11.9.01

Archive for the ‘Guantanamo Bay’ Category

“Gitmo Is Killing Me:” Op-Ed in NYTimes

In Guantanamo Bay on April 16, 2013 at 7:45 am

The New York Times

April 14, 2013
Gitmo Is Killing Me
By SAMIR NAJI al HASAN MOQBEL
GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba

ONE man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.

When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try.

I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.

Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray.

I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.

I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping.

There are so many of us on hunger strike now that there aren’t enough qualified medical staff members to carry out the force-feedings; nothing is happening at regular intervals. They are feeding people around the clock just to keep up.

During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily. I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not.

It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. As they were finishing, some of the “food” spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity.

When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding.

The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one.

I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen’s president do something, that is what I risk every day.

Where is my government? I will submit to any “security measures” they want in order to go home, even though they are totally unnecessary.

I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my family again and to start a family of my own.

The situation is desperate now. All of the detainees here are suffering deeply. At least 40 people here are on a hunger strike. People are fainting with exhaustion every day. I have vomited blood.

And there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made.

I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.

Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, told this story, through an Arabic interpreter, to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call.

Gitmo Files: Would-Be Terrorists Sought 9/11 Follow-Up

In al Qaeda, Guantanamo Bay, Muslims and Arabs after 9/11, Pakistan and Afghanistan on April 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm

More reveals from the Gitmo leaks, though this is not so surprising:

WASHINGTON — He peers out from the photo in the classified file through heavy-framed spectacles, an owlish face with a graying beard and a half-smile. Saifullah Paracha, a successful businessman and for years a New York travel agent, appears to be the oldest of the 172 prisoners still held at the Guantánamo Bay prison. His dossier is among the most chilling.

In the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Paracha, 63, was one of a small circle of Al Qaeda operatives who explored ways to follow up on the hijackings with new attacks, according to the classified Guantánamo files made available to The New York Times.

Working with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the 9/11 planner who in early 2002 gave him $500,000 to $600,000 “for safekeeping,” Mr. Paracha offered his long experience in the shipping business for a scheme to move plastic explosives into the United States inside containers of women’s and children’s clothing, the files assert.

“Detainee desired to help Al Qaeda ‘do something big against the U.S.,’ ” one of his co-conspirators, Ammar al-Baluchi, told Guantánamo interrogators, the files say. Mr. Paracha discussed obtaining biological or nuclear weapons as well, though he was concerned that detectors at ports “would make it difficult to smuggle radioactive materials into the country,” the file says.

Mr. Paracha’s assessment is among more than 700 classified documents that fill in new details of Al Qaeda’s efforts to make 9/11 just the first in a series of attacks to cripple the United States, intentions thwarted as the Central Intelligence Agency captured Mr. Mohammed and other leaders of the terrorist network.

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New Leak Sheds Light on Gitmo

In Civil Liberties, Guantanamo Bay, Muslims and Arabs after 9/11, Rendition, Torture on April 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm

A new leak provided to the NYTimes provides new details on Gitmo operations:

WASHINGTON — A trove of more than 700 classified military documents provides new and detailed accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantánamo Bayprison in Cuba, and offers new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up there.

Military intelligence officials, in assessments of detainees written between February 2002 and January 2009, evaluated their histories and provided glimpses of the tensions between captors and captives. What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring American institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal.

The documents meticulously record the detainees’ “pocket litter” when they were captured: a bus ticket to Kabul, a fake passport and forged student ID, a restaurant receipt, even a poem. They list the prisoners’ illnesses — hepatitis, gout, tuberculosis, depression. They note their serial interrogations, enumerating — even after six or more years of relentless questioning — remaining “areas of potential exploitation.” They describe inmates’ infractions — punching guards, tearing apart shower shoes, shouting across cellblocks. And, as analysts try to bolster the case for continued incarceration, they record years of detainees’ comments about one another.

The secret documents, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, reveal that most of the 172 remaining prisoners have been rated as a “high risk” of posing a threat to the United States and its allies if released without adequate rehabilitation and supervision. But they also show that an even larger number of the prisoners who have left Cuba — about a third of the 600 already transferred to other countries — were also designated “high risk” before they were freed or passed to the custody of other governments.

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Obama Administration Enshrining Bush Administration War on Terror Policies

In Civil Liberties, Guantanamo Bay, Post-9/11 Domestic Anti-Terrorism Efforts on August 14, 2010 at 8:44 am

According to ACLU, Obama is establishing a “new normal” that enshrines Bush era policies into permanance:

National Security, Civil Liberties, and Human Rights Under the Obama Administration
An 18-Month Review

In the eighteen months since the issuance of those executive orders, the administration’s record on issues related to civil liberties and national security has been, at best, mixed. Indeed, on a range of issues including accountability for torture, detention of terrorism suspects, and use of lethal force against civilians, there is a very real danger that the Obama administration will enshrine permanently within the law policies and practices that were widely considered extreme and unlawful during the Bush administration. There is a real danger, in other words, that the Obama administration will preside over the creation of a “new normal.”

