Archive for Guantanamo Bay

A Bucket of Ice Water

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Nicole Sandler

When Homer Simpson joins in, you know you've gone viral.

Although the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised awareness about the disease and a lot of money, there's so much we still don't know about it - thus the need for a campaign like this one.

Homer challenged Donald Trump who actually dumped water on that thing on his head, proving that his hair really looks like that! I hope that dump also included a hefty donation!

My favorite is still this 2-year old

I'm pretty confident in guessing that most people didn't know what ALS was before this month of ice water dumping. Sadly, I knew. I knew about ALS because someone I knew and admired fought the disease and, eventually, succumbed to it.

I first met Eric Lowen in the early 1990's. He was the "Lowen" half of the duo Lowen & Navarro who wrote amazing songs and sang beautiful harmonies together. Eric was diagnosed with ALS in 2004, and lost his battle in March of 2012. 

For the past few months, I've been running interviews and performances from my music radio days on Friday mornings as a bridge to the weekend. Today, as ALS is in the news and Eric Lowen is on my mind, I reached out to my dear friend Dan Navarro and invited him to join me to talk about all of it, and share in listening to one of our in-studio sessions from December of 1999 too.

Dan Navarro has continued as a solo artist, and has worked to educate others about ALS with the goal of someday helping to eradicate this awful disease. He's also fully immersed himself (figuratively and literally) in the ALS ice bucket challenge. You can see some of his work on his Facebook page. 

It was a busy first hour of the show too. Jim Dean joined me to talk about the great work Democracy for America is doing. They've recently endorse Shenna Bellows in her race for the US Senate against Susan Collins of Maine, Mary Burke for Governor of Wisconsin (vs the evil Scott Walker), and more.

And Jason Leopold, who couldn't get to Guantanamo Bay this week through no fault of his own (damned weather gods) but has landed firmly and deservedly at Vice News, joined me to talk about his reporting on Gitmo, national security issues and the fact that his persistence in filing FOIA requests has put him squarely inside the story about Sen. Dianne Feinstein trying to delay the release of the CIA torture report. 

And with that, it's the end of the week, the month and, sadly, the summer. I'll be taking Monday off for Labor Day, but will return Tuesday to kick off the fall with GottaLaff... cuz we gotta laugh, or else we cry... and whatever else the weekend brings. Talk to you then, Radio or Not.

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"Fiscal conservatives": Shutting Down Gitmo Would Save a 1%er's Fortune

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It's costing the American people about a billion per Guantanamo detainee.

Let that sink in.

President Obama was elected in part on his promise to shut that human rights travesty down, and as we finally look toward evacuating Afghanistan of most American troops, it is past time to close the Gitmo 'detaining' facilities adjacent to Cuba and move forward with justice.

Of course Fvx Nation disagrees. They are unaccountably fond of Gitmo, practice NIMBY religiously and of course oppose anything Obama might even consider.

penguingitmo

Up with Steve Kornacki, MSNBC's weekend early a.m. program, had a terrific panel this morning to hash out the predictably Coiffure On Fire reaction of the Tea-driven GOP to any discussion of Gitmo, non-military courts and sanity.

It included David Corn of Mother Jones and the admirable military vet slash ex-Representative slash cable reporter-pundit and host of his own Sunday show, Taking the Hill, Patrick Murphy. ['Cycle' co-host Krystal Ball is subbing for Steve, so don't think he decided to go on set in drag to celebrate Summer Solstice.]

 

For contrast, Fvx Noise ran endless loops of how dangerous the released, unreleased, hypothetically detained and utterly mythical 'prisoners' are our new greatest threat in the fictional War on Terror. Here 'ya go, Fox:

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VIDEO: #Guantanamo Bay hunger strike force feeding protest #FreeFayiz

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barry wingard RT tv gitmo hunger strike

Jacob Dean of Filter Free Radio is a longtime pal o' mine from various shows we have in common on the Radio Machine. He's a very young, very cool guy who knows a lot about a lot and speaks his mind.

