November 24, 2013
A message from Shaker Aamer

 

These few weeks haven’t been easy for us as it pains me to see him in the cell screaming for his rights.http://www.channel5.com/shows/5-news/features-archived/british-guantanamo-bay-resident-speaks-out-for-the-first-time

All I say is what Clive and Shaker say: 

(Clive Stafford Smith: “What I have said and what Shaker has said for years is that if you have got an allegations against him, put up or shut up.”)

Alhamdulillah, We recieved a message from Shaker through Clive for us and for everyone else. May Allah bring Khayr and thank you all.

By the way we did not recieve any postcards from Shaker. We haven’t recieved anything from him in ages.

(By: Umm Johina Aamer)

From Shaker:
My special thanks and gratitude to Jane Ellison, Joy Hurcombe, Mr Sadiq Khan MP, and Cortney and Cori – all of whom stand up for rights and for justice. Please make sure you send a message and tweet to all of them that I am very very thankful. I am overwhelmed by their love, care, prayers, and help. I know for a fact that my debt to them is greater than I can ever pay back. No matter what I do, I pray for their guidance and happiness in this life and in the hereafter. 

Sorry if I did not mention everyone by name and that I cannot thank them in person. However, even if I do not know all of my supporters, it is not really important because God knows all of you and He will not forget your good deeds.

 na

November 2, 2013

A group of young artists and lawyers for The Blue Lantern Group dropped a banner inside the Met in New York City. There are currently 164 men, 84 that are cleared for release and 14 men entering the 9th month of a hunger strike, all of whom are being force-fed. 

The following mic check was presented:
We hope you’re enjoying this beautiful art and culture.
Tragically, America also has a culture of torture at Guantanamo Bay.
164 men are detained without end, most have never been charged with a crime.
The torture continues here in US prisons, where 80,000 people waste away in solitary confinement.
Brothers and sisters are torture in our name. 
Let’s unite to demand justice now!
Thank you for your time, and please join us in the struggle for human rights.

Song:
We who believe in Freedom can not rest,
We who believe in Freedom can not rest until it comes!
We gotta’ close Guantanamo today,
We gotta’ close Guantanamo today, stop torture now!

www.witnesstorture.org
www.CloseGitmo.net

November 2, 2013
ACTIVISTS DROP BANNER AT METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART: DEMAND GUANTANAMO BE SHUT DOWN.

sharminultra:

image

Demonstration video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKuP1bgTerU&feature=youtube_gdata

On the evening of Friday, November 1st, human rights activists entered the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, New York to call attention to the issue of the solitary confinement and the illegal imprisonment and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo bay. Activists peacefully entered the MET grand balcony, dropping a banner that read “End Torture, Close Guantanamo Now!” in the midst of a crowd of a few hundred visitors and singing activists. Organizers immediately started a mic check, which dispersed throughout the crowd of 20 or more strong voices who were repeating the words of the organizers.  “Good evening ladies and gentlemen! We hope you’re enjoying this beautiful art and culture! Tragically, America also has a culture of torture at Guantanamo Bay. 164 men are detained without end, and most have never been charged with a crime! The torture continues here, in US prisons, where 80,000 people waste away in solitary confinement. Brothers and sisters are tortured in our name, let’s unite to demand justice now! Thank you for your time, and please join us in the struggle for human rights.”

In efforts to bring back attention to the illegal prison in Guantanamo, activists felt the urgent need to discuss President Barack Obama’s broken campaign promises and the recent rise of entrapments, illegal detainment and torture of Muslims all over the world during this current war on terror. Over $2 trillion have been spent on our illegal occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and American prisoner practices have exceedingly disobeyed international humanitarian laws. Prisoners like Djamel Ameziane, who was a painter and chef from Algeria and has been detained without charge at the US Military Prison at Guantanamo Bay since 2002. He has been cleared for release in 2008 and now in the 9th month of a hunger strike. Over 30,000 prisoners at Pelican Bay and various other criminalization institutions in America are on hunger strike, and continue to demand better conditions of their imprisonment. Many of these prisoners are victims of solitary confinement, a practice deemed as equivalentto psychological terrorism by international human rights activists. There are millions of prisoners, including the 160 Muslim brothers who are victims of the American illegal war(s) on terror, being tortured, whether it be by force feeding or indefinite detention!  

