Letter to the UAE Ambassador protesting secret prisons and torture in Yemen

Uncategorized // Film

Witness Against Torture
Washington, D.C.
www.witnessagainsttorture.com
general information: Matt Daloisio daloisio@riseup.net

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
Attn: His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador
Washington, D.C.

January 9, 2018

Your Excellency,

We write with great concern about reports of UAE officials maintaining clandestine prisons in Yemen. The June 22nd AP report which so deeply troubles us described gruesome tortures happening inside the secret prisons.

We want to write a word about ourselves. We are a group of people who have campaigned since 2005 to close Guantanamo and end forever any use of torture. Our group is called Witness Against Torture. We feel particularly responsible to confront the U.S. government’s involvement in torture. It’s alleged that U.S. interrogators have been present in Yemen and, while not inside the chambers where people have been
tortured, U.S. officials have possibly interrogated people who have been subjected to torture.

Within Yemen, stories about torture and disappearance of prisoners must have an extremely chilling effect on any individuals or groups who would attempt to demonstrate on behalf of their loved ones who have disappeared and who fear that their loved ones have been tortured.

Recognizing that it would be quite difficult for Yemeni people to reach your Embassy here in the U.S., we are assembling here today to raise questions: How specifically does the government of the United Arab Emirates respond to each of the allegations made in the June 22nd, 2017 AP report? What information can you offer regarding the presence of U.S. interrogators who acknowledge having been in Yemen? How has the government of the United Arab Emirates responded to the estimated 2000 people in Yemen who have claimed that their loved ones have disappeared?

Recognizing that the UN regards the humanitarian crisis in Yemen as the worst in the world, as people face conflict-driven famine and disease, we feel increasing urgency to alleviate the suffering people face and help abolish any networks of clandestine prisons and any usage of torture by any of the warring parties.

Sincerely,
Members of Witness Against Torture fasting in Washington, D.C.

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16 years of Guantanamo and a year of Trump: The work for justice continues

Fast for Justice 2018 // Film

 

Close Guantanamo, Stop Torture:
Seeking Justice and Resisting Islamophobia in the Age of Trump

We invite you to join us in community in Washington, DC,  January 7 – 14, for Witness Against Torture’s 2018 Fast for Justice.  Please let us know you’re coming– for the week or any part of it– by sending an email to witnesstorture@gmail.com.

We will gather for a week of events marking a tragic and ongoing history:  After 16 years, the US detention camp at Guantanamo remains a living symbol of US torture and human rights abuses and a place of misery for the 41 Muslim men it still houses. Five of the men have been long cleared for release and yet still languish there.  The Trump administration is holding 26 of the detainees for indefinite detention without charge or trial. The Pentagon has plans to try only a small handful of the prisoners.

It is easy to lose hope in these troubling times.  Yet we know that hope resides not in calculating future probabilities, but in bearing witness to injustice in this present moment.  It resides in lifting up human dignity. It resides in imploring our fellow citizens not to turn their eyes away.  And so, once again, we gather.

Highlights of WAT’s 2018 Fast for Justice

Here is a preliminary skeleton structure for the week (Jan. 7 – 14):

Sunday evening: arrive anytime after 3; settle in and gather for evening circle
Monday:  share the morning meal and begin the fast; opening circle; begin planning the week’s actions
Tuesday:  morning circle; plan and carry out actions; evening event (Mark Fallon talk: see below)
Wednesday:  morning circle; plan and carry out actions; evening event (Book launch and Peace Poets: see below)
Thursday:  11:30 am White House rally with coalition partners; action; possible evening vigil
Friday:  morning circle; afternoon No Foreign Military Bases demonstration in Baltimore; possible evening circle
Saturday:  all-day retreat to examine our capacity and how to move forward; evening meal to break the fast together and celebrate our community
Sunday morning:  breakfast, circle and closing ceremony; depart.

January 9 – Mark Fallon Event

Author Mark Fallon presents Unjustifiable Means: The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon, and US Government Conspired to Torture, at Kramerbooks at 1517 Conn. Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.  6:30 pm.

Mark Fallon is a former intelligence officer and investigator at the heart of America’s “war on terror.”  Karen Greenberg, Director of the Center on National Security, calls his book “Essential reading for those who wish to understand this dark period in American history.”

January 10 –  Book Launch, Performance, and Speakers

There is a Man Under that Hood: Closing Guantánamo and Stopping Torture in the Age of Trump

The Impact Hub
419 7th St. NW, Washington, DC
Jan. 10, 6-8 pm

Please join Witness Against Torture, the Peace Poets and friends for a book launch and performance on the eve of our annual January 11 demonstrations against Guantanamo.

The book, There is a Man Under that Hood, collects highlights from eight years of anti-torture photography curated by Justin Norman, and pairs them with Luke Nephew’s powerful poem by the same name. The contents are book-ended by a foreword from WAT’s Jeremy Varon and an afterword from Omar Farah, Senior Staff Attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The Peace Poets will perform pieces from current human rights struggles. UK author Andy Worthington will address the state of Guantanamo in the era of Trump. And legal advocates will report on the fate of their clients still in the prison. Together we will celebrate our resistance to torture and work to close Guantanamo.

