July 2, 2013
*** TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic Violence, Homicide, Torture, Rape, Sexual Violence, Sexual Assault, Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Humiliation ***
the-lone-pamphleteer:

No Accountability for Military Contractor’s Role in Abu Ghraib Torture, Federal Judge Says
Yesterday, a United States district court dismissed a case brought on behalf of four Iraqi men who were tortured at Abu Ghraib. The men were suing CACI Premier Technology, Inc., a private, U.S.-based contractor that U.S. military investigators concluded had participated in torture and other “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” of detainees at Abu Ghraib.
In dismissing the torture victims’ claims, the district judge did not suggest that the plaintiffs’ allegations of torture or a conspiracy involving CACI were unfounded. Instead, the judge held that, pursuant to the recent Supreme Court case Kiobel v. Shell/Royal Dutch Petroleum, individuals can no longer sue U.S. corporations for human rights abuses committed abroad.
At Abu Ghraib, the detainees were subjected to electric shocks, sexual violence, forced nudity, broken bones, and deprivation of oxygen, food, and water. U.S. military investigators concluded that several CACI employees serving as interrogators directed abuse of Abu Ghraib employees in order to “soften” them up for interrogations. 
CACI and the contractors it employs are completely unaccountable in U.S. court for the atrocities they committed at Abu Ghraib, despite the fact that CACI is a U.S.-based corporation, it conspired with U.S. soldiers to commit war crimes that were punished in U.S. courts martials, and the torture and war crimes occurred at a time when the United States exercised total jurisdiction and control over Abu Ghraib prison.
The decision was announced yesterday, on the International Day in Support of Torture Victims.
Facts and quotes from CCR Press ReleasePhoto from wired.com

*** TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic Violence, Homicide, Torture, Rape, Sexual Violence, Sexual Assault, Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Humiliation ***

the-lone-pamphleteer:

No Accountability for Military Contractor’s Role in Abu Ghraib Torture, Federal Judge Says

Yesterday, a United States district court dismissed a case brought on behalf of four Iraqi men who were tortured at Abu Ghraib. The men were suing CACI Premier Technology, Inc., a private, U.S.-based contractor that U.S. military investigators concluded had participated in torture and other “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” of detainees at Abu Ghraib.

In dismissing the torture victims’ claims, the district judge did not suggest that the plaintiffs’ allegations of torture or a conspiracy involving CACI were unfounded. Instead, the judge held that, pursuant to the recent Supreme Court case Kiobel v. Shell/Royal Dutch Petroleum, individuals can no longer sue U.S. corporations for human rights abuses committed abroad.

At Abu Ghraib, the detainees were subjected to electric shocks, sexual violence, forced nudity, broken bones, and deprivation of oxygen, food, and water. U.S. military investigators concluded that several CACI employees serving as interrogators directed abuse of Abu Ghraib employees in order to “soften” them up for interrogations.

CACI and the contractors it employs are completely unaccountable in U.S. court for the atrocities they committed at Abu Ghraib, despite the fact that CACI is a U.S.-based corporation, it conspired with U.S. soldiers to commit war crimes that were punished in U.S. courts martials, and the torture and war crimes occurred at a time when the United States exercised total jurisdiction and control over Abu Ghraib prison.

The decision was announced yesterday, on the International Day in Support of Torture Victims.

Facts and quotes from CCR Press Release
Photo from wired.com

June 28, 2013
IRAN. Teheran. 1979. Mutilated victims of Savak. by Gilles Peress

« Sources disagree over how many victims SAVAK [the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service established by Iran’s Mohammad Reza Shah with the help of the CIA and operating from 1957 to 1979] had and how inhumane its techniques were. Writing at the time of the Shah’s overthrow, TIME magazine described SAVAK as having “long been Iran’s most hated and feared institution” which had “tortured and murdered thousands of the Shah’s opponents.” The Federation of American Scientists also found it guilty of “the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners” and symbolizing “the Shah’s rule from 1963-79.” The FAS list of SAVAK torture methods included “electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to the testicles, and the extraction of teeth and nails.” »— SAVAK: Victims | Wikipedia

