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.”
By Chelsea E Manning for The Guardian – Successful intelligence gathering through interrogation and other forms of human interaction by conventional means can be – and more often than not are – very successful. But, even though interrogation by less conventional methods might get glorified in popular culture – in television dramas like Law and Order: Criminal Intent, 24 and The Closer and movies like Zero Dark Thirty – torture and the mistreatment of detainees in the custody of intelligence personnel is, was and shall continue to be unethical and morally wrong. Under US law, torture and mistreatment of detainees is also very illegal. Even the most junior level intelligence officials know that this is, and has been, the case for decades.
By Alexandra Sims for Independent – Conservative MP David Davis is one of numerous politicians and celebrities taking part in a 24-hour hunger strike in support of Shaker Aamer, the last British prisoner held at Guantanamo Bay. Mr Davis was set to begin his fast on Sunday after being persuaded to join the initiative, Fast for Shaker, upon learning that Mr Aamer is himself on a hunger strike, protesting his alleged continued mistreatment at the US-run detention centre in Cuba. “Now that we are probably only two weeks away from his release I was very worried that he would harm himself just shy of coming home,” Mr Davis told Middle East Eye.