Posts Tagged ‘Guantanamo’

Guantanamo ratio vs. public school ratios

April 10, 2017

Prison staff at Gitmo: 1,750

Prisoners at Gitmo: 41

Average teacher/student ratio in US public schools: 1 : 27

Source: Jeffrey St.Clair | Counterpunch

Obama’s legacy to Trump

November 30, 2016


Torture victim released after 13 years

November 2, 2015
Shaker Aamer: Free at last (BBC)

Shaker Aamer:
Free at last (BBC)

In December, 2001, members of the Northern Alliance, the U.S.-backed anti-Taliban force in Afghanistan, picked up a man named Shaker Aamer and turned him over to the U.S. military, presumably receiving the bounty being offered for Taliban supporters.

It soon became apparent that Aamer did not have any useful information and that there was no reason to hold him.  Yet he sent to Guantanamo Bay, where he was kept for more than 13 years. He was never charged with anything, and cleared for release by military authorities eight years ago.  He was freed on Saturday.

Here are some things that were done to him, as outlined in a psychiatric report.

  • “Welcoming Parties” and “Goodbye Parties” as Aamer was transferred among U.S. facilities. Soldiers at these “parties” were encouraged and allowed to beat and kick detainees as their proclivities and desires dictated.   Here’s a video of what a beating under the eyes of American soldiers looks like.
  • Aamer was made to stand for days, not allowed to sleep for days, not allowed to use the toilet and made to shit and piss on himself for days, not fed or fed minimally for days, doused with freezing water for days, over and over again.  For 13 years.
  • Aamer was denied medical care as his interrogators controlled his access to doctors and made care for the wounds they inflicted dependent on Aamer’s ongoing compliance and repeated “confessions.”
  • Aamer was often kept naked, and his faith exploited to humiliate him in culturally-specific ways. He witnessed a 17-year-old captive of America sodomized with a rifle, and was threatened with the same.
  • At times the brutality took place for its own sake, disconnected from interrogations.  At times it was the centerpiece of interrogation.
  • The torture of Aamer continued at Gitmo, for as an occasional hunger striker he was brutally force-fed.

Via Peter Van Buren

Reading about Aamer’s ordeal is like reading Solomon Northrup’s Twelve Years a Slave.  It is an example of the unbridled cruelty of certain types of people when they are freed from restraint and accountability.

I don’t know what Aamer, a British citizen of Saudi Arabian heritage, was going in Afghanistan at that time.  I don’t care.   No human being deserves to be treated like this.  Killing ends a human life, which someday was going to end anyway.  Torture destroys the human personality and spirit.  It is the ultimate evil.

Enemy combatants are either enemy soldiers, in which case they should be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention, or they are criminal terrorists, in which case they should be put on trial in an American or international court.

If they have useful information, professional interrogators have ways of inducing them to talk that do not involve Gestapo or KGB methods.  What was done to Aamer was done to induce a confession and to gratify the perverted desires of sadists.


My fight for justice at Guantanamo by Shaker Aamer for The Guardian (2010)

Shaker Aamer on Wikipedia.

Shaker Aamer reunited with his children as he is released from Guantanamo Bay by Nick Craven and David Rose for the Daily Mail

For 13 Years: Torture of the Human Being Shaker Aamer by the United States by Peter Van Buren for We Meant Well.

Shaker Aamer will need years of therapy after release from Guantanamo by Jamie Doward for The Guardian.  (Hat tip to my expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack)

Psychiatric evaluation of Shaker Aamer by Emily A. Karem, M.D. (2014)

The passing scene – links & comments 10/21/2015

October 21, 2015

The Secret to Winning the Nobel Peace Prize: Keep the U.S. military out by Rebecca Gordon for TomDispatch.

Tunisia was the one country where the Arab Spring movement succeeded.  Four Tunisian organizations devoted to human rights deservedly won the latest Nobel Peace Prize.

Tunisia was the one country in which the U.S. government did not interfere, either militarily or politically, and it is the one country where the Arab Spring movement resulted in a stable, democratic government.

Rebecca Gordon, after reviewing U.S. policy in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain and Syria, concludes that this is not a coincidence.  There’s a lesson to be learned here.

Obama Just Signed a Blank Check for Endless War in Afghanistan by John Nichols for The Nation.

Rep. Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, says it’s time to repeal the open-ended 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force and have Congress decide whether to continue military intervention in Afghanistan and other countries.

How Credit Scores Treat People Like Numbers by Frank Pasquale for The Atlantic.

I commented on how Chinese credit card companies and maybe the Chinese government are linking all kinds of human behaviors to credit scores, and how this can be a subtle means of suppressing nonconformity.  Well, it seems the same thing is going on in the United States—maybe not with that conscious intent, but with the same result.


Law and justice: November 2, 2014

November 2, 2014

 Why Innocent People Plead Guilty by Jed S. Rakoff for The New York Review of Books.

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury … .”   Yet few Americans charged with crimes ever go before a jury, and the U.S. criminal justice system would likely break down if they did.

The prosecutor threatens the defendant with the severest charge with the worst punishment if they insist on trial, and promise a less serious charge and lighter sentence if they plead guilty.

Innocent people sometimes do plead guilty.  About 10 percent of those exonerated of charges of rape and murder under the Innocence Project had accepted plea bargains and pleaded guilty.

Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Arrested While Trying to Attend David Petraeus Event in New York by Kevin Gosztola for Firedoglake.   (Hat tip to Mike Connelly)

Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and current CIA critic, was arrested and roughed up Thursday when he tried to attend a talk by David Petareus, fomer CIA director, with Lt. Col. John Nagi, a tank commander during the 1991 Gulf War, and Max Boot, a neoconservativ writer.  McGovern had bought a ticket to the event for $45.

Interestingly, the police recognized the 74-year-old McGovern and his peace activist friends by sight.  The friends also were barred despite having bought tickets.  No doubt this is the result of McGovern being on the State Department’s BOLO (be on the lookout) list.

The IRS Can Seize Your Cash Through Forfeiture by Erin Fuchs for Business Insider.  (Hat tip to tiffany267)

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “no person shall … be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

But the Internal Revenue Service can seize your bank account without any warning if IRS officers think you have too many bank accounts under $10,000 and they suspect you are trying to evade a bank regulation regarding reporting of all bank accounts of $10,000 or more.

Gideon’s Army at Guantanamo by Phil Hirschkorn for Just Security.

Lawyers fight secrecy and eavesdropping to give accused terrorists at Guantanamo Bay a fair defense.  They say they’re concerned not just about the judgment of the military tribunal, but about the judgment of history.

Q&A: Edward Snowden in The Nation.

Q&A: Laura Poitras in The Nation.

Detention by executive decree

December 23, 2010

The White House is preparing an Executive Order on indefinite detention that will provide periodic reviews of evidence against dozens of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, according to several administration officials.

The draft order, a version of which was first considered nearly 18 months ago, is expected to be signed by President Obama early in the New Year. The order allows for the possibility that detainees from countries like Yemen might be released if circumstances there change.

But the order establishes indefinite detention as a long-term Obama administration policy and makes clear that the White House alone will manage a review process for those it chooses to hold without charge or trial.

via ProPublica.