On Monday, the United States transferred the three remaining Uighur detainees at Guantanamo Bay to Slovakia. The transfer comes five years after a judge ordered that the three men be released and 10 years after the military determined the Uighurs were "not affiliated with Al Qaeda or a Taliban leader."
According to The Miami Herald, the Pentagon has been allowing the International Committee of the Red Cross to take pictures of Guantanamo Bay detainees for their families since 2009. Citing Geneva Conventions, the defense department has refused to release identifying photos of those detained but the Herald contacted family members and attorneys to compile this collection of identifiable—and humanized—portraits of prisoners.
In order to draw attention to the brutal treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, Yasiin Bey—the rapper and actor formerly known as Mos Def—voluntarily underwent Gitmo's standard (and incredibly painful) procedure for force-feeding detainees on hunger strike via nasogastric tubes. Warning: The video above is graphic and disturbing.
It's 2013 and Guantanamo Bay is still open, insanely. Newly released Army documents obtained by Gawker shed light on life inside America's most infamous prison, where classified documents are burned in coffee cans, American guards are converted to Islam by the suspected terrorists they watch over, and wily detainees wage their own counterintelligence campaigns.
If you have a keen memory, you may recall that U.S. president and Hellfire missile proponent Barack Obama once promised to close down our prison at Guantanamo Bay, where hope and civil rights go to die. That never happened, of course. But now, Obama has a golden opportunity to shut that motherfucker down.
Everything old is new again when it comes to the president's Gitmo plans. With dozens of peopled deemed "medical reinforcements" flooding into Guantánamo Bay prison to try and sustain the 100 inmates currently on hunger strike, President Obama today brought back his old campaign promise to close Gitmo.
There's a first-time op-ed writer on today's New York Times Opinion Pages. His name is Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, and this is his first published op-ed because he's a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, and can only "write" by dictating to his lawyers, through a translator, over the phone. "I've been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months," he writes. "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." Moqbel, like many of his fellow detainees—between 40 and 60, depending on who's counting—is undertaking a hunger strike to protest his detention; in the editorial, he describes his twice-daily force-feedings: "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." This weekend, after the Red Cross had left and during a media blackout, prisoners and military guards clashed as the authorities attempted to end the protest by moving prisoners from the communal blocks into individual cells—a step back toward the Bush administration's maximum security-style detention policies. The protests were sparked by what prisoners described as mistreatment of their Qurans during searches, but Moqbel writes that its aims are broad: "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." [NYT | Miami Herald]
Before he became president, Barack Obama promised he was going to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center before his first term was out. "I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that," Obama told ABC News in November 2008, shortly after winning the election. Almost four years later, Guantanamo remains open, and now another one of its prisoners has died.
On tonight's Daily Show, Jon Stewart turned to a source deep inside Guantanamo Bay prison to help explain what's happening down there and why it's, you know, still open. Yes, that's right, the show welcomed back Gitmo and all of his usual insights.
If you're a lawyer for one of the 170 or so remaining detainees at Guantanamo Bay, you're probably happy that Wikileaks has finally dropped the classified case files for each defendant showing just how spurious, thin, and ludicrous much of the evidence against them is. That sort of information could come in handy for a trial or tribunal. Too bad it's classified, and therefore, according to the Justice Department, can't be used in court unless we say so nanny-nanny-boo-boo.
Among the cache of documents allegedly leaked to Wikileaks by PFC Bradley Manning was over 700 dossiers on detainees at Guantanamo Bay Prison. A slew of international papers published stories based on them today, and Wikileaks is dribbling out the full cache. They paint a picture of Gitmo as a poop-strewn debacle stuffed with crazy people, a journalist, random Afghan civilians—even some dangerous terrorists.
The Obama Administration will announce this afternoon what's been expected for about a year now: Self-described 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed won't be tried in a New York civilian court as originally planned and instead will go before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay. That's an unusual way to follow up the PR blitz surrounding your campaign launch, isn't it? By caving? No! Shut up! Fewer questions, more donations!