born youth who was captured in Afghanistan by US forces in 2002 during an airstrike and assault that killed all the anti-American insurgents except the grievously wounded, 15-year-old Omar. He was sent to the Bagram Air Base, site of a notorious US prison in Afghanistan, and tortured, before he was transferred to the even more notorious Guantanamo Bay internment camp in Cuba.

Treated like a “terrorist”—for having fought as a soldier against an invading army—by the criminals in the American government and their junior partners in Canada, Omar, in 2005, became the only juvenile to be tried for war crimes.

In 2010, he pleaded not guilty to “murdering” US Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer during the 2002 firefight. Three months later, he changed his plea, his only means of obtaining release from the Guantanamo hellhole. Over the strenuous objections of the Harper government in Ottawa, Omar was repatriated to Canada in 2012. Since his release in May 2015, Khadr has resided with his lawyer Dennis Edney in Edmonton, Alberta.

As the Shephard-Reed film reveals, Omar Khadr is a remarkable young man, as is his feisty, Scottish-born attorney. Through extensive interviews, Guantanamo’s Child constructs a nightmarish picture of Omar’s ordeal at the hands of the American military.

Although the bright and soft-spoken Omar is forthright in declaring that he was fighting “for a cause: fighting invaders,” the filmmakers are far more defensive about his role. In fact, the initial portions of the documentary tend to take the “war on terror” and the accompanying propaganda campaign at face value, as though “everything changed” as a result of the 9/11 attacks. The implication is that the “Americans” may have overreacted, but they had every right to “defend” themselves.

Any objective examination of the post-9/11 measures by the Bush administration would conclude that the actions corresponded to a long-standing agenda, involving massive US intervention in the Middle East and Central Asia in pursuit of energy supplies and, more generally, American imperialist geopolitical objectives, and that the terrorist attacks merely provided a pretext.

Missing in Guantanamo’s Child is any reference to the history of the region. There is no indication that the bin Laden forces were financed and encouraged by the CIA. It should be noted that Shepard, who wrote a book in 2008 entitled Guantanamo’s Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr, is the national security reporter for the Toronto Star, one of Canada’s largest daily newspapers.

All in all, it seems fair to argue that documentary reflects the views of that section of the Canadian elite that is not happy with the country’s current relationship with Washington, with what it perceives as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s subservience, and is taking the opportunity to “stick it” to the US over the Khadr case.

In any case, whatever the serious weaknesses of Guantanamo’s Child, the majority of the film is devoted to allowing Omar to speak openly about his past and present condition—unusual in the pro-war media propaganda world. He has an insightful, mature and cautious voice.

Omar Khadr was born in Toronto in 1986, but spent much of his childhood in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The film briefly discusses his family and his early life.

As Guantanamo’s Child reveals, after his 2002 capture, the teenager suffered extensive psychological and physical abuse. In one striking scene, a repentant Damien Corsetti, a former US interrogator at Bagram, who was nicknamed “The Monster” for using techniques such as the “Human Mop” (forcing prisoners to wipe up their urine on the floor with their own bodies), movingly talks about how Omar’s youth and bravery humanized him. This contrasts to the self-justifying remarks made by a former CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) official, who features prominently in the film.

Also interviewed are the well-spoken Moazzam Begg and Ruhal Ahmed, both British citizens who bear witness to the horrors perpetrated in American prisons—Moazzam having been incarcerated with Omar at Bagram and Ruhal with him at Guantanamo. In addition, Omar’s mother and sister make critical, but unsurprisingly disoriented, remarks about the invaders.

The film also shows Omar’s amazing fortitude. Despite his age, and imprisonment for more than a decade, he never cowers before his tormentors and their false accusations. He also defied the incredible odds against being released from Guantanamo.

During the 2002 firefight, the Americans inflicted serious wounds on Omar, including two holes in his chest, that would eventually destroy one eye and greatly impair the other. Were it not for the intrepid efforts of Edney—his lawyer who was initially not allowed access to Omar for four years—he would still be locked away as an “enemy combatant” in the internment camp.

These two remarkable individuals and their bond drive the movie, but as well highlight the documentary’s major internal contradiction: Omar himself is prima facie evidence of the inhuman, illegal nature of the war. Unfortunately, the filmmakers never follow the political logic of the story of their protagonist and the forces who calumniated and tried to destroy him.

Thank You for Bombing

From Austria comes Thank You For Bombing, directed by Barbara Eder (Inside America, 2010), which provides an unflattering portrait of contemporary journalists on assignment in war zones.