IRAN. Teheran. 1979. Mutilated victims of Savak. by Gilles Peress

« Sources disagree over how many victims SAVAK [the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service established by Iran’s Mohammad Reza Shah with the help of the CIA and operating from 1957 to 1979] had and how inhumane its techniques were. Writing at the time of the Shah’s overthrow, TIME magazine described SAVAK as having “long been Iran’s most hated and feared institution” which had “tortured and murdered thousands of the Shah’s opponents.” The Federation of American Scientists also found it guilty of “the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners” and symbolizing “the Shah’s rule from 1963-79.” The FAS list of SAVAK torture methods included “electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to the testicles, and the extraction of teeth and nails.” »
SAVAK: Victims | Wikipedia

June 23, 2013
thepeoplesrecord:

TW: Torture - US steps up efforts to break Guantanamo hunger strikeJune 22, 2013
Increasingly brutal tactics are being used in an attempt to break the hunger strike by detainees at Guantánamo Bay, according to fresh testimony from the last British resident still held in the camp.
Shaker Aamer claims that the US authorities are systematically making the regime more hardline to try to defuse the strike, which now involves almost two-thirds of the detainees. Techniques include making cells “freezing cold” to accentuate the discomfort of those on hunger strike and the introduction of “metal-tipped” feeding tubes, which Aamer said were forced into inmates’ stomachs twice a day and caused detainees to vomit over themselves.
The 46-year-old from London tells of one detainee who was admitted to hospital 10 days ago after a nurse had pushed the tube into his lungs rather than his stomach, causing him later to cough up blood. Aamer also alleges that some nurses at Guantánamo Bay are refusing to wear their name tags in order to prevent detainees registering abuse complaints against staff.
Speaking last week from the camp in Cuba, exactly four months after he joined the hunger strike, Aamer said: “The administration is getting ever more angry and doing everything they can to break our hunger strike. Honestly, I wish I was dead.”
The momentum behind efforts to release Aamer – who has spent more than 11 years without trial inside the camp – mounted sharply last week with David Cameron raising the issue directly with the US president, Barack Obama, during the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
On Wednesday, in a response to a parliamentary question about what had been discussed by the two leaders, Cameron revealed that his next step would be to write to Obama about the “specifics of the case and everything that we can do to expedite it”. He added: “Clearly, President Obama wants to make progress on this issue and we should help him in every way that we can with respect to this individual.”
The prime minister’s comments are the most positive indication to date that Aamer will eventually be freed – he has been cleared for release twice since 2007.
Clive Stafford Smith, the director of the legal charity Reprieve, who passed a transcript of his conversation with Aamer to the Observer, said: “These gruesome new details show just how bad things are in Guantánamo. The whole thing is at breaking point. Clearly the US military is under enormous pressure and doing everything it can to hurt the men and break the hunger strike.”
Although the military initially denied that there was a hunger strike inside Guantanámo, it now concedes that, of the 166 detainees, 104 are on hunger strike and 44 are being force-fed.
Aamer also documents his declining health and how the camp’s regime deliberately inflates the weight of detainees on hunger strike. Aamer, who has permission to live in the UK indefinitely because his wife is a British national, said: “They said I was 160lb, but I was 154lb a few days ago. Unless there has been a miracle, my weight has not gone up without eating. But they cheat by adding shackles and sometimes even pressing down as they do it to add to your weight.
“If you have a medical standard for when a detainee should be force-fed for his own health, then force-feed him when it can still save his health. Don’t wait until his body is so harmed by the lack of food that all you are protecting is the US military – from the harm of a prisoner dying for a principle.”
Aamer describes his daily diet at Guantánamo as a cup of tea or two each day with a low-calorie sweetener and occasionally an Ocean Spray powder mix that has 10 calories – enough to give an energy boost.
SourcePhoto

thepeoplesrecord:

TW: Torture - US steps up efforts to break Guantanamo hunger strike
June 22, 2013

Increasingly brutal tactics are being used in an attempt to break the hunger strike by detainees at Guantánamo Bay, according to fresh testimony from the last British resident still held in the camp.

Shaker Aamer claims that the US authorities are systematically making the regime more hardline to try to defuse the strike, which now involves almost two-thirds of the detainees. Techniques include making cells “freezing cold” to accentuate the discomfort of those on hunger strike and the introduction of “metal-tipped” feeding tubes, which Aamer said were forced into inmates’ stomachs twice a day and caused detainees to vomit over themselves.

The 46-year-old from London tells of one detainee who was admitted to hospital 10 days ago after a nurse had pushed the tube into his lungs rather than his stomach, causing him later to cough up blood. Aamer also alleges that some nurses at Guantánamo Bay are refusing to wear their name tags in order to prevent detainees registering abuse complaints against staff.