Touring Guantanamo Bay

In Guantanamo Bay on August 12, 2010 at 2:05 pm

The NYTimes has an article describing tours the military give to journalists in Guantanamo Bay:

Tour of Guantánamo Offers a Look, but Little Else

By JEREMY W. PETERS

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — Welcome to Guantánamo Bay, where your tour guide will never leave your side but may not be able to answer any of your questions.

Several times a month, the military parades groups of journalists through the detention camps at the naval station here in an effort to clear up what it says are “common misrepresentations” about the way the camps’ 176 detainees are treated. The tours — part of a package deal complete with lodging, ground transportation and three meals a day from the Navy mess hall — offer what the Pentagon promotes as a behind-the-scenes peek into one of the government’s most secretive missions in the campaign against terror.

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CIA Hid Gitmo Detainees from Courts

In Guantanamo Bay, Secret Prisons on August 6, 2010 at 10:38 am

From the AP 

WASHINGTON – Four of the nation’s most highly valued terrorist prisoners were secretly moved to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2003, years earlier than has been disclosed, then whisked back into overseas prisons before the Supreme Court could give them access to lawyers, The Associated Press has learned.

The transfer allowed the U.S. to interrogate the detainees in CIA “black sites” for two more years without allowing them to speak with attorneys or human rights observers or challenge their detention in U.S. courts. Had they remained at the Guantanamo Bay prison for just three more months, they would have been afforded those rights.

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The Possible Future of 9/11 Trial in New York

In 9/11 News, al Qaeda, Guantanamo Bay on November 23, 2009 at 10:05 am

Ghailani is a suspect in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, and his day in a New York court is coming.  Ghailani’s New York trial may be the model for the KSM trial:

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, suspected of being a Qaeda terrorist, was captured in Pakistan in 2004, held in secret prisons run by the C.I.A. and then moved to the naval base at Guantánamo Bay. During about five years of detention, he says, he was confined in harsh conditions, abused during interrogation and denied a lawyer.  Since the spring, Mr. Ghailani has also been a defendant in federal court in Manhattan, the first Guantánamo detainee to be moved to the civilian courts.

From the moment the Obama administration announced that it would seek to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the professed planner of 9/11, and other Guantánamo detainees in the same federal court, the wisdom of the decision has been debated. Critics of the move have worried that government secrets will leak, that evidence won through harsh tactics could lead to dismissals, or that a trial would be used as a platform to spew hate.

There is much that distinguishes a potential trial of Mr. Mohammed from that of Mr. Ghailani. Mr. Mohammed is a much higher-profile defendant, he could face the death penalty, and he has said he wants to represent himself. But the prosecution of Mr. Ghailani, a Tanzanian accused of aiding the bombing of American Embassies in Africa in 1998, could hold important meaning for prosecutors and defense lawyers alike.

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Obama: Gitmo Won’t Close in January 2010

In Guantanamo Bay on November 21, 2009 at 10:26 am

Obama admits Guantanamo Bay will not close in January 2010:

BEIJING — President Barack Obama says he won’t set a new deadline for closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison, but does expect the facility to shut down sometime next year.

The administration no longer feels it can meet the January 2010 deadline Obama set for closure soon after taking office. Obama says he isn’t disappointed about missing the deadline, but has realized that things move slower in Washington than he expected.

Obama says the timeline for closing Guantanamo will depend on cooperation from Congress. About 220 detainees remain at the prison, and the administration must decide how to prosecute some in U.S. courts and turn others over to other countries.

Obama spoke in an interview with Fox News Channel.

Obama Administration: KSM to Be Tried in Civilian Court in New York City

In 9/11 News, al Qaeda, Guantanamo Bay on November 13, 2009 at 1:33 pm

KSM to face civilian court:

WASHINGTON – Self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees will be sent to New York to face trial in a civilian federal court, an Obama administration official said Friday.

The official said Attorney General Eric Holder plans to announce the decision later in the morning. The official is not authorized to discuss the decision before the announcement, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Without confirming details of the decision, President Barack Obama said it was a legal and national security matter. “I am absolutely convinced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be subjected to the most exacting demands of justice,” Obama said at a joint news conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

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Obama Administration to Continue Rendition Flights

In Civil Liberties, Guantanamo Bay, Rendition, Secret Prisons, Torture on August 25, 2009 at 11:23 am

Promising strict supervision, the Obama administration will continue rendition of detainees to third country parties:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will continue the Bush administration’s practice of sending terrorism suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation, but pledges to closely monitor their treatment to ensure that they are not tortured, administration officials said Monday.

The announcement, by President Obama’s Interrogation and Transfer Policy Task Force, seemed intended in part to offset the impact of the release on Monday of a long-withheld report by the C.I.A. inspector general, written in 2004, that offered new details about the brutal tactics used by the C.I.A. in interrogating terrorism detainees.

Though the Obama administration previously signaled that it would continue the use of renditions, some civil liberties groups were disappointed because, as a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama had strongly suggested he might end the practice. In an article in Foreign Affairs in the summer of 2007, Mr. Obama wrote, “To build a better, freer world, we must first behave in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people.”

Mr. Obama continued, “This means ending the practices of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, of detaining thousands without charge or trial, of maintaining a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law.” In January, the president ordered secret prisons run by the C.I.A. to be shut down.

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