Guantanamo officials are hiding the number of hunger strikers, according to an internationally respected prison advocate’s conversation Saturday with a prisoner about 130 men desperately attempting to tell the world what is happening at what has been dubbed an Obama Death Camp and to tell Obama to end the abuse.
Men desperately try to tell world about Obama’s Guantanamo human rights abuses
“90mins on phone with Shaker Aamer today; 130 detainees on hunger strike; situation in #Gitmo as dire as General ‘Miller Time’,” Clive Stafford Smith tweeted Saturday.
Stafford Smith heads Reprieve, a non-profit organization dedicated to delivering justice, from people on death row to Guantanamo Bay Naval Camp.
General Geoffrey D. Miller (retired) is known for his policies at Guantanamo Bay detainment camp and at Abu Ghraib, and for abuse of prisoners through his approved “interrogation” methods that yielded innocent men to falsely admit wrong doing to end being tortured.
Miller committed perjury but has not been charged, according to July 2005 records showing his May 2004 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, and sworn statements he made three months later. (See: Not so fast, General, Salon (magazine), March 7, 2006 and Gaps and Discrepancies’, Newsweek, May 24, 2004)
Instead of holding Miller accountable, upon retirement, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, and praised as an “innovator.”
That innovation has resulted in such gruesome torture at Guantanamo Bay, the Prisoners of War there have begged for the abuse to end or for Obama to kill them. (See: Gitmo to Obama: Respect or kill us)
Until this decision is made, some 190 men are refusing food and camp personnel are aiding their deaths with ongoing abuse, such as denying their right to drinking water and reviving those dying with shots.
“This is their way of reminding the world about the ongoing injustice and of sending a message to the Obama administration that 11 years is more than enough,” said Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at City University of New York representing seven of the prisoners.
Carlos Warner, an Ohio-based public defender, said after visiting the camp this week that many of the hunger-striking prisoners were gaunt, with waists “like a child’s”, and were being revived with shots after collapsing.
Although the USA fails to recognize prisoner of war (POW) status of Guantanamo Bay detainees, instead calling them “enemy combatants,” human rights groups, including Amnesty International, consider these men POWs.
The number of POW hunger strikers, held at the Guantanamo camp for years without trial, has grown to involve 130 men, a number vastly differing to the “37 prisoners” that the Defense Department reported this week.
Neither numbers, however, are right.
“The right numbers—the ones one would expect from a prison run by a country of laws—are a hundred and sixty-six facing trials,” and none “for no good reason,” reports the New Yorker’s Amy Davidson.
Force feeding at Guantanamo Camp a gross human rights violation
Daily, to prevent deaths and coerce the men to end their strike, dozens of men are brutally restrained in a “torture chair” where the camp staff then snake a hose into the nose to feed them. No lubricants are used and these sessions can occur for 2-3 hours twice daily. Tubes are left in for days in some cases.
The camp medical staff oversees these gross human rights violation procedures, that media is blacking out.
[See: Media ignores military forcing tubes into Gitmo hunger strikers Day 39]
The Internatioal Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) asserts that “forced feeding” of inmates…constitutes a “gross violation of medical ethics.”
This week, Simon Schorno from ICRC blamed Guantanamo’s poor legal regulations for the plight of its inmates. He said that two ICRC medical delegates reached the Guantanamo prison Monday, earlier than their planned regular visit.
[Read: Red Cross arrives at Guantanamo hunger strike crisis]
The ICRC doctors speak directly with prisoners, according to Schorno, who also explained, “We don’t really comment to the public on what we see during our visits.”
The ICRC says its role, “as a humanitarian organization, is to strive to ensure that the treatment detainees receive and the conditions in which they are held are humane and meet international standards, and that the safeguards and protections afforded detainees are respected.”
The ICRC is opposed to forced feeding or forced treatment; it is essential that the detainees’ choices be respected and their human dignity preserved. The ICRC’s position on this issue closely corresponds to that expressed by the World Medical Association in the Malta and Tokyo Declarations, both revised in 2006. (Hunger Strikes in Prisons: the ICRC’s position)
[Also see: http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/article/other/health-article-010198.htm)
“Taking a dozen prisoners a day to a room where they are force-fed with tubes stuck into their noses should not be part of the normal routine at Guantánamo, or at any American prison,” asserts Davidson.
‘Justice delayed is justice denied’
Nelson Mandela has stated, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” This is the focus of a workshop, Justice Denied, in two weeks about the dire situation at Guantanamo.
David H. Remes is a lawyer for several Yemeni detainees, all cleared for repatriation years ago but remaining at the camp with the excuse that poor security conditions exist in Yemen.
Human rights advocates say a new home could be found for these innocent men. Others say that if released, their stories of abuses that Americans inflicted on them would be too scandalous for Obama.
Clients recently told Remes that the final straw before the strike began was prison officials searching Korans in a way considered religious desecration, not done since 2006.
Koran abuse is likened to aggressive officials using force to enter and look inside fundamentalist Christians’ homes for Bibles and to forcibly remove or desecrate them. Recently, this culture awareness lesson was taught in a Florida university, or rather, a professor tried to help students learn this. The professor asked students to write “Jesus” on a paper, put the paper on the floor and stomp on it. The students failed to learn this lesson. Instead, a university public apology resulted.
The Koran searches at Guantanamo, however, were only a hunger strike spark, according to Reemes. The underlying problem is that the abused detainees lost hope to the point of preferring death.
At the camp, “recent unrest was the collapse of hopes that the United States government would at some point let them go,” the New York Times reports, adding that “the underlying problem is their frustration at being held without trial going into their 11th year with no end in sight.”
Eighty-six—more than one in two—have been cleared for release, meaning that the government doesn’t think that it has a case against them or even that they pose a threat, but it is keeping them locked up anyway, and has no imminent plans to let them go.
Only six of the prisomers—just about one in twenty-eight—are facing trial. That means that there are six times as many prisoners on hunger strikes as there are those who have actual charges lodged against them. (The New Yorker)
The detainees were “devastated” by signs that Obama no longer sees closing the camp a realistic priority, according to the House Armed Services Committee testimony by General John F. Kelly of the Marines, who oversees Guantánamo as leader of the United States Southern Command.
Last week, the Pentagon requested $49m for a new prison building at Guantánamo for “special” detainees, in addition to extensive renovations already underway.
The United States Southern Command said improvements, now totaling $195m, were necessary since Congress decided to keep the camp open indefinitely.
The Commander In Chief Barack Obama has not only approved that extra spending. Earlier, Obama also refused to sign the National Defense Authorization Act unless it included the provision that the military could pick up Americans on U.S. soil and detain them indefinitely in prisons such as Guantanamo.
Due to these POWs dying at the hands of Obama, the ultimate head of Guantanamo, the camp is being dubbed an Obama Death Camp.
A heartbreaking warning about what to expect at the camp was tweeted Sunday by Dr David Nicholl @djnicholl20h:
“@vd2012 @CliveSSmith anyone who knows anything about Hx of hunger striking (& I do) knows that isn’t going to end pleasantly. Desperate.”