Speaking last week from the camp in Cuba, exactly four months after he joined the hunger strike, Aamer said: “The administration is getting ever more angry and doing everything they can to break our hunger strike. Honestly, I wish I was dead.”

The momentum behind efforts to release Aamer – who has spent more than 11 years without trial inside the camp – mounted sharply last week with David Cameron raising the issue directly with the US president, Barack Obama, during the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

On Wednesday, in a response to a parliamentary question about what had been discussed by the two leaders, Cameron revealed that his next step would be to write to Obama about the “specifics of the case and everything that we can do to expedite it”. He added: “Clearly, President Obama wants to make progress on this issue and we should help him in every way that we can with respect to this individual.”

The prime minister’s comments are the most positive indication to date that Aamer will eventually be freed – he has been cleared for release twice since 2007.

Clive Stafford Smith, the director of the legal charity Reprieve, who passed a transcript of his conversation with Aamer to the Observer, said: “These gruesome new details show just how bad things are in Guantánamo. The whole thing is at breaking point. Clearly the US military is under enormous pressure and doing everything it can to hurt the men and break the hunger strike.”

Although the military initially denied that there was a hunger strike inside Guantanámo, it now concedes that, of the 166 detainees, 104 are on hunger strike and 44 are being force-fed.

Aamer also documents his declining health and how the camp’s regime deliberately inflates the weight of detainees on hunger strike. Aamer, who has permission to live in the UK indefinitely because his wife is a British national, said: “They said I was 160lb, but I was 154lb a few days ago. Unless there has been a miracle, my weight has not gone up without eating. But they cheat by adding shackles and sometimes even pressing down as they do it to add to your weight.

“If you have a medical standard for when a detainee should be force-fed for his own health, then force-feed him when it can still save his health. Don’t wait until his body is so harmed by the lack of food that all you are protecting is the US military – from the harm of a prisoner dying for a principle.”

Aamer describes his daily diet at Guantánamo as a cup of tea or two each day with a low-calorie sweetener and occasionally an Ocean Spray powder mix that has 10 calories – enough to give an energy boost.

Source
Photo

June 11, 2013
*** TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, SEXUAL VIOLENCE ***
Rape of Iraqi Women by US Forces as Weapon of War: Photos and Data Emerge | Asian Tribune
By Daya Gamage, US National Correspondent Asian Tribune
October 3, 2009
In March 2006 four US soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division gang raped a 14 year old Iraqi girl and murdered her and her family —including a 5 year old child. An additional soldier was involved in the cover-up.
One of the killers, Steven Green, was found guilty on May 07, 2009 in the US District Court of Paducah and is now awaiting sentencing.
The leaked Public Affairs Guidance put the 101st media team into a “passive posture” — withholding information where possible. It conceals presence of both child victims, and describes the rape victim, who had just turned 14, as “a young woman”.
The US Army’s Criminal Investigation Division did not begin its investigation until three and a half months after the crime, news reports at that time commented.
This is not the only grim picture coming out of Iraq U.S. forces being accused of using rape as a war weapon.
The release, by CBS News, of the photographs showing the heinous sexual abuse and torture of Iraqi POW’s at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison opened a Pandora’s Box for the Bush regime wrote Ernesto Cienfuegos in La Voz de Aztlan on May 2, 2004.
Journalist Cienfuegos further states “Apparently, the suspended US commander of the prison where the worst abuses took place, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, has refused to take the fall by herself and has implicated the CIA, Military Intelligence and private US government contractors in the torturing of POW’s and in the raping of Iraqi women detainees as well.”
Brigadier General Karpinski, who commanded the 800th Military Police Brigade, described a high-pressure Military Intelligence and CIA command that prized successful interrogations. A month before the alleged abuses and rapes occurred, she said, a team of CIA, Military Intelligence officers and private consultants under the employ of the US government came to Abu Ghraib. “Their main and specific mission was to give the interrogators new techniques to get more information from detainees,” she said.
At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.
Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.
Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.
Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.
Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He later confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph in May 2009.
The London newspaper further noted “graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President Obama’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.”
Maj. Gen. Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.
“The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”
In April, Mr. Obama’s administration said the photographs would be released and it would be “pointless to appeal” against a court judgment in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
But after lobbying from senior military figures, Mr. Obama changed his mind saying they could put the safety of troops at risk.
In May, he said: “The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.”
In April 2004, new photographs were sent to La Voz de Aztlan from confidential sources depicting the shocking rapes of two Iraqi women by what are purported to be US Military Intelligence personnel and private US mercenaries in military fatigues. It is now known, Cienfuegos wrote in May 2004, that hundreds of these photographs had been in circulation among the troops in Iraq. The graphic photos were being swapped between the soldiers like baseball cards.
Asian Tribune carries here three of the ‘Rape’ photographs which have brought criticism that the U.S. forces in Iraq have used rape as a weapon of war.
Copyright © 2009 Asian Tribune.
[Related articles:- Women, Men and Children Are Routinely Tortured and Raped in Iraqi Prisons. The Perpetrators Walk Free | iraqispringmc, November 27, 2012- Privileges of New Democratic Iraq: Rape & Torture of Innocent Women in Maliki’s Prisons | uruknet.info, February 6, 2013- For Iraqi women, America’s promise of democracy is anything but liberation | guardian.co.uk, February 25, 2013- Iraq, 2013: The Horrors Remain the Same — Rape, Executions and Torture Abound | Alternet, March 18, 2013- Reports surface of rape and torture in Iraq | Women Under Siege Project, March 20, 2013]

*** TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, SEXUAL VIOLENCE ***

Rape of Iraqi Women by US Forces as Weapon of War: Photos and Data Emerge | Asian Tribune

By Daya Gamage, US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

October 3, 2009

In March 2006 four US soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division gang raped a 14 year old Iraqi girl and murdered her and her family —including a 5 year old child. An additional soldier was involved in the cover-up.

One of the killers, Steven Green, was found guilty on May 07, 2009 in the US District Court of Paducah and is now awaiting sentencing.

The leaked Public Affairs Guidance put the 101st media team into a “passive posture” — withholding information where possible. It conceals presence of both child victims, and describes the rape victim, who had just turned 14, as “a young woman”.

The US Army’s Criminal Investigation Division did not begin its investigation until three and a half months after the crime, news reports at that time commented.

This is not the only grim picture coming out of Iraq U.S. forces being accused of using rape as a war weapon.

The release, by CBS News, of the photographs showing the heinous sexual abuse and torture of Iraqi POW’s at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison opened a Pandora’s Box for the Bush regime wrote Ernesto Cienfuegos in La Voz de Aztlan on May 2, 2004.

Journalist Cienfuegos further states “Apparently, the suspended US commander of the prison where the worst abuses took place, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, has refused to take the fall by herself and has implicated the CIA, Military Intelligence and private US government contractors in the torturing of POW’s and in the raping of Iraqi women detainees as well.”

Brigadier General Karpinski, who commanded the 800th Military Police Brigade, described a high-pressure Military Intelligence and CIA command that prized successful interrogations. A month before the alleged abuses and rapes occurred, she said, a team of CIA, Military Intelligence officers and private consultants under the employ of the US government came to Abu Ghraib. “Their main and specific mission was to give the interrogators new techniques to get more information from detainees,” she said.

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He later confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph in May 2009.

The London newspaper further noted “graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President Obama’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.”

Maj. Gen. Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.

“The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”

In April, Mr. Obama’s administration said the photographs would be released and it would be “pointless to appeal” against a court judgment in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

But after lobbying from senior military figures, Mr. Obama changed his mind saying they could put the safety of troops at risk.

In May, he said: “The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.”

In April 2004, new photographs were sent to La Voz de Aztlan from confidential sources depicting the shocking rapes of two Iraqi women by what are purported to be US Military Intelligence personnel and private US mercenaries in military fatigues. It is now known, Cienfuegos wrote in May 2004, that hundreds of these photographs had been in circulation among the troops in Iraq. The graphic photos were being swapped between the soldiers like baseball cards.

Asian Tribune carries here three of the ‘Rape’ photographs which have brought criticism that the U.S. forces in Iraq have used rape as a weapon of war.

Copyright © 2009 Asian Tribune.

