NYT op-ed by Gitmo detainee on hunger strike

"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."—Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, tells his story through an Arabic interpreter to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call. It was published Sunday in the New York Times as an op-ed.

In related news, the commander of the joint US task force at Guantanamo this weekend ordered all detainees to be put in solitary confinement. "The ongoing detainee hunger strike necessitated these medical assessments," and actions were taken by the command "in response to efforts by detainees to limit the guard force's ability to observe the detainees by covering surveillance cameras, windows, and glass partitions."

And lawyers for Guantanamo detainees say someone has been accessing their email: the Pentagon.

(Illustration: Matt Rota, for Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel's account in the New York Times)


  1. They won’t restore his dignity, as they have no dignity themselves to restore it with. 

  2. Sadly, only when the next Republican President is in office will you find enough people being outraged about this.

    1. Nope.  The Republicans put the prisoners there and made it illegal to give them fair trials in the US, but if they get elected when Obama gets termed out, neither party’s still going to be willing to take responsibility for their human rights violations.  The GOP’s not going to blame Obama because they’d be stuck fixing it, and the Democrats who’ve let Obama continue the Bush abuses aren’t going to suddenly start blaming the next Republican for continuing them because the GOP would dump that onto Obama.  Only way it’ll get fixed is if Obama gets replaced by a Democrat with courage and honesty and a House majority, or (even less likely) by a Republican who’s not under the thumb of Rove, Norquist, or either the corporatists or the right wingers.

      If your Congress member or Senator is a Democrat, she* or he is responsible for fixing this now, and you should pressure them to do the right thing.  If you’ve got a Republican, they’re also responsible, but you’ll have a tough time getting them to break ranks, even if they can blame Obama.

      (*I’m not just saying “she” to be politically correct – here in Silicon Valley, Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo are in Congress and Boxer and Feinstein are the Senators.  And I don’t expect Feinstein either to be on the correct side of an issue or have the moral courage to do something about it, at least more than every other year or so; Boxer’s a reasonable person who I usually disagree with.)

      1. The president doesn’t need a house majority to free the prisoners who have been cleared already (about half the Yemeni prisoners at Gitmo).  He or she just needs courage and honesty.

  3. I’m just waiting for the inevitable troll to post, asking “why do you hate America?”

    (On second thoughts, the preceding sentence is so self-referential it makes my head hurt just thinking about it.)

    Yes, this is outrageous. It’s even worse when you consider that the men left inside Gitmo without charges at this point are almost certainly innocent — otherwise they’d long since have been indicted! They’re stuck in limbo, sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, precisely because there’s no case to answer.

    1. Some of them are in limbo because they’ve been tortured, and either their cases are based on illegally gained evidence or none at all, but either way it would be impossible to try them without the torture becoming part of the case.

  4. “Less-than-lethal rounds”? Really, DoD, even YOU can’t be fooled by that kind of Newspeak.

  5. Shouldn’t there be international war crimes trials against both the previous and current US administrations?

    (Instead of, say, a Nobel Peace Prize. Damn, if a prize ever needed to be resciended, now is the time.)

    1. It’s also important to remember that in this matter, and making things much messier, Fox is on the side of the Obama administration.  

      (EDIT) Not that you need the reminder, Rob, but I think people usually see Fox and the Obama administration as enemies, whereas, on many issues, they are staunch allies.

    2. Although their attitude has been bombarding the mainstream for fifteen years due to unlimited economic resources, truly contaminating political discourse, make no mistake about it:  Murdoch Inc is a lunatic fringe.

    3. Although their attitude has been bombarding the mainstream for fifteen years due to unlimited economic resources, truly contaminating political discourse, make no mistake about it:  Murdoch Inc is a lunatic fringe.

  6. Maybe Americans need to be marched through the prison like the Allies did to German civilians in towns next to the death camps after the war.  They refused to accept the reality of it until they personally saw (and smelled) it.

    1.  Starting with Bush and Obama and their cohorts but the silence of the average citizen is the same as compliance.  Gitmo is a crime against humanity.

      1. Criminally mistreating prisoners who are going on hunger strikes to protest criminal mistreatment does seem to meet the technical definition of a crime against humanity.

        Or would, if the people in charged were willing to admit that the prisoners were, in fact, human.

  7. The irony is very bitter – I will dehumanize those who are accused of dehumanizing me.
    Like Brazilian president João Figueredo, who said – “I intend to open the country up to democracy, and anyone who is against me I will jail, I will crush”.

    A profound ignorance not specifically of knowledge, but of awareness.  Systemic willful ignorance, what Colbert mocked when he said – “That’s where the truth lies, right down here in the gut”.

    Even if it is proven this individual dehumanized me by putting a
    target on my head as a filthy infidel, aren’t I supposed to use justice instead of revenge?

    Finally, I was under the impression that LA-style gang counseling was pointed out as the optimal way of dealing with this mess. True story, some “terrorists” were “turned” by being offered cookies during the interrogation process. So why did that not happen?  Because dehumanized brutes in power and wrapped in the vague and sinister term “homeland security” fucked it up, from the goddamned gut.

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