 The Center for Constitutional Rights, human rights lawyers and activists allied with Witness Against Torture, anti-incarceration organizations like the Campaign to End the New Jim CrowCampaign for Alternatives to Solitary Confinement, and The American Friends and Service Committee have all united in efforts to address the torture system of American imprisonment, and it is time for us to join the fight. Over fifteen prisoners remain on hunger strike in Guantanamo bay, where they are organizing against their illegal detainment after many of them have received approval for dismissal. Many of the 160 prisoners have yet to see a judge for their case, and continue to show resistance through private meetings with their lawyers who have been fighting over fifteen years for their release.  They have asked for the public to join in their struggle by contacting local congresspersons, or write the New York State governor Andrew Cuomo. 

image

After dropping the banner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, crowds of people exited asthey sang “We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes. We gotta close Guantanamo today, stop torture now!” A woman came up to the demonstrators in tears and appreciation for the action, saying it made her emotional because of her knowledge of prison culture and the overwhelming amounts of illegal practices the American government participates in.

Demonstrators at the Blue Lantern Project are demanding public attention to the issue and practice of solitary confinement, as well as the abuse of government power to create a mass prison industrial complex that continues to marginalize and criminalize Black and brown men. The struggle for human rights is connected to the resistance against criminalization and the continuous violence against innocent humans. 

Read More

October 17, 2013
October 17, 2013 Press Advisory for tube-feeding of Andres Conteris in DC

For Immediate Release – October 17, 2013

Contacts: Jeremy Varon, 732-979-3119, jvaron@aol.com

Andrés Thomas Conteris, 202-232-1999, andres@closegitmo.net

US Activist to Undergo “Forced-Feeding” Outside Federal

Court in Solidarity with Guantánamo Prisoners

Nasal Tube Feeding to Follow Hearing on Human

Rights Violations at Guantanamo

WHEN: Friday, October 18, 11 am

WHERE: US District Court – 333 Constitution Ave NW, Wash., D.C

WHAT: Nasal Tube Feeding of Solidarity Hunger Striker

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Anti-torture activists will hold a nasal-tube feeding of a long term-faster to dramatize the abusive force-feeding of hunger strikers at Guantánamo and to protest indefinite detention at the prison. The feeding will take place at 11 am, following consideration by a federal appeals court of a lawsuit arguing that force-feeding at Guantánamo is a violation of human rights and religious liberties.

Andrés Thomas Conteris — on day 103 of a water-only fast — will undergo the nasal tube feeding. “Forced-feeding is torture,” says Conteris, who has lost 57 pounds. “I wish to make visible what the U.S. government is perpetrating against prisoners in Guantánamo and to remind the world that indefinite detention continues.” Conteris, age 52, has held nasogastric feedings at the White House, in Oakland,California, and at US embassies in Uruguay and Argentina. “The nasal tube feeding feels like endless agony,” says Conteris. “It feels like I’m drowning.” Beginning last February, more than 100 men at Guantánamo engaged in a hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention. To try to break the protest, the US military subjected dozens of the hunger strikers to nasogastric force-feeding. “The case before the appeals court goes to the heart of the evil of Guantánamo,” says Witness Against Torture organizer Jeremy Varon, “as it argues that the purpose of force-feeding is to sustain an illegal and immoral policy of indefinite detention.” Sixteen men remain on hunger strike at Guantánamo, all force-fed. Senators Dianne Feinstein and John McCain, the American Medical Association, and the United Nations have all denounced force-feeding. Prompted by the hunger strike at Guantánamo, President Obama on May 23, 2013 renewed his pledge to close the prison. Since that time, only two prisoners have been freed.

Witness Against Torture – witnesstorture.org

October 2, 2013
Contra la Tortura del Pentágono a los Presos en Guantánamo


Contra la Tortura del Pentágono a los Presos en Guantánamo 
Viernes, 4 de Octubre, 2013 a las 16:00 hs (4pm)
Frente a la Embajada de EEUU, Lauro Muller 1776
Parque Rodó, 
 
 
Montevideo, Uruguay

El Pentágono de EEUU tortura a los presos en Guantánamo obligándolos al aislamiento solitario, la detención indefinida, el abuso físico/psicológico, y faltándoles el respeto a los musulmanes.
  