The fiction film comprises a triptych of stories related to the war in Afghanistan. The first concerns an Austrian reporter, Ewald (Erwin Steinhauser), forced by his boss to go to Afghanistan. Clearly suffering from a post-traumatic nervous disorder that has rendered him incontinent, Ewald sees a man at the airport who may or may not have been involved in the murder of his cameraman during the war in Bosnia. Neither his unsympathetic editor nor his sympathetic wife are inclined to believe a man plagued by horrible wartime memories.

The next two segments are indictments of the unrelenting careerism and opportunism of war correspondents. In the first, American reporter Lana (Manon Kahle) will stop at nothing to obtain an interview with two US soldiers in Afghanistan who allegedly have burned copies of the Koran. The episode is based on the incident that memorably set off massive protests in 2012. Lana bribes and cajoles anyone and everyone to obtain what will be a major “scoop.”

The two soldiers, more like caged wild animals, are being held in an isolated bunker by the American military. Lana buys her way into their presence. But after the interview, they turn the tables on her. She allows herself to submit to gross humiliations and a near-rape to get the story. Although a revealing sequence, the encounter between Lana and the two offending soldiers takes on a gratuitous character at a certain point. It does, however, depict a demoralized, dehumanized American army.

In the movie’s final chapter, Cal (Raphael von Bargen), once a respected journalist, is tired of waiting for the bombs to begin falling. He even tries to stage young Afghan boys throwing rocks at American soldiers. A heavy drinker, he gets fired. On a drive in the middle of nowhere, a tragic accident takes the life of his driver, which has little impact on the callous reporter.

Eder’s Thank You for Bombing is rightfully contemptuous of the media, but says little or nothing about the war itself. It is critical of ambitious journalists who use and abuse the native population, going so far as to be grateful for the dropping of American bombs that will devastate the country, thus giving them new headlines. Although an angry protest (one assumes against the war), the movie suffers from a lack of serious context.

During the question-and-answer period after the film’s public screening in Toronto, director Eder explained that the work was based on real incidents that she fictionalized to safeguard the identities of the journalists.

Innocent Guantanamo prisoner will be freed after thirteen years

This video from the USA is called Free at Last- Martin Luther King, Jr.

This music video is called PJ Harvey-Shaker Aamer.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Freedom at last

Saturday 26th September 2015

Shaker Aamer cleared for release after 13 years in Guantanamo

AFTER 13 years of unimaginable torment, torture and abuse, it was finally confirmed yesterday that the last Briton in Guantanamo Shaker Aamer is to be released.

Mr Aamer, who has been held without charge or trial and who has twice been cleared for release by the US authorities, continued to languish in the US gulag despite an international campaign to secure his freedom.

During this time he suffered lengthy periods in solitary confinement and almost daily beatings.

Hopes had initially been raised earlier this year following a cross-party parliamentary delegation to the US that Mr Aamer could be released in June, but as this deadline elapsed fears grew once more for his mental and physical well-being.

But the Foreign Office officially confirmed that he was to be returned to Britain to at long last be united with his wife and children, the youngest of whom he has never seen.

British resident Mr Aamer, 46, who is a Saudi national, was originally detained in Afghanistan in 2001.

He was sold to the US for a bounty and detained first in the infamous Bagram airbase detention facility before being transferred to Guantanamo.

His release is expected to take place once the 30-day notice period set by the US authorities has expired.

Mr Aamer’s lawyer and director of legal action charity Reprieve Clive Stafford Smith said: “This is great news, albeit about 13 years too late.

“But they only just gave notice to Congress, so that means that without robust intervention Shaker and his family have to wait until October 25 at the earliest for their reunion.

“The UK must demand President Obama that he should be on a plane tomorrow, so that Shaker’s family do not have to endure more of the agony of waiting, uncertain every time a phone rings.

“British politicians may bombasticate about our ‘robust and effective systems to deal with suspected terrorists,’ but Shaker is not and never has been a terrorist and has been cleared by the Americans themselves for eight years.

“I hope the authorities will understand that what he wants most is to be left alone with his family to start rebuilding his life.”

Jeremy Corbyn, who has long campaigned for Mr Aamer’s release, said he was “very pleased” to hear about Mr Aamer.

He said: “We must recognise the steadfastness of his family and the commitment of all those who joined this campaign, whether they lobbied their MPs or demonstrated on the streets outside Parliament against this clear injustice.