[Related articles:
- Women, Men and Children Are Routinely Tortured and Raped in Iraqi Prisons. The Perpetrators Walk Free | iraqispringmc, November 27, 2012
- Privileges of New Democratic Iraq: Rape & Torture of Innocent Women in Maliki’s Prisons | uruknet.info, February 6, 2013
- For Iraqi women, America’s promise of democracy is anything but liberation | guardian.co.uk, February 25, 2013
- Iraq, 2013: The Horrors Remain the Same — Rape, Executions and Torture Abound | Alternet, March 18, 2013
- Reports surface of rape and torture in Iraq | Women Under Siege Project, March 20, 2013]

April 14, 2013
Guantanamo Bay - President Obama's shame: The forgotten prisoners of America's own Gulag | The Independent

No charge, but no release. Yesterday the anger of hunger-striking detainees boiled over in clashes with their jailers

By Rupert Cornwell

April 14, 2013

For long periods we forget it, even though it is a human rights disgrace surely unequalled in recent American history. But now, 11 years after it opened, the prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay is demanding our attention once again, thanks to the largest hunger strike by detainees in its infamous history. Al-Qa’ida has been decimated; America’s war in Iraq is over and the one in Afghanistan soon will be. But the scandal of Guantanamo endures.

Today, 166 inmates remain. Three have been convicted, while a further 30 will face trial. Fifty or so are in a legal no-man’s-land, deemed by the authorities too dangerous to release but against whom there is not enough evidence to prosecute. And then there are 86 who have been cleared for release, but who instead rot in a hell from which there is no escape. No wonder yesterday more than 160 of them were involved in clashes with guards that led to what the US said were “less than lethal” rounds being fired.

In 2009, Barack Obama entered office vowing to close Guantanamo within a year. Perhaps he should have listened more closely to his predecessor. George W Bush, too, wanted to shut Guantanamo; even he came to understand it was perhaps the most powerful single recruiting agent for global terrorism. But, he warned presciently, the devil was in the detail – or, more exactly, in Congress.

Mr Obama’s planned to transfer most inmates to a high-security prison in Illinois, but that idea was blocked. Then Congress made things harder still, first scotching a plan to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the organiser of 9/11 and Guantanamo’s best-known prisoner, in a civil court in the US, and effectively banning the use of public money to transfer Guantanamo detainees to the US or abroad.

Even so, Dan Fried, the special envoy in charge of closing the prison, managed to resettle 40 detainees during Obama’s first term. But at the end of January, Mr Fried was reassigned and not replaced, his duties incorporated into the State Department’s existing legal office. For the 86 inmates eligible for release it was the last straw. Within a week the hunger strikes started.

Detainees tell their lawyers that up to 130 now are taking part. The Pentagon claims they number no more than 40, of whom a dozen are being force-fed. Given the lack of independent access to Guantanamo, the exact number is impossible to establish.

Like others before it, the protest may have been sparked by complaints that guards were abusing detainees’ copies of the Koran. But even the Pentagon admits the real reason was despair. Inmates were “devastated” by the signal that the administration no longer believed that closing the prison was a realistic priority, Marine General John Kelly told Congress, so “they want to turn the heat up, get it back in the media”. And who can blame them?

By all accounts, the atmosphere within Guantanamo has never been as bleak. The Soviet Union had gulags, “but no Soviet gulag ever had 52 per cent of its prisoners cleared for release,” says Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal charity Reprieve, who has been representing Guantanamo detainees almost since the place opened in January 2002.

One of his clients is the Saudi-born British resident Shaker Aamer, captured in Afghanistan in November 2001 and brought to Guantanamo in February 2002. He has been cleared not once but twice, in 2007 and then by the Obama administration in 2009. But the US won’t let him go, not even back to its trusty ally Britain, where Aamer’s family live. Fluent in English, Mr Aamer is regarded as a “leader” among the detainees. Many suspect that the Americans will never free him, because he knows so much, and would speak out.

Today, even George Orwell would have been pressed to conceive the plight of the 86: cleared for release, but denied freedom, using a hunger strike as their last weapon, only to be kept alive by the very people who will not let them go. On Thursday, Mr Aamer gave the most recent account of events at Guantanamo to Mr Stafford Smith in an hour-long phone conversation, described by his lawyer in a sworn affidavit.

Mr Aamer is participating in the hunger strike, although he is not yet being force-fed. But other harassments abound. He is in Guantanamo’s Camp Five, where “non-compliant” prisoners are held. His health is poor and deteriorating. There is noise throughout the night. It is getting harder to speak to lawyers. Then there are the FCEs, or “forcible cell extractions”, to use the euphemism for being picked up and shackled by a team of six guards who burst into your cell. “They FCE me just to give me water,” Mr Aamer recounted.

