US releases Guantánamo prisoner after 14 years and no conviction


A man who goes by the single name of Obaidullah was never convicted of of a crime, yet remained in Guantánamo for 14 years, even after charges against him were dropped in 2011. From The Guardian:

US forces captured Obaidullah during a raid in Afghanistan in July 2002 when he was about 19. They found about 20 unactivated land mines buried in a field near his home. Authorities later concluded he was part of a bomb cell linked to al-Qaida, an allegation his lawyers have denied.

He was charged in the military tribunals in September 2008 with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, which appeals courts have said cannot be pursued as war crimes at Guantánamo for conduct that occurred before 2006. The government dismissed the charges in 2011 and his lawyers have been pressing for his release ever since.

Of the 80 remaining prisoners being held at Guantánamo, 28 are cleared for release. Read the rest

CIA black-site torture survivors sue shrinks who made $85M overseeing CIA torture program


James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen are psychologists who took in almost $85 million in CIA contracts to design and oversee torture programs used on CIA prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and around the world. The contracts ran from from 2001 to 2010. The ACLU is representing Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Gul Rahman, three of the prisoners who were tortured at CIA black sites. Rahman was murdered by his torturers and the ACLU is representing his estate. Read the rest

Why today's court decision ordering release of Guantanamo force-feeding videos matters

“Why is this so important? Because, as the saying goes, if the slaughterhouses of the world were made of glass, we'd all be vegetarians.”

Doctors were compelled by US military and CIA to harm detainees, report says

A guard walks through a cellblock inside Camp V, a prison used to house detainees at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, March 5, 2013. Photo: Reuters.

Post-9/11 detainee interrogration policies of the US Defense Department and CIA forced medical professionals to abandon the ethical obligation to "do no harm" to the humans in their care, and engage in prohibited practices such as force-feeding of hunger strikers, according to a report out this week. "Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror" [PDF Link] was produced by 19-member task force of Columbia University's Institute on Medicine as a Profession and the Open Society Foundations. The LA Times has a summary here. Read the rest

Yasiin Bey, formerly actor/rapper Mos Def, is force-fed Guantanamo style to illustrate cruel procedure

[Video Link]. The rap artist and actor formerly known as Mos Def agreed to participate in a video demonstrating and explaining the procedure of force-feeding as it is applied to Guantanamo detainees. The video for Human Rights organization Reprieve is directed by BAFTA award-winner Asif Kapadia, a British filmmaker of Indian descent.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins this week, and over 100 hunger-strikers at Guantánamo Bay are continuing to hunger strike in protest of their indefinite detention without trial. More than 40 of them are now being force-fed. Read the rest

Morning prayers at Guantanamo's Camp 5, where hunger strikers are held

At Freedom of the Press Foundation, Jason Leopold writes about this video he shot at the section of Guantánamo where the hunger strikers are being held. What you hear around 3 minutes in is the a Muslim call to prayer being led by the leader of the hunger striking detainees, from inside his cell. Read the rest

Seven steps to learning to love US torture and detention policies, via "Zero Dark Thirty"

A waterboarding scene from the film "Zero Dark Thirty."

Karen J. Greenberg, executive director of the New York University Center on Law and Security and author of The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo's First One Hundred Days, explains seven simple steps to making US torture and detention policies once again acceptable to the American public, as illustrated in "Zero Dark Thirty." Read the rest

At Gitmo, ‘Fresh Prince’ replaces Harry Potter as entertainment most requested by detainees

President Obama isn't closing Guantánamo any time soon, but prisoners will be well-taken-care-of in the entertainment department, according to this Miami Herald article: they have an endless supply of of Will Smith’s 1990s TV comedy, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, with which to while away the years. The sitcom has become a "popular way to pass time among the 168 captives now in their second decade of U.S. detention." Guards say it now eclipses the Harry Potter books as most-requested entertainment. (via @kgosztola) Read the rest