By Kit O’Connell for Mint Press News – AUSTIN, Texas — Water skiing in the morning, supervising the torture of a prisoner of the global war on terror in the afternoon — that’s just a typical day for National Security Agency personnel. That’s one of the many glimpses of National Security Agency life found in newly released documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks, which reveal the NSA’s intimate involvement with Guantanamo Bay interrogations and the Iraq War, as well as the dramatically increased demand for intelligence after 9/11.
By Yahdih Ould Salahi for The Guardian – I was 19 years old when my brother disappeared, and I was 20 when I discovered he was in Guantánamo. I’m 33 now, and a German citizen living in Dusseldorf, where I work as a computer systems engineer. I have a productive and peaceful life because of my brother. We grew up in Mauritania, one of the world’s poorest countries. I am the youngest of 12 siblings. My father died not long after I was born, and Mohamedou became the heart of our family. He studied hard, winning a scholarship to study engineering in Germany.
By Andy Worthington for Andy Worthington – On April 3, two Libyans — former opponents of Colonel Gaddafi, who was overthrown in 2011 — were freed from Guantánamo and resettled in Senegal, whose Ministry of Foreign Relations issued a statement pointing out that the two men were granted “asylum … in accordance with the relevant conventions of international humanitarian law, also in the tradition of Senegalese hospitality and Islamic solidarity with two African brothers who have expressed interest in resettlement in Senegal after their release.”
By Matthew W. Daloisio for Witness Against Torture, President Obama’s plan to close the prison at Guantanamo is finally here. But it’s as useless as the Executive Order he signed almost eight years ago. Obama’s plan proposes to close the facility but not end the legal and moral abomination it represents. Indefinitely detaining men without charge or trial in the continental United States — in supermax prisons no less — is as unacceptable as indefinite detention at Guantanamo. The Military Commissions are unworkable and unfair, and cannot be tweaked into legitimacy. Saving money by changing the zip code of an unjust system does nothing to lessen its moral cost. Any talk of expenses should be about how to offer compensation to the men the United States abused and provide proper resources for their resettlement.
By Sharmini Peries for The Real News – It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama sent a new proposal to Congress that was prepared for him by the Pentagon to close down Guantanamo Bay detention facility located in Cuba. The prison currently holds 93 detainees, 34 of whom are cleared for release. Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Obama explained why he wants to close down the detention facility. Let’s have a look.
By Staff of FRANCE 24 – A French judge has summoned retired US General Geoffrey Miller, the former Guantanamo Bay prison chief, to appear in court on March 1 over allegations of torture, a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs told FRANCE 24 on Thursday. William Bourdon, a lawyer for former Gitmo detainee Mourad Benchellali, said General Miller was due in court at 10am on March 1 to answer accusations that he oversaw Benchellali’s “illegal detention and torture”.
By Frida Berrigan for Waging Nonviolence – I love my local paper. The Day is locally owned and based right in downtown New London, Connecticut. They publish an actual, physical newspaper every single day and have a first rate photo department. Their news pages feature a mix of national and international articles from The New York Times and AP wire service stories, as well as locally produced articles of local interest — with headlines like “Reality television producer sees show for New London.”
By Cora Currier for The Intercept – The government has refused to meet the deadline for the release of videotapes that show a detainee at Guantánamo being force-fed while on hunger strike. A federal judge had given the government until Friday, January 22, to release around 11 hours of footage in which a Syrian detainee, Abu Wa’el Dhiab, is forcibly removed from his cell, restrained, and force-fed. Dhiab’s lawyers have called the footage “extremely disturbing.”
By Kathy Kelly for Antiwar – Here in Kabul, young friends with theAfghan Peace Volunteers look forward to learning more about “The Tea Project” in late December, when Aaron Hughes arrives, an artist, a U.S. military veteran, and a core member of Iraq Veterans Against War. He’ll carry with him 20 plaster replicas of a standard-issue, factory-made Styrofoam cup. They’re part of a set numbering 779 replica cups, each cup dedicated to prisoners detained in Guantanamo. In the entire collection, 220 of the cups bear names of Afghan citizens imprisoned in Guantanamo.
By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – Despite being held for 14 years without charge at Guantanamo Bay; despite the torture, beatings, and psychological trauma he says he endured there; and despite signs that British intelligence agents knew of the abuse, 48-year-old Shaker Aamer says top UK officials should be granted legal immunity if it will encourage them to tell the truth about their government’s complicity in such atrocities. “They should be guaranteed that they are not going to go behind bars, so they can tell their part of the story,” Aamer said in an interview with ITV News, his first since returning to the UK in October.
By Mackenzie McDonald Wilkins for Popular Resistance. Cuba – For a small island nation, continuously beaten down by the US, Cuba has an amazing history of reaching beyond its borders. With one of the best health education systems of any country, Cuba is known for sending doctors, not troops, around the world. Cuban doctors served on the battlefields of the Vietnam War, were the first to respond to the Ebola emergency in West Africa, and had the largest international medical contingent in Haiti after the devastating earthquake. “In the aftermath of the Kashmir earthquake of 2005,” says Seumas Milne, “Cuba sent 2,400 medical workers to Pakistan and treated more than 70% of those affected; they also left behind 32 field hospitals and donated a thousand medical scholarships.” Canadian professor John Kirk says “Cuban medical internationalism has saved millions of lives.”
By David Smith for The Guardian – A man who has spent 13 years in the US prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was arrested partly in a case of mistaken identity, US officials conceded on Tuesday. Officials admitted that Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri, 37, was a low-level Islamist foot soldier and not an al-Qaida courier and trainer as previously thought, during a Guantánamo hearing. Wearing a beard and voluminous white T-shirt, and accompanied by a linguist and two personal representatives, the Yemeni appeared before a panel assessing whether he can be released.
By Staff, Witness Against Torture. Fourteen members of Witness Against Torture have been in Guantanamo province for 3 days now, vigiling in solidarity with the 107 men remaining at the US detention camp. At dusk on Wednesday, we established camp at El Mirador – scenic grounds overlooking the base from a distance of 2-3 kilometers. To close our first day, Peace Poet Frank Lopez led us in a Four Directions ceremony that came from the traditions of the Arawak peoples, who are indigenous to Cuba. On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, we faced the base directly and announced one-by-one our political, personal and spiritual intention in being there. To conclude the day, we performed a Thanksgiving ritual titled “Forced-Feeding, Not Feasting at Guantanamo.” Twelve persons, all fasting for the day, sat at a table in front of empty plates to represent the terrible pain endured by hunger strikers, past and present, at Guantanamo. At the head of the table, one WAT member dressed as a detained man sat in front of the terrible apparatus of forced feeding. Forced-feeding continues to be used to wound the bodies and break the spirit of hunger-striking men.
By Richard Norton-Taylor, Ed Pilkington, Caroline Davies and Ian Cobain for the Guardina – Shaker Aamer has been released after 14 years of incarceration at Guantánamo Bay, where he was beaten by his US military jailers but never tried for any offence, the UK’s foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, has confirmed. “The Americans announced some weeks ago that they were going to release Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo and I can confirm that he is on his way back to the UK now and he will arrive in Britain later today,” he said. A spokesman for David Cameron – who had personally raised Aamer’s case with Barack Obama – said there were no plans to detain Aamer on his return. He added: “The prime minister has been clear that the public should be reassured that everything to ensure public safety is in place.”