Each day, he says, there are 10 to 15 “code yellow” incidents, when a prisoner on hunger strike collapses or passes out. Even contact with lawyers is a mixed blessing. “Each phone call [from a lawyer] is a curse. They hear what I am saying to you and use that against me to make things worse,” he told Mr Stafford Smith. The situation, in short, is grimmer even than during what Mr Aamer calls “Miller time”. For ordinary residents of the US, the phrase advertises a well-known brand of beer. But in the extra-territorial Hades of Guantanamo, the reference is to General Geoffrey Miller, the prison’s second commandant before he was sent to Iraq in August 2003 to advise on “more productive” interrogations of prisoners, that is, to “Gitmo-ise” Iraq.

The hunger strike is succeeding in returning the spotlight to Guantanamo. On the day Mr Stafford Smith talked to Mr Aamer, Chuck Hagel, the Defence Secretary, told Congress he favoured closing the prison, while leading human rights groups wrote to Mr Obama demanding again that Guantanamo be shut and its inmates either released or tried in civilian court. But it seems optimism bordering on insanity to believe these entreaties will succeed where every other has failed.

Mr Aamer, by all accounts, is a proud man not given to self-pity. But by the end of the phone call, Mr Stafford Smith declared, his client seemed to be crying. “They are killing us, so it is hard to keep calm. It’s hard to understand what they are doing, or why. No matter how much I show you I am tough, in reality I am dying inside. If you want us to die, leave us alone. But they do not want us to die, and they do not want us to live like a human being. What is worse than that?” What indeed?

Forced feeding

International medical groups have denounced the forced-feeding of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, which invariably involves strapping detainees into restraint chairs (marketed as a “padded cell on wheels” by their manufacturer), pushing a tube up their nose and down their throat, and pumping liquids into their stomach. Although it is considered a method of torture by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the US military insists forced-feeding is a form of “medical intervention” and that the practice is less aggressive than it was.

Forced-feeding first received widespread public attention in the Edwardian era, when it was used against hunger-striking suffragettes who were held down as the instruments were painfully inserted into their bodies, an experience that has been likened to rape. This technique was also performed on hunger-striking Irish Republicans: in 1917, Thomas Ashe died as a result of complications from the procedure.

Forced-feeding in prisons has been outlawed since 1975 when the World Medical Association issued the Declaration of Tokyo, guidelines for physicians concerning torture and other cruel or degrading treatment in relation to detention. The declaration stipulates that: “Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgement concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially.”

Katie Grant

Copyright © 2013 independent.co.uk.

April 8, 2013
James Steele: America's mystery man in Iraq - video | guardian.co.uk

A 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic reveals how retired US colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centres in Iraq. Another special forces veteran, Colonel James Coffman, worked with Steele and reported directly to General David Petraeus, who had been sent into Iraq to organise the Iraqi security services.

March 26, 2013
Steven Simpson, Gay British Teen, Dies After Being Set On Fire At Birthday Party | HuffPost Gay Voices
March 23, 2013
A young British man has been convicted of manslaughter after killing a gay teen by setting him on fire.
The BBC reports that 20-year-old Jordan Sheard has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail for the death of Steven Simpson after pleading guilty to manslaughter charges. Simpson, 18, died one day after sustaining “significant burns” in June 2012, according to the report.
Simpson had Asperger’s syndrome, a speech impairment and epilepsy, the Yorkshire Post noted. The teen had reportedly been dared to strip down to his underpants before being doused in tanning oil, after which Sheard set him aflame at the party. Other reports said that anti-gay messages, including “gay boy” and “I love d*ck,” had been found scrawled across Simpson’s body.
Detective Sean Middleton described Simpson to the BBC as “a very caring and likeable young man” and a “generous spirit was taken advantage of and a single thoughtless act resulted in his death.”
A number of local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates said they believed Sheard’s prison term to be too lenient, but prosecuting attorney Tim Warburton nonetheless told The Star that the sentence was “within the range of what would be expected had it been considered a hate crime,” and that it would not be appealed.
"This was a cruel case of bullying based on Steven’s sexuality and disability," Warburton is quoted as saying. "While we accept Jordan did not intend to kill Steven, his actions did lead to his death."
Meanwhile, Sheard’s attorney said his client had been “deeply and significantly affected by what he has done and the tragic consequences that ensued,” which describing Simpson’s death as a “stupid prank that went wrong in a bad way,” the Daily Mail noted.
Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.
[Photo: Steven Simpson.]

Steven Simpson, Gay British Teen, Dies After Being Set On Fire At Birthday Party | HuffPost Gay Voices

March 23, 2013

A young British man has been convicted of manslaughter after killing a gay teen by setting him on fire.