Save Shaker Aamer Campaign chair Joy Hurcombe, who has tirelessly campaigned for his release, told the Star: “Let’s hope the terrible ordeal for Shaker will finally come to an end. He has suffered so much gross injustice. We must now make sure that Shaker is able to have the time to recover from all his years of isolation and torture without too much media intrusion.”

Shaker Aamer family call on US not to delay freeing him from Guantánamo. Washington says Saudi translator, married to a Briton, will be released, but his lawyers and friends worry process may be dragged out for months: here.

Update: here.

SHAKER AAMER fears that he will never be released from Guantanamo Bay — despite the Obama administration setting his date of freedom for Sunday. The last British detainee in the US military prison in Cuba added yesterday that he was not getting his hopes up as he had been promised release before: here.

Mohammed el Gharani, one of the youngest detainees in Guantánamo history, is sharing his story. (Read more here)

Guantanamo Bay torture camp still open in 2011

This video says about itself:

Torture -The Guantanamo Guidebook

28 August 2012

UK’s channel 4 “Guantanamo Handbook” documentary.

1 December 2011. An Open Letter to the US Congress From Members of the British Parliament About Guantanamo. Jeremy Corbyn, John Leech, Caroline Lucas and Michael Meacher, Truthout: “As a group of elected members of Parliament (MP) from all the main parties represented at Westminster, we are outraged by the current position of the US Congress which, apparently, means that Guantanamo Bay prison will never be closed, and, of particular concern to us, that a British resident who was cleared for release more than two years ago, cannot return here.” See the letter here.

22 July 2015: ONE GLARING ITEM LEFT ON OBAMA’S TO-DO LIST: GUANTANAMO “President Obama is enjoying a winning streak lately, with the Supreme Court reaffirming his signature health care law and Iran agreeing to curbs on its nuclear program. But one longstanding goal continues to bedevil him: closing the wartime prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The administration’s fitful effort to shut down the prison is collapsing again.” [NYT]

CIA sexual torture, new report

This video from the USA says about itself:

Torture Report Includes ‘Rectal Hummus’ & Other Shocking Brutalities

9 December 2014

“A scathing report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday found that the Central Intelligence Agency routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtained from the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, and that its methods were more brutal than the C.I.A. acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.

The long-delayed report, which took five years to produce and is based on more than six million internal agency documents, is a sweeping indictment of the C.I.A.‘s operation and oversight of a program carried out by agency officials and contractors in secret prisons around the world in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It also provides a macabre accounting of some of the grisliest techniques that the C.I.A. used to torture and imprison terrorism suspects.

Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.’s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.‘s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.””* The Young Turks hosts Dave Rubin (The Rubin Report), Ben Mankiewicz and Jimmy Dore (The Jimmy Dore Show) break it down.

*Read more here.

From Reuters news agency in New York, USA:

CIA sex abuse and torture went beyond Senate report disclosures, detainee says

Majid Khan, who underwent ‘enhanced interrogation’, says authorities poured ice water on his genitals and hung him naked from a beam for days

Tuesday 2 June 2015 17.16 BST

The US Central Intelligence Agency used a wider array of sexual abuse and other forms of torture than was disclosed in a Senate report last year, according to a Guantánamo Bay detainee turned government cooperating witness.

Majid Khan said interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, twice videotaped him naked and repeatedly touched his “private parts” – none of which was described in the Senate report. Interrogators, some of whom smelled of alcohol, also threatened to beat him with a hammer, baseball bats, sticks and leather belts, Khan said.

Khan’s is the first publicly released account from a high-value al-Qaida detainee who experienced the “enhanced interrogation techniques” of President George W Bush’s administration after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.

Khan’s account is contained in 27 pages of interview notes his lawyers compiled over the past seven years. The US government cleared the notes for release last month through a formal review process.

Before the Senate report detailed the agency’s interrogation methods last December, CIA officials prohibited detainees and their lawyers from publicly describing interrogation sessions, deeming detainees’ memories of the experience classified.

In exchange for serving as a government witness, Khan will be sentenced to up to 19 years in prison, with the term beginning on the date of his guilty plea. …

Khan was captured in Pakistan and held at an unidentified CIA “black site” from 2003 to 2006, according to the Senate report. Khan’s lawyers declined to comment on where he was captured or held, which they said remained classified.

In the interviews with his lawyers, Khan described a carnival-like atmosphere of abuse when he arrived at the CIA detention facility.

“I wished they had killed me,” Khan told his lawyers. He said that he experienced excruciating pain when hung naked from poles and that guards repeatedly held his head under ice water.