New book from Witness Against Torture on Guantanamo activism

The 72-page book is available for pre-order in hardcover for $25. Release is set for January 10th, 2018. The proceeds will be used to further the human rights work of the creators.

January 11 – Rally Marking 16 years of Guantanamo

Please join human rights activists, torture survivors, Guantanamo attorneys, 9-11 family members, ex-military officials, and members of diverse faith communities in Washington, D.C. on January 11, 2018 as we rally against Guantanamo, indefinite detention, and Islamophobia and call for the immediate transfer of the cleared detainees. The rally at the White House will begin at 11:30 am.

Muslim Ban

Just days after Donald Trump retweeted anti-Muslim propaganda, the Supreme Court decided to implement Muslim Ban 3.0 while the lower courts adjudicate the ban’s constitutionality, by kicking the case back to the 4th and 9th Circuit courts.  However, they have allowed the racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Muslim ban to go into effect in the meantime. See this op-ed from the ACLU.

In response, the Justice for Muslims Collective organized an emergency rally at the Supreme Court on December 7th. Co-directors Maha Hilal and Darakshan Raja MC’d the event that highlighted the voices of inspiring Muslim women speaking truth to power:

Here’s a link to the livestream video of the rally.

North Carolina Torture Accountability Hearings

On November 30 and December 1, several hundred people gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina for an extraordinary event: the public hearings of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture.  Over two days, eight commissioners heard riveting and often heart rending testimony about the global rendition and torture program undertaken by the United States following the 9/11 attacks.  The witnesses included the world’s leading rendition researcher; military, ex-military, and ex-intelligence officers outspoken against torture; legal experts on human rights; psychologists who treat torture victims; and, via Skype, survivors of US torture. The Commission grew out of local, North Carolina efforts to protest Aero Contractors — a private airline company contracted by the CIA to carry out likely hundreds of rendition flights ferrying US captive to torture by the CIA or foreign governments.  The commissioners will author a report based on the hearings.

The NCCIT hearings were a landmark event.  The Bush administration sought to define out of existence, conceal, and immunize grave crimes. The Obama administration chose not to prosecute potential perpetrators of torture operating under legal directives from Bush’s DoJ.  Several lawsuits targeting torture policies have been dismissed from federal and international courts for reasons of executive privilege, state’s secrets provisions, and pressure from the US government. It has therefore been up to civil society actors like the NCCIT to provide at least symbolic forms of accountability for years of US torture.  The hearings further educated the public about US conduct, solidified the legal case that torture occurred, and may help to deter future uses of torture by fortifying a public narrative that it happened and that it was wrong.  The hearings also brought victims of torture into a judicial-style inquiry, simulating forms of due process that has been denied them.

For more on the hearings, including links to media and video archive of them, go to the NCCIT website.

We Must Resist: Join WAT in DC in January!

For 13 years Witness Against Torture has championed the cause of the Muslim men unjustly imprisoned at Guantanamo, also using our witness to shine a light on other U.S. institutions of racist, Islamophobic state violence.

Now, as our outrageous Narcissist-In-Chief distracts the world, those very institutions are quietly cementing into place and strengthening the security state that is stripping entire groups of people of due process rights and protection under the law.

We must resist: come to DC in January to witness in community with us and to engage the future together!

Donate to support our work

Please consider a donation to help fund our annual Fast for Justice this January.  We are completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff; all of the money you donate goes to funding the work we do together. We are fiscally sponsored by the Washington Peace Center. The Washington Peace Center is a verified US-registered non profit. If you are able, click here to donate.

 

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There is a Man Under that Hood: Book launch, performance and more news

Fast for Justice 2018 // Film

There is a Man Under that Hood: Closing Guantanamo and Ending Torture in the Age of Trump

January 10, 2017 – The Impact Hub
419 7th St. NW, Washington, DC
6-8 pm

Please join Witness Against Torture, the Peace Poets and friends for a book launch and performance on the eve of our annual January 11 demonstrations against Guantanamo. The book — “There is a Man Under that Hood” —  sets the words of Luke Nephew’s (Peace Poets) remarkable poem of that title to images of anti-torture demonstrations: photographs taken or curated by Justin Norman (WAT).  The afterword is written by Omar Farah, Senior Staff Attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The Peace Poets will perform pieces from current human rights struggles. UK author Andy Worthington will address the state of Guantanamo in the era of Trump. And legal advocates will report on the fate of their clients still in the prison. Together, we will celebrate our resistance to torture and work to close Guantanamo.

January 2018 Fast for Justice

The January 10 event is on Day 3 of the WAT Fast for Justice, January  7 – 14.   We invite you to join us in community in DC — for the week or any part of it.  Please let us know you’re coming by sending an email to witnesstorture@gmail.com.

