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.
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.
All my previous posts on this subject matter can be found here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story 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.
More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.