Archive for Guantanamo Bay

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

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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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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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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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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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VIDEO: Why You Should Care About The Massive #Guantanamo Hunger Strike

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LeeCamp2:

Two-thirds of the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) have been hunger striking since February. Some may soon die. But there's a reason you should care about these men...

1) Get more info here: http://www.closeguantanamo.org/
2) Music by Hierosonic: http://hierosonic.com/
3) Moment of Clarity Kickstarter only has a few days left. Help us get there! http://bit.ly/MOCshow

Lee Camp does it again:

"These men have done nothing wrong. Set them free."

"Think of how we react when another country does this."

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.”

______________________________________________

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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Entire VIDEO: President Obama press conference on Gitmo, Syria, Benghazi, more, April 30, 2013

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Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

You can find the entire transcript here. Here are a few excerpts. Please note, there were no questions about jobs, jobs, jobs. None, none, none.

President Obama:

And what we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria, but we don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them; we don't have chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened. And when I am making decisions about America's national security and the potential for taking additional action in response to chemical weapon use, I've got to make sure I've got the facts.

That's what the American people would expect. And if we end up rushing to judgment without hard, effective evidence, then we can find ourselves in the position where we can't mobilize the international community to support what we do. There may be objections even among some people in the region who are sympathetic with the opposition if we take action. So, you know, it's important for us to do this in a prudent way.

 But the important point I want to make here is that we already are deeply engaged in trying to bring about a solution in Syria. It is a difficult problem. But even if chemical weapons were not being used in Syria, we'd still be thinking about tens of thousands of people, innocent civilians, women, children, who've been killed by a regime that's more concerned about staying in power than it is about the well-being of its people. And so we are already deeply invested in trying to find a solution here.

Ed Henry: (Really, Ed, Benghazi? Seriously? Oh yeah, he's from Fox)

And on the Benghazi question, I know pieces of the story have been litigated, and you've been asked about it. But there are people in your own State Department saying they've been blocked from coming forward, that they survived the terror attack and they want to tell their story. Will you help them come forward and just say it once and for all?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Ed, I'm not familiar with this notion that anybody's been blocked from testifying. So what I'll do is I will find out what exactly you're referring to. What I've been very clear about from the start is that our job with respect to Benghazi has been to find out exactly what happened, to make sure that U.S. embassies not just in the Middle East but around the world are safe and secure and to bring those who carried it out to justice.

But I'll find out what exactly you're referring to.

Jonathan Karl:

Mr. President, you are a hundred days into your second term. On the gun bill, you put, it seems, everything into it to try to get it passed. Obviously, it didn't. Congress has ignored your efforts to try to get them to undo these sequester cuts. There was even a bill that you threatened to veto that got 92 Democrats in the House voting yes. So my question to you is do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda through this Congress?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Well, if you put it that way, Jonathan -- (laughter) -- maybe I should just pack up and go home. (Laughter.) Golly. You know, the -- I think it's -- it's a little -- (chuckles) -- as Mark Twain said, you know, rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point.

Bill Plante:

Mr. President, as you're probably aware, there's a growing hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, among prisoners there. Is it any surprise, really, that they would prefer death rather than have no end in sight to their confinement?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Well, it is not a surprise to me that we've got problems in Guantanamo, which is why, when I was campaigning in 2007 and 2008 and when I was elected in 2008, I said we need to close Guantanamo.

I continue to believe that we've got to close Guantanamo. I think -- well, you know, I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed.

Now Congress determined that they would not let us close it and despite the fact that there are a number of the folks who are currently in Guantanamo who the courts have said could be returned to their country of origin or potentially a third country.

I'm going to go back at this. I've asked my team to review everything that's currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively, and I'm going to re-engage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that's in the best interests of the American people.

And it's not sustainable.

Then do something already (scroll).

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