Archive for guantanamo – Page 2

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.

______________________________________________

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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barry wingard RT tv gitmo hunger strike

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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obama presser syria, Gitmo

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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Nonpartisan, independent review: "Indisputable" that U.S. under Bush practiced torture, had "no justification"

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torture cartoon

The Constitution Project’s task force on detainee treatment had no access to classified records. It was led by two former members of Congress with experience in the executive branch — Asa Hutchinson (Republican) and James R. Jones (Democrat) and concluded that the use of torture had “no justification,” “damaged the standing of our nation” and “potentially increased the danger to U.S. military personnel.”

There is another report by the Senate Intelligence Committee, 6,000 pages long, that covers the CIA’s record and is based on agency records, rather than interviews, but that one is still classified.

Here are some excerpts that confirm what many of us already knew: That the Bush administration should be prosecuted for what they did to human beings who they renditioned to secret black sites and then abused and tortured.

Via the New York Times:

A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.

The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning. [...]

The task force found “no firm or persuasive evidence” that these interrogation methods produced valuable information that could not have been obtained by other means. While “a person subjected to torture might well divulge useful information,” much of the information obtained by force was not reliable, the report says [...]

But the report’s main significance may be its attempt to assess what the United States government did in the years after 2001 and how it should be judged. The C.I.A. not only waterboarded prisoners, but slammed them into walls, chained them in uncomfortable positions for hours, stripped them of clothing and kept them awake for days on end.

It also confirms a report by Human Rights Watch that at least one Libyan militant was waterboarded by the C.I.A. The CIA has said that they only waterboarded three Al Qaeda detainees.

By the way, Asa Hutchinson, who served in the Bush administration as chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration and under secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, was a torture denier... until now. But he still believes BushCo "acted in good faith." Someone please tell me how one tortures "in good faith."

torture methods bush

So, President Obama, do you still want to “look forward, not backward”? Maybe this is why he is reluctant to check the ol' rearview mirror:

While the Constitution Project report covers mainly the Bush years, it is critical of some Obama administration policies, especially what it calls excessive secrecy.

Citing state secrets to block lawsuits by former detainees is part of that secrecy.

This article is a must-read. Please link over. And while you're at it, imagine your child being tortured...for years.

______________________________________________

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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What I will not write about today

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frustrated10

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.

 

  • Harvard study: "Racial animus in the United States appears to have cost Obama roughly four percentage points of the national popular vote in both 2008 and 2012."| Must have been all that GOP outreach.
  • Man whose handgun carry permit was suspended after he threatened to "start killing people" if President Obama took executive action on guns -- has his gun license back, WBBJ-TV reported| #ProtectingTheFamily #Responsible #YouDontUnderstand #AmericanTradition #SelfProtection

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

drunk guide

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UN human rights chief: Guantánamo Bay is in “clear breach” of international law and should be closed

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 via ACLU.org

via ACLU.org

I’ve written about Guantanamo Bay for years, specifically about 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. Barry stands by his innocence, and he is one very principled, extremely smart lawyer who knows what he’s talking about.

My last post, an 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,” is a must-read.

I've also written endlessly about the injustice of indefinite detention and torture. Finally... finally... because of the hunger strike, the horrific situation there is getting some real attention. Both Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry have reported on it recently, and now this from the top human rights official at the United Nations, from The Hill:

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was “deeply disappointed” that the Obama administration had yet to close it.

The continuing indefinite incarceration of many of the detainees amounts to arbitrary detention and is in clear breach of international law,” Pillay said in a statement Friday. “Allegedly, around half of the 166 detainees still being held in detention have been cleared for transfer to either home countries or third countries for resettlement... this systemic abuse of individuals’ human rights continues year after year... We must be clear about this: the United States is in clear breach not just of its own commitments but also of international laws and standards that it is obliged to uphold.”

Pillay said that “as a first step,” the U.S. government at least should release the detainees who have been cleared for transfer.

While it's true that Congress has restricted the Obama administration's ability to release detainees, Barry Wingard has written countless op-eds about a potential agreement to send Fayiz to Kuwait's rehab center, so there are other options. Barry Wingard, viaTruthout:

On various occasions since 2002, Kuwait has politely asked the United States to return Fayiz and the other remaining Kuwaiti detainee to Kuwaiti control. Each time, the United States has refused Kuwait’s polite request, citing concerns about Kuwait’s ability to monitor or rehabilitate its returned citizens. In response, Kuwait has constructed a multi-million dollar rehabilitation center, has diligently monitored the detainees that have previously been returned, and has taken action to address each of the United States’ concerns. Still, the answer remains the same.

Enough already.

______________________________________________

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-- Melissa Harris-Perry: "While Congress continues to make it impossible to close Gitmo, human lives are hanging in the balance."

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gitmo mhp showI cannot thank Melissa Harris-Perry enough for including this segment on her show. Regular readers know I've been covering Guantanamo Bay detainee/torture/indefinite detention stories for years, focusing primarily on one innocent, non-terrorist detainee, Fayiz Al-Kandari, and his attorney, Lt. Col. Barry Wingard.

Please, please read and share this post: No charges, no trials: “After 11 1/2 years, these men live in animal cages… essentially dead men who just happen to breathe.”

Now please watch this report:

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

Melissa Harris-Perry:

"...Make no mistake, political prisoners are not a thing of the past. Currently 166 prisoners remain detained at Gitmo, the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo, Cuba. In February, detainees began a hunger strike, protesting searches and seemingly unending detention. The official number of hunger strikers stands at 37 with 11 of them being force-fed through tubes. while the Pentagon  remains mute about the situation, the White House had this to say on Wednesday..."

Joshua Earnest, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary:

"I can tell you that the White House and the president's team is closely monitoring the hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay. For details about what is actually happening there I would refer you to the Department of Defense. But I can tell you that the administration remains committed to closing the facility at Guantanamo Bay. Progress has been made under this and the previous administration, but given the legislation that Congress has put in place, it's clear that it's going to take some time to fully close the facility."

MHP:

"So while Congress continues to make it impossible to close Gitmo, human lives are hanging in the balance."

______________________________________________

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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