  
 
La otra TORTURA del gobierno de Obama es la
Alimentación Forzada
contra los presos en Huelga de Hambre en Guantánamo
El movimiento www.CerrarGuantamano.net organiza ayunos solidarios con los presos en Guantánamo en Huelga de Hambre desde febrero de 2013.
Andrés Conteris, estadounidence (de madre uruguaya), ha ayunado 89 días en solidaridad con los presos en Guantánamo. El 6 de setiembre, frente la Casa Blanca en Washington, le pusieron una sonda nasogástrica para ilustrar como el Pentágono lleva a cabo esta tortura todos los días en la base. 
Conteris va repetir esta protesta frente la embajada de EEUU para revelar a la luz pública la tortura que se práctica en las sombras.
Convocan: www.CerrarGuantanamo.net y La Coordinadora por el Retiro de las Tropas de Haití 
Con el apoyo de Miembros de: PIT-CNT, COFE, FFOSE, AFFUR, Fundación Vivian Trias, CEPLA, CRYSOL, Fundación Mario Benedetti y SERPAJ

Contacto: 
Andrés Thomas Conteris
 095-693-384
andres@CloseGitmo.net
— 
Andrés Thomas Conteris
Close Guantánamo & End US-sponsored Torture Organizer
Oct 2, 2013, Gandhi’s birthday, water fast, day 87, lost 55 lbs 
CloseGitmo.net
& Oakland), Oct 4 (Montevideo, Uru), Oct 8 (Buenos Aires, Arg.), 
Oct 11 (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Oct 15 (Santiago, Chile), Oct 18
?
 (Washington, DC - tentative)
Cel. in U.S. 202-232-1999  FB, Twitter & Skype: aconteris
Cel. in Uruguay Oct 1-5: 011-598-9569-3384

September 23, 2013
Update on Andres Conteris on day 78 of solidarity hunger strike

On behalf of Andres Conteris, who has asked me to write updates throughout his hunger strike as fatigue takes over. 

Today is his 78th day on a water-only fast. He stands at a height of 6’2” and now weighs 153 lbs. If he continues losing 5 lbs a week, as he has been, he will be down to 144 lbs within 18 days. That means he will reach a critical body mass of 18%. His nurse has recommended a weight-gain program including long-term tube feeding.

He had previously scheduled a nasal tube feeding for Tuesday, September 24 in Oakland, however it has been postponed to Wednesday, September 25. He has four more tube feedings scheduled within the next month including locations in Latin America, and in DC during the senate hearing to stop force-feeding.

His voice was softer and more calm than usual. Maybe because it was 9AM from where he was at when he called. It’s a different pace from him yelling at me to get stories up quicker or not being able to contact certain people. He was also making more sense than usual.

He also mentioned that his glucose levels were something to worry about. If you would like to contact Andres, you can reach him at andres@closegitmo.net

Here’s an invitation to the Sept. 25 feeding. 

September 23, 2013
An old letter from Shaker Aamer to us. TAKE ACTION for Shaker Aamer and request a FULL parliamentary debate. Contact your MPs. Template provided here >http://www.saveshaker.org/write-to-your-mp-request-full-parliamentary-debate-for-shaker-aamer/464You can send the email to your MP via http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/ Please remember to click the confirmation link you will receive in your inbox afterwards. Or send a handwritten letter.
Shared from Shaker’s wife, Umm Johina Aamer

An old letter from Shaker Aamer to us. TAKE ACTION for Shaker Aamer and request a FULL parliamentary debate. Contact your MPs. Template provided here >http://www.saveshaker.org/write-to-your-mp-request-full-parliamentary-debate-for-shaker-aamer/464

You can send the email to your MP via http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/ Please remember to click the confirmation link you will receive in your inbox afterwards. Or send a handwritten letter.

Shared from Shaker’s wife, Umm Johina Aamer

September 13, 2013
Keeping Guantánamo on American minds

On Friday, September 6, 2013 dozens witnessed in front of the White House, a live force-feed of 52-year-old Andres Conteris on his 61st day of a water-only hunger strike. Thousands more would watch from home via live streamRT and Huffington Post. Conteris began a hunger strike on July 8, 2013 in solidarity with Guantánamo Bay and the California prison, Pelican Bay. Among the dozens of witnesses was a crowd of international press covering the event. American press was absent with the exception of Ryan J. Reilly, a justice reporter for The Huffington Post who earlier this spring, traveled to Guantánamo.
  
I had been working with Conteris on a new web site called CloseGitmo.net. In my first online conversation with Conteris on July 3rd, 2013, he tells me he’s going on a hunger strike. 
 
(11:12:42 PM) Andres Thomas Conteris: starting July 8
(11:12:49 PM) Andres Thomas Conteris: water-only
(11:13:36 PM) Andres Thomas Conteris: will go several months… and when i cant go any longer.. then the only way to surviive will be “enteral feeding”
(11:13:48 PM) Palina Prasasouk: whaat 
 
After this conversation, I had met Conteris twice and had no idea what I was in for when I agreed to help him or that the “enteral feeding" was to take place in front of the White House. 
 
