Guantánamo, Cuban views, new film


This video says about itself:

ALL GUANTÁNAMO IS OURS

25 October 2016

Produced by RESUMEN LATINOAMERICANO, 2016

From the Investigaction site:

The word Guantánamo was popularized world-wide in 2002 when the U.S, Government opened a detention camp at the military base to detain more than 1,000 suspected terrorists there.

Few know that the territory is a piece of land that belongs to Cuba, but has been illegally occupied since 1903 and remains a present impediment to the normalization of relations between the two countries. Watch the new documentary All Guantánamo is Ours, directed by Colombian journalist and writer Hernando Calvo Ospina. This short film shows the feelings of the Cuban people, especially the people of Guantánamo, in relation to the occupied territory.

British art on the ‘war on terror’


This video from Britain says about itself:

3 March 2013

Step behind the scenes and get a glimpse of the thinking motivating the digital world’s greatest artists, filmmakers, thinkers and doers with the Lighthouse Monthly Talks. Award winning artist, Edmund Clark, was our November 2012 speaker.

As part of our Brighton Photo Biennial 2012, we were extremely pleased to have BPB12 artist and 2012 Prix Pictet nominee, Edmund Clark speaking at Lighthouse. Clark discussed his practice, which explored modes of control, living under conditions of surveillance, censorship and representation. His latest work experiments with how multidisciplinary collaboration and new technology can further address these themes. Clark’s exhibition, Control Order House is on at the University of Brighton Gallery.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

An atrocity exhibition

Saturday 20th August 2016

A new show at the Imperial War Museum is a grim reminder of the consequences for those perceived to be a terrorist threat by increasingly authoritarian states

LONDON’S Imperial War Museum has an outstanding track record in staging hard-hitting exhibitions, with Peter Kennard’s photo-montages and Edward Barber’s documentary photographs being two very recent examples.

Added to the roster is this disturbing new show of work by award-winning artist Edmund Clark. War of Terror, which runs until August next year, focuses on the measures states take to counter perceived terrorist threats and the malign impact they have on all our lives and explores the experience of people in Britain suspected — but never convicted — of terrorist-related offences in the interminable “war on terror.”

Clark says: “A vital challenge for today’s visual artists and photographers is how to explore new and unseen processes of contemporary conflict.

“My work engages with state censorship and control to find new visual strategies to try and achieve this and to reconfigure subjects we normally see as distant or threatening stereotypes on our screens.”

His personal contribution to the debate around those issues is a series of photographs, film and documents, some never previously exhibited.

They explore hidden experiences of state control and address the issues of security, secrecy, legality and ethics which they raise.

Clark’s most recent work Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition, created in collaboration with counter-terrorism investigator Crofton Black, explores the experiences of those secretly detained and transferred without legal process to US custody for further detention and interrogation.

Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out offers an uneasy contrast between living spaces at Guantanamo and the homes of former British detainees who were released without charge, while Letters to Omar features reproductions of censored correspondence sent to Omar Deghayes, a British detainee at Guantanamo, and later made available to Clark.

Cards and letters sent to him by people from around the world, most of them strangers, were scanned and redacted by military censors.

When and in what form Deghayes received the correspondence was part of the control exercised over him. Created by the bureaucratic processes of Guantanamo, these fragmentary reproductions added to his sense of paranoia.

Equally disturbing is the installation Control Order House. In December 2011 and January 2012, Clark was given exclusive access to a suburban house in England in which a British man suspected of involvement in terrorist-related activity was living under the terms of a Home Office enforced control order — a form of detention without trial based on secret evidence.

The installation contains nearly 500 photographs of the house in the order in which he took them. Two video sequences, on display for the first time, convey the tension, claustrophobia and monotony of a controlled person’s life, while documents, architectural plans and photographs reveal further details of life under a control order.

As an exhibition exploring the complexities of modern asymmetric warfare and its implications for human rights, this is a must-see.

The exhibition is free and runs until August 28 2017, opening times: iwm.org.uk.

‘Guantanamo Diary’ author to be freed at last


This video says about itself:

22 July 2016

The author of the best-selling memoir “Guantanamo Diary,” Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been cleared for release after being held at the military prison for 14 years without charge.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi freed without charge at last: here.

The New Yorker investigates Obama’s failure to close Guantanamo.