The BBC reports that 20-year-old Jordan Sheard has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail for the death of Steven Simpson after pleading guilty to manslaughter charges. Simpson, 18, died one day after sustaining “significant burns” in June 2012, according to the report.

Simpson had Asperger’s syndrome, a speech impairment and epilepsy, the Yorkshire Post noted. The teen had reportedly been dared to strip down to his underpants before being doused in tanning oil, after which Sheard set him aflame at the party. Other reports said that anti-gay messages, including “gay boy” and “I love d*ck,” had been found scrawled across Simpson’s body.

Detective Sean Middleton described Simpson to the BBC as “a very caring and likeable young man” and a “generous spirit was taken advantage of and a single thoughtless act resulted in his death.”

A number of local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates said they believed Sheard’s prison term to be too lenient, but prosecuting attorney Tim Warburton nonetheless told The Star that the sentence was “within the range of what would be expected had it been considered a hate crime,” and that it would not be appealed.

"This was a cruel case of bullying based on Steven’s sexuality and disability," Warburton is quoted as saying. "While we accept Jordan did not intend to kill Steven, his actions did lead to his death."

Meanwhile, Sheard’s attorney said his client had been “deeply and significantly affected by what he has done and the tragic consequences that ensued,” which describing Simpson’s death as a “stupid prank that went wrong in a bad way,” the Daily Mail noted.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

[Photo: Steven Simpson.]

March 24, 2013
vcrfl:

Jean-Louis-Cesar Lair: The Torture of Prometheus, 1819.

vcrfl:

Jean-Louis-Cesar Lair: The Torture of Prometheus, 1819.

March 23, 2013

Man In Bathtub By George W. Bush

Waterboarding By Matt Mahurin

March 20, 2013
Gitmo Hunger Strike: ‘Prisoners put their lives on the line in a medieval torture chamber’ | RT
March 17, 2013
An inmate hunger strike at Guantanamo prison has entered its 40th day, with more than 100 reportedly taking part. Experts warn of health risks over a strike prompted by the confiscation of prisoners’ belongings and rough handling of Korans.
The prisoners’ lawyers, along with other experts and former detainees, are sounding the alarm over the inmates’ critical condition. “They are indeed threatening their own lives, putting their lives on the line in this heroic effort to express a sense of autonomy, outrage at being imprisoned in what can be characterized as nothing less than the American sort of medieval torture chamber,” anthropologist Mark Mason, who studies the cultural factors behind human suffering, told RT.
“We have here conditions where 166 people are imprisoned, more of half of them cleared, they should be out to the streets, free today,” Mason added. “I frankly cannot describe some of the horrific conditions and treatment and humiliation that many detainees have reported. They have been stripped and required to stand around in cold rooms for hours naked. This is itself a physical stressor, but it is almost unspeakable psychological torture.”
“We are humans, we are not eagles in a bag of skin, we relate to each other, we need human contact and relationships to be healthy psychologically and physically,” he said.
Mason claimed that the US lives in a “distortion zone,” where “people imprisoned in Guantanamo should be free while the president, our former president, vice president and bankers in the US and Wall Street should be in jail.”
US President Barack Obama began his first term by announcing his intention to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Now, just two months into his second term, the prison has entered its 12th year of operation with 166 detainees still languishing behind bars and a reported 130 on a life-threatening hunger strike.
9- to 12-year-old kids detained and tortured in Guantanamo?
Former Guantanamo detainee Murat Kurnaz described to RT the horrible conditions he faced while being detained there, and explained the reasons behind the hunger strike.
“I have been tortured in different kinds of ways. There are no human rights over there. That means they could do whatever they wanted to with us,” Kurnaz said. “They tortured me to force me to sign papers and every time I’ve refused, they kept on torturing me in different kind of ways.”
“They really tried everything to break us including psychological and physical torture. I myself got tortured by electroshocks and waterboarding. I have seen also kids 9 years and 12 years old inside the camp. It was very difficult to watch how those kids getting beaten up in front of me,” he added.
Kurnaz argued that detainees have “many justified reasons” to go on a hunger strike:“It is a bad situation, prisoners want to go to court and want their rights back. They don’t have the opportunity to go to the court or see their families. They do not have the right to write or receive letters.”
The state of legal limbo was also frustrating for Kurnaz, who was determined to be innocent by the US but had to spend an extra five years in detention because Germany refused to take him back.
“Their hunger strikes are the only way they have of making themselves heard. Years and years without any hope of release. Without any real charges,” political writer and activist Sara Flounders told RT.
Lawyers for the Guantanamo prisoners said the men began the hunger strike on February 6 in protest against the alleged confiscation of personal items such as photographs and personal mail, as well as the alleged sacrilegious handling of their Korans during searches of their cells.
The Center for Constitutional Rights said that they have received reports of detainees coughing up blood, losing consciousness, losing more than twenty pounds of weight and being hospitalized. Medical experts have predicted that by the 45th day of a hunger strike, participants can experience hearing loss and potential blindness – on top of the psychological suffering they have endured for more than a decade.
The UN issued a statement this week that the US is violating international human rights law by holding detainees indefinitely and without charge.
Copyright © 2013 Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”.
[Photo: This image reviewed by the US military shows the front gate of “Camp Six” detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (© AFP Photo/Jim Watson)]