The demonstration began with a vigil lead by Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Art Laffin. The Dorothy Day house has been holding vigils in front of the White House every Friday since 1998, with a focus on Guantánamo since the hunger strike began there six months ago. After the vigil concluded Medea Benjamin introduced speakers such as Colonel Morris Davis , former Chief Prosecutor of the Guantánamo military commissions. 
 
“It feels like endless agony. Any motion is painful, it feels like I’m drowning,” said Conteris under his breath during the force-feed. Similar words used by Samir Moqbel, a Guantanamo Bay hunger striker, in his Op-Ed to the NYTimes “Gitmo Is Killing Me 
 
There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before.
On July 8th, 2013, on the same day that Conteris and Pelican Bay started their hunger strikes, the human rights group Reprieve launched their campaign Stand for Justice by releasing a video of Mos Def being force-fed. Some viewers believed he was exaggerating since Mos Def is a well-known actor.

I would not be surprised if people start accusing Conteris of seeking fame. I saw fear in eyes, agony, and then he went to a place where we take ourselves when we are in tremendous pain. It’s where we sit still waiting for it to be over.

A day after the procedure Conteris tells me that he is ready to do it again. He did not feel any more strength and nutrition from the can ofEnsure that was pumped into his stomach. He stated that there was still some residue from the NG tube being in his throat. 

The very visceral reality of this torment makes it impossible to imagine that I would repeat this … and yet, I am tormented even more knowing that U.S. taxpayers are paying for this torture to happen.  The victims are already those who have lived the torture of indefinite detention and long-term solitary confinement, not to mention knowing that 84 of them are cleared to be released and they linger in limbo for years, yet another form of psychological abuse. 

And so I ask myself, how could I end the fast knowing now … in my blood and in my bones and in my breath … that they endure this acute and sadistic treatment not just daily … but twice-daily? 

A friend of his writes, “ I am concerned that your intention to continue fasting may not be the best one at this time.  May I suggest that you gather together a clearness committee to help you navigate forward rather than drift.” 

I too am extremely concerned for the future of his health, however headlines of the Guantánamo Bay hunger strike have diminished, and I fear the remaining 164 will be forgotten once again. In President Obama’s second promise to close the prison, nearly four months ago, he stated that he would appoint an envoy at the Pentagon to work with a counterpart at the state department on Guantánamo transfers. According to, Todd Breasseale, a Pentagon spokes person, “The department has nothing yet to announce on this issue.” 

On September 6th, 2013, the same day as the live force-feed, two Algerians, Nabil Hadjarab and Motai Sayyab were released from judicial interrogation and returned home on probation. This comes in time for the one year anniversary of the death of Adnan Latif, found unresponsive in his cell on September 8th, 2012.  As of September 13th, 2013, 19 detainees enter 218 days of hunger strike with 18 being force-fed. If the Obama administration continues releasing two detainees every six months, forty-one years would have passed and so will a majority of the detainees.

image

Left: Andres Conteris, August 8th, 2013 Right: September 6th, 2013 water-only fast 61 days, 52 lbs lost (25% of body mass)

September 6, 2013
The United States vs Diane Wilson trial day 1 summary

The United States vs Diane Wilson Unlawful entry of the White House grounds on June 26, 2013 taking place at aproximately 1PM

Trial began at 9:30AM. Judge states no shirts with messages allowed. Shirts are to be turned inside out. Wilson presenting case pro se with legal adviser, Mark Goldstone. Wilson to return to court room at 10:30AM

Jury selection

Questions asked to possible jury:

Any heard of the event

Any of you work in or around the White House

Do you recognize any of the names (names of witnesses read)

Are any of you or your family employed by law enforcement

Any of your family studying law

Judge Richter expects the trial to take place in two days. Expects Friday to end at 4:45

11:15 break

11:40AM Jury selection complete

Judge Richter

Evidence will be allowed as to why Diane did what she did.

12:25 The United States Opening statement

She went to where she knew she did not belong. The evidence will show Diane Wilson intended to enter.

Brief opening statement, less than two minutes. States Wilson placed drop cloth over fence.

Break for lunch until 2:00

United States presents first witness, Officer Kennedy.

Exhibit 1 introduced—surveillance video beginning with Wilson standing near fence, being lifted up to fence and falling over to other side of fence. In sight of video were also 3 secret service men and 2 officers. Unsure of number of K-9 dogs. Possibly two.

Officer Kennedy states he saw Wilson place tarp and was lifted on to the fence.

The United States presents exhibit 2—photo of fence and tarp. No actual evidence showing Diane placed tarp over the fence herself.

