April 2013 Archives

It is simply not true that Obama needs Congressional approval to close America's off-shore concentration camp.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 gives the Administration both the legal authority and the practical ability to transfer detainees from Guantanamo back to their home countries. Section 1028 explicitly allows the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretary of State to waive transfer requirements.

The President has backed himself into a corner, and blaming Congress just won't cut it. He has responded to prisoners' desperation with callous disregard. Obama has demonstrated that he has no intention of closing the prison. He has shut down the office working to close the facility. Funds are being allocated to rebuild Camp 7. It is impossible to predict how long the scenario of force-feeding can play out. Many hunger strikers have crossed the threshold beyond recovery (the body starts shutting down after 40 days of starvation; some of these men have denied food since early February). As it stands now, the only way out of their hell-on-earth is in a coffin.

Guantanamo could be closed now -- today. How we step up to the task to force that to happen will determine how WE will be judged.

John Yoo was initially cited for professional misconduct by the designated office within the Department of Justice, because of the flimsiness of his legal analyses. Reading this most recent report, it becomes even clearer that the lawyers in question - not just Yoo - committed a professional mortal sin in my view, namely to offer goal-oriented arguments where an independent evaluation of the law is warranted. Legal justification discourse is entered only at a later stage when a political/legal position is decided upon...

Kenneth Manusama,

 The Lawyer's War

220px-Day_14_Occupy_Wall_Street_September_30_2011_Shankbone_2.JPGIt falls on us to 'mic check' first-hand reports from inside the prison camp, by courageous strikers and their defense attorneys. We must take control of the narrative.

"Independent of the tit-for-tat quality of the Russians' announcement, there is good reason to express concern over Professor Yoo's role in expanding the role of torture after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And from the perspective of Berkeley students, it is tough to consider he is allowed to draw salary from the University of California given his integral role in shaping American policy around indefinite detention and "enhanced interrogation" (read: torture), and the circumstances under which he adopted such views...

"My interview with Dennis is available here, just three weeks after our last discussion about Guantánamo, and I was pleased to be joined by Candace Gorman, the Chicago-based attorney who represents two Guantánamo prisoners -- one still held, and the other freed in 2010 -- and Stephanie Tang of the World Can't Wait. Both are friends, and between us, and with Dennis's informed interest in the topic, I believe we thoroughly analyzed the dreadful situation that is still unfolding at Guantánamo, and pointed out the urgent necessity for President Obama to take action.

Guantanamo Hunger Strikers receive support at US Embassy Rally / photo by Santino Pani

Guantanamo hunger strikers are determined to free themselves from America's 
death camp -- one way or another. Lives are on the line. Time is running out.  


Vigil/SpeakOut on steps of San Francisco City Hall / photo by Bay Area Can't Wait

             Raise public outcry in your community. Force our government to allow those men 
             cleared for release to leave, give others a chance to answer charges, and close the 
             illegitimate prison camp.
Our government has done it's best to hide the torture practiced at the experimental prison camp of Guantanamo, and forestall any attempts at accountability for the perpetrators and enablers of those crimes. But thanks to the courageous actions of the prisoners held there, we now know more details of continuing brutality, and excuses of ignorance about what is transpiring, short of deliberate head-turning, are no longer plausible.

The U.S. engaged in torture and it is up to us to demand closure of the death camp and repudiation of the lawlessness exhibited there. The hunger strike by the Guantánamo prisoners is their cry to the world, which we must hear and support. Right now, today - our voices and our actions can make a difference.
"when the United States strides from its glass house to hurl stones at Russians over repression in Chechnya, it's not at all surprising that the Russians would return the volley by singling out some of the Americans clearly implicated in war crimes under George W. Bush. -- investigative reporter Robert Parry

U.S. soldiers reportedly raided communal cellblocks at Guantanamo Prison in Cuba and hustled hunger striking inmates at gunpoint into single, maximum security cells on Saturday. According to the Miami Herald, prison authorities conducted the maneuver only hours after International Commitee of the Red Cross personnel left the island and under a complete media blackout...

On April 11th, supporters across the U.S. demonstrated solidarity with prisoners suffering systemic brutality at America's off-shore prison camp, demanding an end to indefinite detention and closure of the facility.


In San Francisco, a spirited, diverse crowd of protesters was in the streets of downtown San Francisco during rush hour, demanding "Close Guantánamo!" and "End Indefinite detention!"  We gathered at the Federal Building, hoisting banners, tying orange paper armbands on, and many getting into jumpsuits and hoods.  Initiated by World Can't Wait, the action grew to 30 people, representing many groups: Amnesty International (AI), the Bradley Manning Support Network, Code Pink, School of the Americas Watch. The AI intern crew arrived, having marched all the way from their office in their own jumpsuited procession to join us.  As the AI group stood like statues around one kneeling "prisoner" gagged with an American flag - another nine jumpsuited protesters donned placards bearing the names and death dates of all nine men who have died at Guantánamo to date...

alongside the discarding of procedure, the state is increasingly trying to monopolize the control of one's life (aliveness), that is, to seize the only remaining leverage that a prisoner might have...

Guantánamo prisoners exert their final leverage

[their compelling acts] should impel us to forcefully reject the horrific policies conducted by this administration: by protest, by legal means, by public vocal outrage.

don't let Obama get away with murder by attrition

There are moments in history that require a truly heroic transformation of consciousness among our people. The prisoners' hunger strike represents a ghastly humanitarian crisis; but also presents an opportunity to raise the volume of resistance.

Prisoners are determined to end their torture, 'one way or the other': Release us from this nightmare or let us die. Guantanamo must be closed NOW, before it becomes a death camp.

Anti-torture activists know that it will take a massive demonstration of support to stop the suffering and to save the lives of those who have not yet crossed the threshold for recovery (the body starts shutting down after 40 days of starvation; some of these men have denied food since early February). As it stands now, the only way out of their hell-on-earth is in a coffin.

Prisoner lawyers describe worsening conditions, religious provocation, and the crushing reality of 11 years of indefinite detention, most recently reporting that prisoners were denied drinkable water.

800px-Restraint_chair_used_for_enteral_feeding_-b.jpgThe President and Congress have responded to prisoner demands with callous disregard for basic legal and human rights. Obama has demonstrated that he has no intention of closing the prison camp. He has shut down the office working to close the facility. Funds are being allocated to rebuild Camp 7. It is impossible to predict how long the scenario of force-feeding to keep men alive, a form of torture in its own right, can play out.

The Guantanamo hunger strikers are literally starving for your attention. Murder by neglect... is this the end of the line?  Will Americans accept this version of history? Or will we step up to the task at hand and close down Guantanamo once and for all?

When ignore -ance = death, silence is not an option.

                                                                                                             Wikipedia photo: restraint chair used for enteral feeding 
The hunger strike that has spread since early February among the 166 detainees still at Guantánamo Bay is again exposing the lawlessness of the system that marooned them there... the truly humane response to this crisis is to free prisoners who have been approved for release, end indefinite detention and close the prison at Guantánamo.

UC Berkeley Billboard

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Events & Calendars

War Criminals Watch Events

Important Reading

Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo

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