Last Tuesday, United States military officials escorted a dozen journalists and human-rights representatives into a sealed Pentagon conference room to watch the live video feed of a “hearing” before the Guantanamo Bay detention center “Periodic Review Board,” which will advise the Obama administration on the fate of Abu Zubaydah, one of 41 inmates still not cleared for release or transfer eight years after Obama pledged to close the military prison: here.

Close Guantanamo torture prison, petition


This video says about itself:

Torture -The Guantanamo Guidebook

28 August 2012

UK’s channel 4 “Guantanamo Handbook” documentary

From Congresswoman Barbara Lee in the USA today:

It’s long past time to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Fellow Progressive.

Indefinite detentions do not promote our democratic ideals and the ongoing use of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay is an affront to American values. President Obama has asked Congress to work with him to shut it down – join his call for action now.

This is about more than values. Our use of Guantanamo Bay is serving as a recruiting tool for terrorists. Congress’s failure to close Guantanamo is jeopardizing our national security. Americans don’t have to accept this. We need to speak up.

You can join President Obama in asking Congress to advance our values and our security. Add your name to demand action.

Tell Congress: Close Guantanamo Bay!

Obama Administration No Longer Pursuing Executive Order To Shut Down Guantanamo: Report: here.

Guantanamo Bay torture, stop cover up


This video from human rights organisation Reprieve says about itself:

The footage the U.S. Government doesn’t want you to see

19 January 2016

The real footage of abusive force-feeding at Guantánamo Bay could finally be released to the public, but only if we fight for it.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

US ‘must’ publish torture videos

Thursday 21st January 2016

Reprieve urges supporters to lobby for the release of horrific force-feeding footage

A BRITISH charity urged its US supporters yesterday to lobby their government to release disturbing top-secret footage of a hunger-striking Guantanamo Bay prisoner being force-fed.

Reprieve, which campaigned for the release of British detainee Shaker Aamer, wants people to “act quickly” in order to expose harrowing prison camp torture.

US Solicitor General Don Verrilli will decide tomorrow, seven years after President Barack Obama vowed to close the prison in Cuba, whether to lodge an appeal to block anyone from viewing the evidence of abuse.

Reprieve’s website offers a template email to send to Mr Verrilli to encourage him to “drop the appeal and release as much of the footage as is feasible to the general public.”

Hours of redacted footage shows former Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab — held for 12 years without charge or trial — dragged from his cell by guards in riot gear and force-fed.

Only the US government and Reprieve lawyers have ever been able to view the tapes.

Mr Dhiab, who has been wheelchair-bound since being released to Uruguay in 2014, was routinely abused and had unsanitary tubes pushed into his throat by medics, while one of the six riot gear-clad guards filmed everything.

Save Shaker Aamer Campaign chairwoman Joy Hurcombe said it’s “essential” that the public witnesses how prisoners on hunger strike are tortured on a daily basis.

She told the Star: “They are dragged from their cells and brutally strapped in and fed in the most inhumane fashion. It is a crime against humanity, illegal and a form of torture.”

Ms Hurcombe added that she watched “unspeakably violent” simulated footage demonstrating methods designed to “dehumanise prisoners, destroy their bodies and crush their will.”

This is because hunger strikes are the only form of peaceful protest that detainees have, she said.

She continued: “The tubes are harshly entered through the nose and mouth, although they are often much too big and have not been cleaned after being used on other prisoners.

“Prisoners are in pain and choking. The tubes are yanked out and, if they vomit, they are subjected to more force-feeding and are not allowed any water.”

The US government is “deeply ashamed” of the events — despite insisting that no torture occurs — and “will try every way to stop people seeing the footage,” according to Ms Hurcombe.

Sixteen media organisations — including the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times Company and Bloomberg — intervened in the legal case to lobby for the release of the footage.

Last January, they criticised the US government’s “absolutist position” in blocking access to court evidence that “violates constitutional access rights and the separation of powers.”

Reprieve lawyers had won a legal battle to obtain the footage and a judge has already ordered the US government to release the tapes — but Mr Verrilli could still block it.

Lawyer Cori Crider said: “[The footage] is disturbing and will make anyone who watches it lose sleep. But that’s exactly why the public needs to see it.

“If Obama is going to make meaningful progress in keeping his promise to shut Guantanamo, all of us need to know what the daily reality of the prison is like.”