The United States presents exhibit 3—10 ft tarp

Defense questions officer Kennedy where he proceeded to state he did not see the “jumper” only heard the jumper was over the fence via walkie after 1PM. First saw Wilson on the other side of the fence.

The United States calls second witness to the stand— Officer technician Dusendschon, emergency team trained in SWAT tactics. 

States he was “relieved she was not advancing.” He asked her if she had any weapons. “She said, “no.” She looked out of it. She mentioned that she had been on a hunger strike.”’

Wilson questions Officer Dusendschon.

Is it true you did not see me until after I was over the fence? Did I make any aggressive moves?

Officer Dusendschon, “No.”

The United States rests

Wilson opening statements


States she was in a “daze.” and propelled over the fence accidentally. It was an “unintentional entry.” 

Defense presents witness 1—Tarak Kauff

Exhibit 1 submitted—photo of four people in orange jumpsuits in front of the fence.

Kauff describes photo. States that is him place the tarp on the fence. Intention was to get Wilson on top of the fence. The cloth was there to protect her from the spikes. He and Elliott Adams, who were both fasting assisted Wilson on top of the fence.

We were helping you so you could be up there to be visible. Not our intention for you to go over.

Exhibit 2 presented—orange jumpsuit worn by Wilson. One foot tear near middle of suit. Words “Shut down Gitmo” written on back.

Witness 2 called to stand—Art Laffin. He describes the day as a non-violent vigil. “We were there to call the President to an executive order signed by him and to put an end to indefinite detention.”

No questions to witnesses from the United States.

The defense rests

Jury left court room.

Judge Richter 

The factual issue is whether she intended to sit on the fence or to fall over. I can’t say if it’s proper to perch on the fence. Whether if it’s unlawful to sit, I certainly don’t know. 

The United States appears to be presenting a bare bones case where the legality needs to be decided.

Judge Richter

Certainly it’s not an unlawful entry if someone sticks a finger through the fence.


United States they will research and come back with an answer if as to if sitting on the fence is unlawful entry.

Judge states he can’t see how they would have a closing statement without understanding the law. Calls jury back into courtroom.

4:15 Jury dismissed

Judge Richter

I can see you were most certainly surprised by the defense.


Defense legal adviser, Mark Goldstone

The United States failed to define what was private and public property


Judge Richter

We need a definition that constitutes as a legal entrance The jury needs some direction.

Goldstone

There is no case law that staes that sitting on the fence is unlawful.

4:30


Court is to resume Friday, September 6, 2013 at 11AM for closing statements.

8:15am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZiteWyuIy8pb
  
Filed under: guantanamo closegitmo 
September 6, 2013
Media update/rally & force-feed @ White House

Today is day 212 of the Guantanamo hunger strike where 34 prisoners are still on hunger strike and 31 are being force-fed. According to a document obtained by Agency French Press the Obama adminstration, yesterday described the hunger strike as “claims now sterile” due to a “recent” events. I can not find any American press reporting this. According to the London Guantanamo Campaign, the only press received was in French newspaper and one Spanish blog. Article can be found here: http://www.lemonde.fr/ameriques/article/2013/09/05/alimentation-forcee-a-guantanamo-washington-demande-le-rejet-d-un-appel_3472151_3222.html
As the protest at Guantanamo have simply disappeared from headlines and sidelined again by the Obama administration, it is up to us to keep the plight of the men in Guantanamo Bay alive. 
 
Please join us in front of the White House @noon today for a vigil lead by Art Lafiin, a day after Andres’ 52nd birthday and 61st day of a solidarity hunger strike. If you are unable to attend please tune into http://closegitmo.net/livestream and share with friends and family. And please support Diane Wilson during her trial at the DC Superior Court rm. 321. Closing statements are to begin at 11AM. Vigil at 10AM

Speakers at the White House include:

- Lt. Col. Morris Davis (Ret.), Former Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo

- US Marine Corps Major Eric Montaivo, who defended one of Guantánamo’s youngest detainees

- Mubarak Awad, founder of Nonviolence International and Adjunct Professor at American University’s School of International Service

- Mesfin, from the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition

- Murphy Bey, Jr., former Pelican Bay inmate and victim of extended solitary confinement

 
For interactive streaming, you will need to make an account with Ustream or login with facebook: http://www.ustream.tv/user/witnesstorture
Twitter users please circulate this tweet:
Tune in 12pm EST for rally/live force-feeding @WhiteHouse on GitmoHungerStrike Day 212 http://www.closegitmo.net/livestream  #closegitmo

6:57am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZiteWyuIkgaG
  
Filed under: guantanamo