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.
By Elizabeth Beavers in Amnesty USA – This is big news. At long last, the Obama administration has reportedly notified both Congress and the UK government that Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer will be transferred home to the UK after 13 years. Shaker’s case has for years compelled the Amnesty movement, along with many others, to call loudly for him to be transferred back to the UK. So today’s news is, to say the least, heartening. But as we celebrate, let us not forget – there is much more to be done, and not much time left to do it. The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay continues to house many who, like Shaker, have been approved for transfer. About half of the current detainees, in fact, are waiting for their own transfer. Although the U.S. national security agencies have conducted stringent reviews and cleared these people for transfer out of the prison, they are still there. They languish behind bars even though many have been cleared for years. Some, like Shaker, were cleared both by the Bush administration and now by the Obama administration.
By Witness Against Torture – Witness Against Torture is calling for an emergency fast to highlight the case of Guantánamo prisoner, Tariq Ba Odah, a Yemeni man who has been detained at the prison without charge since 2002 and cleared for release in 2009. According to his attorneys, Tariq, who at 74 pounds—56% of his ideal body weight– is on the brink of death according to three health officials. Please consider fasting on Friday, September 18, 2015 in solidarity with Tariq Ba Odah and the remaining 115 Guantánamo prisoners. If you plan to fast, send an email to email@example.com. Please include in the email where you live and a brief statement as to why you are fasting. If you cannot fast on Friday, feel free to choose another day this week to fast.
By Richard Norton-Taylor and Nicholas Watt in The Guardian – Boris Johnson has placed himself at the head of cross-party group, including a former Tory attorney general and a Labour leadership contender, who are calling on Barack Obama to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in Guantánamo Bay. In an intervention timed to coincide with US Independence Day, six former cabinet ministers have joined leading writers, actors, directors, musicians to warn the White House that the continued detention of Aamer is undermining US standing in the world. The Saudi-born Aamer was seized by bounty hunters in Afghanistan and handed over to US forces in December 2001. Two months later, he was rendered to the US military prison on Cuba. US authorities have made it clear that they have no intention of charging him.
By Robert C. Koehler in CommonWonders. Guantanamo Bay – Whatever details about the torture program remain classified and buried, these stories, along with plenty of shocking photographs, are fully public. There’s enough data here to open a deep conversation about what it means to be a nation and what the limits of power ought to be. What I see instead is a sort of official resignation — on the part of media and government — to the inevitability of out-of-control power in the pursuit of self-defense. Philip Zimbardo called this phenomenon the Lucifer Effect: the utterly corrupting nature of total power over others. Reports of CIA torture are rife with observations that the interrogators were out of control. The information they sought from the utterly powerless detainees in their keep was a treasure to be extracted, like oil or diamonds from the bowels of the earth, and no technique was too inhumane, too morally odious, to achieve that end. Call it human fracking. It’s for the good of America.