ACTIVISTS in Britain launched a Close Guantanamo campaign yesterday, calling on Barack Obama to shut down the prison within the year he has left in office: here.

‘Tony Blair complicit in torturing innocent Guantanamo prisoner’


This video from Britain says about itself:

Marr Show: Alex Salmond on British illegal kidnap+torture, Gitmo (13 December 2015)

SNP’s Alex Salmond talks about the British government’s illegal kidnap and torture of people like ex-Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detainee Shaker Aamer.

By Luke James in Britain:

Aamer suffered ‘to save Blair

Monday 14th December 2015

SNP’s Salmond backs claim that Blair knew of torture

SHAKER AAMER’S Guantanamo Bay hell may have been prolonged to protect Tony Blair from claims he “collaborated” in torture, former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond said yesterday.

Speaking about his almost 14-year ordeal at the notorious US prison for the first time since being released in October, Mr Aamer alleged at the weekend that Mr Blair and former home secretary Jack Straw were aware that he was being tortured.

Now SNP MP Mr Salmond, the former first minister of Scotland, has backed his claim that the pair must have known about the “illegal abduction” and “torture.”

“As in so many things Messrs Blair and Straw have a great deal to answer for,” he told the Andrew Marr Show.

“They have to be asked a straight question: How could they possibly not have known about the fate that had befallen a British citizen?

“The prime responsibility of all governments is to keep their own citizens safe from harm.

“Governments are not meant to collaborate on the illegal abduction and then the torture of one of their own citizens.”

He went further, suggesting that concerns Mr Aamer would implicate the pair in his torture was behind the delay in his release.

The British resident was twice cleared for release from the gulag by a panel of US intelligence officers, most recently in 2009.

Yet he spent another six years in the camp, being placed in solitary confinement, suffering sleep deprivation and interrogations.

Mr Aamer has claimed that British intelligence officers witnessed this torture first-hand at Bagram air base in Afghanistan in 2002, where he was held before being tranferred to Guantanamo.

Mr Salmond pointed out that the spooks flew into the base on the same flight as Mr Blair, who was visiting British troops.

“One of the suspicions that people who have been campaigning for his release have had is that there had to be a reason for him not being released despite being cleared for release twice over that period.

“It’s obviously centred on the revelations he would have on what’s been going on at Guantanamo Bay.

“It now appears a reason might have been on what had gone on in January 2002 at Bagram air base.”

Mr Aamer demonstrated how he was “hog-tied” for almost an hour by US troops at the air base as part of the Mail on Sunday interview.

“It kills you, man. You cry, the pain is so bad,” he said.

“They were kicking me at the same time. I thought I was going to lose my legs.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Blair insisted he had “never condoned” the use of torture.

Mr Straw also refuted Mr Salmond’s allegations, ludicrously claiming: “I spent a large part of my time as foreign secretary making strong representations to the US government to get British detainees out of Guantanamo Bay and the US government’s ill-treatment and torture of detainees remains a terrible stain on its record.”

The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign called for their claims to be tested by a public inquiry.

Chair Joy Hurcombe told the Star: “I think they were party to it and therefor they should be made accountable for their involvement.”

Ms Hurcombe, who is one of the few people to have met Mr Aamer since his return, also called for him to be granted British citizenship immediately.

Forty-eight-year-old Mr Aamer also opened up this weekend about his new challenge of resuming normal family life.

He said: “I’m finally living. I’m here with my kids, trying to learn to be a father.”

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.

WHITE HOUSE REJECTS GUANTANAMO CLOSURE PLAN FROM PENTAGON Costs could run as high as $600 million to build a replacement prison within the United States. [Reuters]

Man held at Guantánamo for 13 years a case of mistaken identity, say officials. Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri was low-level Islamist foot soldier, not al-Qaida courier and trainer as had been believed: here.

GUANTANAMO PRISONER HELD 13 YEARS IN CASE OF ‘MISTAKEN IDENTITY’ Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri, a low-level fighter, was mistaken for a key figure in al Qaeda. [Dominique Mosbergen, HuffPost]

WASHINGTON — Weeks before she stepped down as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton wrote a memo urging President Barack Obama to step up his administration’s efforts to close the military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay in his second term. In the confidential January 2013 memo obtained by The Huffington Post, Clinton told Obama she worried that support for closing Guantanamo would further erode unless the administration took action: here.