Archive for guantanamo

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

______________________________________________

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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What I will not write about today

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frustrated27

Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

  • Killing Obamacare by Making it Fail-- When failed attempts at repeal just won't cut it: Now the GOP is trying to prevent the insurance exchanges from working. USA! USA! See how they care about the health and welfare of all Americans?

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk wine lady glasses

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Entire VIDEO: President Obama speaks on drones, Guantanamo, counterterrorism at National Defense University

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president obama counter terrorism speech

Here is the transcript of the speech, not including improvised remarks. Here are clips of Medea Benjamin asking President Obama, “Will you apologize to the thousands of Muslims that you have killed?” and his reactions.

Excerpts:

Today, Osama bin Laden is dead, and so are most of his top lieutenants. There have been no large-scale attacks on the United States, and our homeland is more secure. Fewer of our troops are in harm’s way, and over the next 19 months they will continue to come home. Our alliances are strong, and so is our standing in the world. In sum, we are safer because of our efforts...

Today, the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat. Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us. They did not direct the attacks in Benghazi or Boston. They have not carried out a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11. Instead, what we’ve seen is the emergence of various al Qaeda affiliates...

Moreover, we must recognize that these threats don’t arise in a vacuum. Most, though not all, of the terrorism we face is fueled by a common ideology – a belief by some extremists that Islam is in conflict with the United States and the West, and that violence against Western targets, including civilians, is justified in pursuit of a larger cause. Of course, this ideology is based on a lie, for the United States is not at war with Islam; and this ideology is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims, who are the most frequent victims of terrorist acts...

Beyond Afghanistan, we must define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror’ – but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America. In many cases, this will involve partnerships with other countries...

But despite our strong preference for the detention and prosecution of terrorists, sometimes this approach is foreclosed. Al Qaeda and its affiliates try to gain a foothold in some of the most distant and unforgiving places on Earth. They take refuge in remote tribal regions... [P]utting U.S. boots on the ground may trigger a major international crisis. To put it another way, our operation in Pakistan against Osama bin Laden cannot be the norm...

To begin with, our actions are effective... Simply put, these strikes have saved lives... Moreover, America’s actions are legal...

To say a military tactic is legal, or even effective, is not to say it is wise or moral in every instance...

[B]y the end of 2014, we will no longer have the same need for force protection, and the progress we have made against core al Qaeda will reduce the need for unmanned strikes...

America does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorists - our preference is always to detain, interrogate, and prosecute them. America cannot take strikes wherever we choose – our actions are bound by consultations with partners, and respect for state sovereignty. America does not take strikes to punish individuals – we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat. And before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set...

[I]t is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in all wars. For the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred through conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq...

To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties... So it is false to assert that putting boots on the ground is less likely to result in civilian deaths, or to create enemies in the Muslim world. The result would be more U.S. deaths, more Blackhawks down, more confrontations with local populations, and an inevitable mission creep in support of such raids that could easily escalate into new wars... But by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us, and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life...

Any U.S. military action in foreign lands risks creating more enemies, and impacts public opinion overseas. Our laws constrain the power of the President, even during wartime, and I have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. The very precision of drones strikes, and the necessary secrecy involved in such actions can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites. It can also lead a President and his team to view drone strikes as a cure-all for terrorism. For this reason, I’ve insisted on strong oversight of all lethal action....

[N]ot only did Congress authorize the use of force, it is briefed on every strike that America takes. That includes the one instance when we targeted an American citizen: Anwar Awlaki, the chief of external operations for AQAP...

This week, I authorized the declassification of this action, and the deaths of three other Americans in drone strikes, to facilitate transparency and debate on this issue, and to dismiss some of the more outlandish claims. For the record, I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen – with a drone, or a shotgun – without due process. Nor should any President deploy armed drones over U.S. soil.

But when a U.S. citizen goes abroad to wage war against America – and is actively plotting to kill U.S. citizens; and when neither the United States, nor our partners are in a position to capture him before he carries out a plot – his citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a swat team

Please go here for the entire transcript.

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VIDEO-- Medea Benjamin to Pres. Obama: "Will you apologize to the thousands of Muslims that you have killed?"

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medea benjamin after heckling Obama

Link, via Ryan J. Reilly

Medea Benjamin may have made some valid points, as did the president. But heckling often ends up working against the heckler, at least that's the way it looked from the reactions that came my way on Twitter. On the other hand, it does get a whole lot of attention from the media.

President Obama eventually became impatient with the interruptions and politely told a very persistent Medea Benjamin to STFU:

President Obama:

"This is part of free speech, is you being able to speak but also, you listen, and me being able to speak."

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PhotOH! On the streets of Boston: An important message for Congress, written in chalk

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boston gardens

On my recent trip to Boston (I loved it there, even more than I did the first time), I took many, many pictures with my brand spanking new iPad (which I also love) camera... mainly because I somehow managed to forget my "real" camera. We did a LOT of walking, and as we did a lot of walking, I did a lot of observing.

What is pictured below was one of many amazing things I saw, especially in contrast to the exquisite, serene beauty of the image I snapped above.

More photos will be coming soon, but what was written in chalk on the steps below was one of the two most gripping moments I had in the two days I spent in this wonderful, awe-inspiring city:

boston gitmo  torture message

"101 days... Gitmo hunger strike"

" Where is the world... to save us from torture."

All my previous posts on this topic can be found here.

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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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