“‘Son, we are going to take care of you,’” Khan said his interrogators told him. “‘We are going to send you to a place you cannot imagine.’”

Current and former CIA officials declined to comment on Khan’s account.

Khan’s description of his experience matches some of the most disturbing findings of the US Senate report, the product of a five-year review by Democratic staffers of 6.3m internal CIA documents. CIA officials and many Republicans dismissed the report’s findings as exaggerated.

Years before the report was released, Khan complained to his lawyers that he had been subjected to forced rectal feedings. Senate investigators found internal CIA documents confirming that Khan had received involuntary rectal feeding and rectal hydration. In an incident widely reported in news media after the release of the Senate investigation, CIA cables showed that “Khan’s ‘lunch tray’, consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins, was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused”.

The CIA maintains that rectal feedings were necessary after Khan went on a hunger strike and pulled out a feeding tube that had been inserted through his nose. Senate investigators said Khan was cooperative and did not remove the feeding tube.

Most medical experts say rectal feeding is of no therapeutic value. His lawyers call it rape.

Khan told his lawyers that some of the worst torture occurred in a May 2003 interrogation session, when guards stripped him naked, hung him from a wooden beam for three days and provided him with water but no food. The only time he was removed from the beam was on the afternoon of the first day, when interrogators shackled him, placed a hood over his head and lowered him into a tub of ice water.

An interrogator then forced Khan’s head underwater until he feared he would drown. The questioner pulled Khan’s head out of the water, demanded answers to questions and again dunked his head underwater, the detainee said. Guards also poured water and ice from a bucket on to Khan’s mouth and nose.

Khan was again hung on the pole hooded and naked. Every two to three hours, interrogators hurled ice water on his body and set up a fan to blow air on him, depriving him of sleep, he said. Once, after hanging on the pole for two days, Khan began hallucinating, thinking he was seeing a cow and a giant lizard.

“I lived in anxiety every moment of every single day about the fear and anticipation of the unknown,” Khan said, describing his panic attacks and nightmares at the black site. “Sometimes, I was struggling and drowning under water, or driving a car and I could not stop.“

In a July 2003 session, Khan said, CIA guards hooded and hung him from a metal pole for several days and repeatedly poured ice water on his mouth, nose and genitals. At one point, he said, they forced him to sit naked on a wooden box during a 15-minute videotaped interrogation. After that, Khan said, he was shackled to a wall, which prevented him from sleeping.

When a doctor arrived to check his condition, Khan begged for help, he said. Instead, Khan said, the doctor instructed the guards to again hang him from the metal bar. After hanging from the pole for 24 hours, Khan was forced to write a “confession” while being videotaped naked.

Khan’s account also includes previously undisclosed forms of alleged CIA abuse, according to experts. Khan said his feet and lower legs were placed in tall boot-like metal cuffs that dug into his flesh and immobilized his legs. He said he felt that his legs would break if he fell forward while restrained by the cuffs.

Khan is not one of the three people whom current and former CIA officials say interrogators were authorized to “waterboard”, a process whereby water is poured over a cloth covering a detainee’s face to create the sensation of drowning. Nor is he the fourth detainee whose waterboarding was documented by Human Rights Watch in 2012.

His descriptions, however, match those of other detainees who have alleged that they were subjected to unauthorized interrogation techniques using water. Human rights groups say the use of ice water in dousing and forced submersions is torture.

Khan’s account also includes details that match those of lower-level detainees who have described their own interrogations. Like other prisoners, Khan said he was held in complete darkness and isolated from other prisoners for long periods. To deprive him of sleep, his captors kept the lights on in his cell and blared loud music from Kiss and other American rock and rap groups.

He said that he was given unclean food and water that gave him diarrhea and that he was held in an outdoor cell and in cells with biting insects. Other prisoners later told him they were held in coffin-shaped boxes.

Khan is scheduled to be sentenced by a military judge in Guantánamo Bay by February. His lawyers, however, want his case moved to the US federal courts because, they said, federal law allows for fairer sentences for cooperating witnesses.

“He has made a decision to trust the US government and cooperate with the US government in order to try to atone for what he did,” said J Wells Dixon of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “But it is incumbent on the United States to treat him fairly.”

Katya Jestin, a former federal prosecutor who also represents Khan, said Khan remains committed to cooperating in the military commission system. But, she said, “from a broader criminal justice policy perspective, I would like to see him sentenced in US federal court. Federal judges have more experience in assessing the value of cooperation and incentivizing cooperation from others.”

See also here.