Gitmo Hunger Strike: ‘Prisoners put their lives on the line in a medieval torture chamber’ | RT

March 17, 2013

An inmate hunger strike at Guantanamo prison has entered its 40th day, with more than 100 reportedly taking part. Experts warn of health risks over a strike prompted by the confiscation of prisoners’ belongings and rough handling of Korans.

The prisoners’ lawyers, along with other experts and former detainees, are sounding the alarm over the inmates’ critical condition. “They are indeed threatening their own lives, putting their lives on the line in this heroic effort to express a sense of autonomy, outrage at being imprisoned in what can be characterized as nothing less than the American sort of medieval torture chamber,” anthropologist Mark Mason, who studies the cultural factors behind human suffering, told RT.

“We have here conditions where 166 people are imprisoned, more of half of them cleared, they should be out to the streets, free today,” Mason added. “I frankly cannot describe some of the horrific conditions and treatment and humiliation that many detainees have reported. They have been stripped and required to stand around in cold rooms for hours naked. This is itself a physical stressor, but it is almost unspeakable psychological torture.”

“We are humans, we are not eagles in a bag of skin, we relate to each other, we need human contact and relationships to be healthy psychologically and physically,” he said.

Mason claimed that the US lives in a “distortion zone,” where “people imprisoned in Guantanamo should be free while the president, our former president, vice president and bankers in the US and Wall Street should be in jail.”

US President Barack Obama began his first term by announcing his intention to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Now, just two months into his second term, the prison has entered its 12th year of operation with 166 detainees still languishing behind bars and a reported 130 on a life-threatening hunger strike.

9- to 12-year-old kids detained and tortured in Guantanamo?

Former Guantanamo detainee Murat Kurnaz described to RT the horrible conditions he faced while being detained there, and explained the reasons behind the hunger strike.

“I have been tortured in different kinds of ways. There are no human rights over there. That means they could do whatever they wanted to with us,” Kurnaz said. “They tortured me to force me to sign papers and every time I’ve refused, they kept on torturing me in different kind of ways.”

“They really tried everything to break us including psychological and physical torture. I myself got tortured by electroshocks and waterboarding. I have seen also kids 9 years and 12 years old inside the camp. It was very difficult to watch how those kids getting beaten up in front of me,” he added.

Kurnaz argued that detainees have “many justified reasons” to go on a hunger strike:“It is a bad situation, prisoners want to go to court and want their rights back. They don’t have the opportunity to go to the court or see their families. They do not have the right to write or receive letters.”

The state of legal limbo was also frustrating for Kurnaz, who was determined to be innocent by the US but had to spend an extra five years in detention because Germany refused to take him back.

“Their hunger strikes are the only way they have of making themselves heard. Years and years without any hope of release. Without any real charges,” political writer and activist Sara Flounders told RT.

Lawyers for the Guantanamo prisoners said the men began the hunger strike on February 6 in protest against the alleged confiscation of personal items such as photographs and personal mail, as well as the alleged sacrilegious handling of their Korans during searches of their cells.

The Center for Constitutional Rights said that they have received reports of detainees coughing up blood, losing consciousness, losing more than twenty pounds of weight and being hospitalized. Medical experts have predicted that by the 45th day of a hunger strike, participants can experience hearing loss and potential blindness – on top of the psychological suffering they have endured for more than a decade.

The UN issued a statement this week that the US is violating international human rights law by holding detainees indefinitely and without charge.

Copyright © 2013 Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”.

[Photo: This image reviewed by the US military shows the front gate of “Camp Six” detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (© AFP Photo/Jim Watson)]