Tag Archives: Guantanamo Bay

Declassified Docs Show CIA Used Prisoner as a Torture Training Prop

“Twenty years later, none of the those responsible for the CIA’s heinous regime of torture were ever prosecuted,” lamented Rep. Ilhan Omar. “Instead they got promotions.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 3-16-2022 by Common Dreams

Guantánamo prisoner and alleged 9/11 co-plotter Ammar al-Baluchi was used as a torture training prop at a CIA “black site” in Afghanistan, documents declassified in March 2022 affirmed. (Photo: International Committee of the Red Cross)

A prisoner at a Central Intelligence Agency “black site” in Afghanistan was used as a training prop to teach U.S. operatives how to torture other prisoners, leaving him with serious brain damage and other ailments, newly declassified documents published this week affirmed.

Ammar al-Baluchi, a 44-year-old Kuwaiti national, is currently imprisoned at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he is one of five men awaiting trial by military commission for alleged involvement in plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The case, which has been delayed due to disputes over the admissibility of defendant testimony extracted through torture, has been in pre-trial hearings for more than a decade. Continue reading

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‘Disgraceful’: Supreme Court Sides With Hiding CIA Torture

“Basically, the Supreme Court has allowed the CIA to decide what can be said in court about the torture of prisoners in CIA black sites.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 3-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Demonstrators hold a sign that says “Torture Is Wrong” at a rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007. (Photo: takomabibelot/flickr/cc)

Human rights advocates on Thursday sharply condemned the Supreme Court’s decision that the U.S. government can block the testimony of two former Central Intelligence Agency contractors for a Polish criminal investigation into the torture of a Guantánamo Bay detainee.

“Basically, the Supreme Court has allowed the CIA to decide what can be said in court about the torture of prisoners in CIA black sites,” tweeted Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. “It’s really a disgraceful abdication of responsibility.” Continue reading

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‘Anti-Democratic and Cowardly’: US Building New Secret Courtroom at Guantánamo

“The entire enterprise,” said one critic of the tribunal process, “makes a mockery out of what the U.S. pretends to stand for.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-30-2021 by Common Dreams

Witness Against Torture demonstrates for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay offshore prison. (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

Human rights advocates and attorneys representing Guantánamo Bay detainees on Thursday decried a secret new courtroom reportedly being built by the Pentagon at the notorious offshore U.S. prison.

The New York Times reports Gitmo’s new second courtroom—which will cost $4 million—will not allow members of the public to witness proceedings against detainees to be tried for alleged terrorism-related offenses. People wishing to view those trials will have the option of watching delayed video footage in a separate building. Continue reading

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‘This Cannot Happen’: Biden DHS Seeks Contractor for Migrant Detention Center at Guantánamo Bay

The solicitation for bids—which requires some guards who speak Spanish and Haitian Creole—comes as the administration is under fire for mass deportations of migrants, including thousands of Haitians

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-22-2021

Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“This is an embarrassingly bad decision. Do better.”

That’s how U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) responded Wednesday to reporting that the Biden administration, already under fire this week for its immigration policies, “is seeking a private contractor to operate a migrant detention facility at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with a requirement that some of the guards speak Spanish and Haitian Creole.”

Though the White House, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not respond to requests for comment, the revelation from NBC News‘ Jacob Soboroff and Ken Dilanian sparked widespread condemnation. Continue reading

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‘End… This Human Rights Atrocity,’ Says Amnesty After Biden Admin Signals Goal to Close Gitmo

Asked whether the president will shutter the prison, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “That certainly is our goal and our intention.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-12-2021

Witness Against Torture demonstrates for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay offshore prison. (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

Human rights advocates on Friday welcomed reporting, confirmed by the White House, that President Joe Biden intends to close the Guantánamo Bay offshore military prison, which has long drawn global condemnation for torture and detention conditions.

“We are pleased to hear that the Biden administration wants to review the U.S. policy of almost 20 years of indefinite detention without charge of Muslim men at an offshore prison,” said Daphne Eviatar, director of the Security With Human Rights Program at Amnesty International USA, in a statement. Continue reading

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From Police Violence at Home to Killing Civilians in Unending Wars Abroad, US Faces Human Rights Reckoning at UN

An ACLU leader urged the incoming administration to “take bold actions on day one to reverse President Trump’s harmful policies.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-9-2020

The United States on Monday faced criticism over its human rights record from allies and adversaries alike at the United Nations as the country submitted to its first Universal Periodic Review of the Trump administration.

All 193 U.N. member states must undergo UPRs, which are held at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC)—from which the U.S. withdrew in 2018 over alleged anti-Israel bias—in Geneva, Switzerland every five years. Continue reading

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Like Military at Gitmo, ICE Reportedly Using Nasal Tubes to Force Feed Migrant Prisoners on Hunger Strike

“By starving themselves, these men are trying to make public the very suffering that ICE is trying to keep hidden from taxpayers.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-31-2019

According to the Associated Press, the detained migrants said they began refusing food to “protest verbal abuse and threats of deportation from guards.” Photo: It’s Going Down

Employing what one critic described as “Guantanamo Bay style” abuse, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are reportedly using plastic nasal tubes to force-feed at least six detained migrants who have been on a prolonged hunger strike to protest conditions at an El Paso, Texas prison.

As the Associated Press reported on Thursday, detained migrants and an attorney representing the hunger strikers said “nearly 30 detainees from India and Cuba have been refusing to eat, and some are now so weak they cannot stand up or talk.” Continue reading

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Held 14 Years Without Charge, CIA Torture ‘Guinea Pig’ Abu Zubaydah Asks for Freedom

Zubaydah was the CIA’s first captive after 9/11 and was accused of being one of the highest ranking leaders of al Qaeda, though that claim has been officially recanted

By Lauren McCauley, staff-writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-23-16

Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

After 14 years of being held without charge, Guantánamo prisoner Abu Zubaydah, who was subject to brutal torture and is known as the “guinea pig” for the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) “enhanced interrogation program,” made his first appearance on Tuesday before the Periodic Review Board and requested to be set free.

In a statement (pdf) read by his personal representative, he explained how he “initially believe that he did not have any chance or hope to be released” but has “come to believe that he might have a chance to leave Guantánamo.” Continue reading

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Guantánamo Prisoner, Never Convicted, To Be Released After Decade-Plus Detention

‘This young man should have been released years ago’

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-21-2016

Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

An Afghan man detained for 14 years in Guantánamo—without ever being convicted of a crime—was on Friday recommended by the Pentagon for release.

The man, known as Obaidullah, was arrested and detained in 2002, when he was about 19, but the U.S. government failed to successfully prosecute him for any crimes, AP reported. Charges were eventually made against him in 2008, but were dismissed in 2011.

“This young man should have been released years ago,” Marine Maj. Derek Poteet, who has represented him since 2010, told the Miami Herald. “He was taken from his bed at his home peacefully without resistance. He was subjected to real abuse at Bagram.” Continue reading

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No Excuse, Says Human Rights Lawyer, Obama Can Still Close Guantánamo

President undermined his own plan to shutter the notorious facility by agreeing to the “defense” bill

By Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-11-2015

512px-Camp_Delta,_Guantanamo_Bay,_Cuba

After President Barack Obama agreed on Tuesday to sign a $607 billion “defense” bill that undermines his own plan to shutter the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, media outlets sounded the death knell for hopes that the facility will close before his term ends in 2017.

But Omar Shakir, a Bertha fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, told Common Dreams that the president, in fact, still retains the ability to close the prison—and must act now to fulfill his repeated pledges. Continue reading

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