On Wednesday June 26, 2013 the United International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Jacob volunteered to be strapped down and "force-fed" to lend his body in support of the total eradication of torture and the effective functioning of the Convention Against Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

In the words of Portland's hunger striker S. Brian Willson, "We are not worth more. They are not worth less."

Recorded 4-6pm on June 26, 2013 at Portland City Hall. (This is NOT actually torture, just political street theater.):

Jacob Dean interviews 71 year-old S. Brian Willson, Activist, Author, a Vietnam veteran member of Veterans For Peace, Portland Chapter 72, beginning Sunday, May 12 reduced his food intake by more than 85 percent, fasting on 300 calories a day in solidarity with the 130 uncharged Guantanamo prisoner hunger strikers now in deteriorating health, many of whom are being force-fed. Willson, a trained lawyer and criminologist, anti-war activist and author, lives by the mantra: "We are not worth more; They are not worth less."

He joins 65-year-old grandmother Diane Wilson, a fifth-generation Texas shrimper, anti-war activist and author, who began an open-ended, water-only fast on May 1 outside the White House, and intends to fast until the prisoners are freed.

There are more than 1,200 people around the country participating in a rolling hunger strike to bring attention to the plight of the fasting prisoners at Guantanamo, who have been illegally detained for over ten years with little recourse. May 16 [was] the 100th day of the hunger strike.

The hunger strike/fast demands President Obama take immediate action to close the prison and release the prisoners. Interview recorded 6/22/2013

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here; That link includes one specific to only Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Please read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

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GOP hates spending, so Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) intros bill to boost Pentagon war spending by $5 billion

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spend money guy

Via

Watch as Senate Democrats point at laugh at the House Armed Services panel's Defense authorization bill that would hike Pentagon spending by $5 billion.

Because, see, what we need now is to pour more cash into the Afghanistan war, which is exactly what Chairman Buck McKeon's (R-Calif.) legislation would do. Republicans want to "make up for cuts to training and maintenance" due to that thing we all love to hate called "sequestration."

Yes, the party that hates spending wants to spend-- spend-- an additional five. Billion. Dollars.

The Hill:

The sweeping Pentagon policy bill pushes back on a number of administration proposals and priorities.

The measure includes restrictions on transferring Guantánamo detainees to the United States, which President Obama proposed to re-start last month as he looks to close the prison. The bill also included funding for new barracks at Guantánamo to replace temporary facilities.

The committee rejected base closures and new healthcare fees for a second straight year, and also said no to a smaller pay raise for troops... On sexual assault, an issue that has generated a host of attention in recent weeks, the bill strips commanders’ ability to overturn guilty verdicts and establishes minimum sentencing guidelines for sexual assault cases.

It does not, however, go as far as some lawmakers are proposing to remove the decision to prosecute sexual assault cases from the chain of command.

Did I say that thing we all love to hate is called "sequestration"? I meant "the GOP."

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"This seems to be exactly what our founders abhorred."

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gitmo prisoner usa

Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Obama's Gitmo woes," Opinion, May 5

As a fan of Doyle McManus, I was disappointed to read his claim that most of the detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay were anti-American extremists when they were apprehended.

Our own government has acknowledged that many of these men were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border when the war started in 2001. They are guilty of nothing.

I also note with dismay the remarks of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who said that the Guantanamo prisoners were "hell-bent on destroying our way of life." Graham and his fellow Republicans in the Senate, who have supported the gutting of the Constitution under the guise of fighting terrorism, have been much more effective in that regard than the innocent men who languish in Cuba.

Jon Krampner

Los Angeles

***

McManus and other commentators have noted the conflict between American values and the indefinite detention without trial of those deemed "enemy combatants." It is hard for me to imagine any action more obviously in violation of our Constitution than this.

Indeed, this seems to be exactly what our founders abhorred.

Obviously, some detainees hate us and will actively seek to attack us if released. But keeping them imprisoned, especially in clear disregard of our own laws and values, serves to recruit an unknown number of like-minded individuals.

On balance, won't we be safer if we let them loose? There will be fewer of them to plot against us, and we'll know who they are and be able to monitor them.

Randall Gellens

San Diego

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here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

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Taxpayers Pay Nearly $1,000,000 a Year to Incarcerate a Guantanamo Inmate While Making the US Less Secure

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 via ACLU.orgImage via ACLU.org

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

The hunger strike at Guantanamo is nearing 100 days long (with the majority of detainees participating). The Nation recounts the words of one hunger striker that "cut to the heart of the [desperation] protest": 

“As of today, I’ve spent more than 11 years in Guantánamo Bay,” he wrote. “To be precise, it’s been 4,084 long days and nights. I’ve never been charged with any crime.”

[M]aybe in this age of "austerity" Americans should take a look at the cost of keeping a prisoner in an isolated US military base on Cuban soil.  As The Fiscal Times (and other outlets have) reported the annual cost to US taxpayers of each Guantanamo detainee is more than $900,000 per individual. [...]

Michael Hager of the Christian Science Monitor wrote on May 2 of another kind of cost, how Guantanamo is both profoundly inhumane and that it also defeats its purpose: rather than enhancing US security, it makes us more vulnerable [...]

Whatever the risk of released prisoners “returning to the battlefield,” it would seem outweighed by the more obvious risk that Guantánamo poses: It serves as a recruitment poster for Al Qaeda. The assessment of security risks must also take into account the ongoing damage to America's moral standing in the world – damage that will greatly increase if and when the Guantánamo hunger strikers start dying from their fast.

An even more significant long-term cost may be the potential for blowback from legal precedents being set [...]

Only a lawless society would condone indefinite detention, forced-feeding, and solitary confinement.

Please read the entire post here.

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Gitmo detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari, who is not a terrorist and was sold for bounty, now wants to die

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fayiz smaller

Today's L.A. Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

As an American and a Jew, I am horrified that we are still holding men at Guantanamo Bay. It reminds me of the Germans holding Jews in concentration camps.

Close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and show America and God that we are better and more compassionate as a people. Release the detainees or find a place for them in the United States and treat them like human beings.

Lolly Hellman

Los Angeles

As anyone who reads The Political Carnival regularly knows, I write about Guantanamo a lot, and have for years, ever since I was asked to by Lt. Col. Barry Wingard who represents Kuwaiti detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. Fayiz is not a terrorist, yet he’s been abused, held without charges, and imprisoned for eleven years, but has done nothing wrong. He is currently starving himself to death at Gitmo.

Barry stands by Fayiz’s innocence, and Barry is one very principled, extremely smart lawyer who knows what he’s talking about.

Please watch this interview with Barry, titled, No charges, no trials: “After 11 1/2 years, these men live in animal cages… essentially dead men who just happen to breathe.”

Today I was sickened when I read about Fayiz in my Los Angeles Times today in an article titled, "Guantanamo detainee says prison 'shakedown' sparked hunger strike." Here's a brief summary:

An Afghan gives a detailed account of prison conditions in a declassified affidavit. He says U.S. guards in a February raid confiscated detainees' personal items and roughly handled Korans.

Here's the part about Fayiz:

Carlos Warner, an attorney for Fayiz al Kandari of Kuwait, a suspected Al Qaeda propagandist, said he was shocked when he saw his client in March. "He couldn't stand; he'd lost over 30 pounds; his cheeks were sunken," Warner said.

He spoke with him by phone a week ago, and Al Kandari, 36, described the tube feeding as feeling like "razor blades passing through you." Nevertheless, Al Kandari pledged to "go all the way," and told his attorney: "This is a peaceful hunger strike. They won't let us live in peace, they won't give us a trial, and now they won't let us die in peace."

I've come to "know" Fayiz over the years through Barry Wingard who has shared personal stories of his meetings with him, and from time to time, Fayiz's own personal feelings and stories. Fayiz has always been kind, patient, and grateful to Barry, and even to me for the posts I write. This is a young man who was sold for bounty, who did nothing, who had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, who has not been charged, who has not been given a trial, and yet he has been caged like an animal for over 11 years.

And now he wants to die.

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here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

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