Here is a skeleton structure for the week:  Sun evening: arrive; Mon: share morning meal and begin fast, planning and week’s activities; Wed evening:  Book launch and Peace Poet performance; Thu: Guantanamo rally and action; Fri afternoon: possibly join No Foreign Military Bases rally; Fri/Sat: strategic planning; Sun morning: final circle and depart.

North Carolina Torture Accountability Hearings: Nov. 30 and Dec. 1

You are invited to attend public hearings on the U.S. torture program and North Carolina’s involvement, to be held in Raleigh, NC on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.  The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on  Torture  (NCCIT) is conducting the nation’s first state-level, non-partisan, blue-ribbon examination of the record of U.S. torture, in particular of the role played by North Carolina in the Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program.  That role involves hosting CIA aviation infrastructure that accounted for the renditions of fully 30% of the black-site prisoners listed in the Senate torture report.

The list of witnesses for the two days includes Alberto Mora, Juan Mendez, Mohamedou Slahi, Lt. Col. Sterling Thomas, Steve Kleinman, and Mark Fallon.  Fallon has written a controversial new book on torture, “Unjustifiable Means.”  NCCIT is a nonprofit organization established to investigate and encourage public debate about the role that North Carolina played in facilitating the U.S. torture program carried out between 2001 – 2009.

Guantanamo authorities no longer force-feeding hunger strikers

According to the anti-torture organization Reprieve, medical staff at Guantanamo are no longer force-feeding hunger striking prisoners.  Will the U.S. government allow prisoners to suffer organ failure or even death?  WAT organizer Dr. Maha Hilal in her recent article for Newsweek, poses the prisoners’ dilemma in  this way:

“But of course, what the prisoners are ultimately asking for is justice, not force feeding — something that seems to be increasingly out of reach under the Trump administration.”

Maha goes on to describe the nature of the prisoners’ act of resistance:

“Muslim prisoners who have constantly been vilified in the War on Terror are using this last, dangerous form of resistance — despite the personal harm it’s causing them — to re-claim ownership over their bodies in a system that has denied them all other levels of agency.”

Ever since WAT formed in 2005, traveling to Cuba to attempt to visit hunger-striking Guantanamo prisoners, fasting in solidarity with them at the prison gates, we have denounced force-feeding as an act of torture.  We call upon U.S. authorities to listen to the hunger strikers’ desperate pleas: Try the prisoners or release them.  End indefinite detention and torture.  Close Guantanamo.

The military commissions at Guantanamo have reached a “new low”

Andy Worthington details the latest absurdities in the war court at Gitmo.  A New Low for Guantánamo’s Credibility: The Brief But Absurd Imprisonment of the Military Commissions’ Chief Defense Counsel

Julia E. Rodriguez, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, writes in the New York Times that the military commissions have “yielded nothing” for Sept. 11th families.  Guantánamo Is Delaying Justice for 9/11 Families

And lest we forget, the military base where the commissions are taking place is itself illegal, as WAT member Martin Gugino points out in his recent letter to the editor: The U.S. has breached Guantanamo agreement

We Must Resist: Come to DC in January!

For 13 years Witness Against Torture has championed the cause of the Muslim men unjustly imprisoned by the our government at Guantanamo, using the prison to shine a light on the other U.S. institutions of racist, Islamophobic state violence.   But now, as our outrageous Narcissist-In-Chief distracts the world, those very institutions are quietly cementing into place and strengthening the security state that deprives entire groups of people of due process and protection under the law.   We must resist: come to DC in January to witness in community and to build bridges with our allies as we engage the future!

Donate to support our work

Please consider a donation to help fund our annual Fast for Justice this January.  We are completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff; all of the money you donate goes to funding the work we do together. We are fiscally sponsored by the Washington Peace Center. The Washington Peace Center is a verified US-registered non profit. If you are able, click here to donate.

Witness Against Torture formed in 2005 when 25 Americans went to Guantánamo Bay and attempted to visit the detention facility. They began to organize more broadly to shut down Guantánamo, end indefinite detention and torture and call out Islamophobia. During our demonstrations, we lift up the words of the detainees themselves, bringing them to public spaces they are not permitted to access. Witness Against Torture will carry on in its activities until torture is decisively ended, its victims are fully acknowledged,Guantánamo and similar facilities are closed, and those who ordered and committed torture are held to account.

Please “like” us on Facebook & follow us on Twitter.

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Join us in DC this January

Fast for Justice 2017 // Film

Please note:  RSVP is required – email us: witnesstorture@gmail.com

Fast for Justice Schedule

Jan. 11 Rally info

WE FAST BECAUSE YOU HUNGER STRIKE. WE STRUGGLE UNTIL YOU LIVE FREE

We come together not only to call for the closure of Guantanamo and its legacy of institutionalizing Islamophobia, but also to invite our government and fellow citizens to choose the side of love, mercy and justice.

We demand an end to policies that maintain racism, mass incarceration, and fear of our neighbors. We come together to envision the world we want to live in where justice and equality reign.

We hope you will join us for a week of actions and fasting from January 3-12, 2017 in Washington, DC and our presence at the presidential inauguration January 19-21.

We will start fasting from the evening of Jan. 3rd and break our fast on January 11 in the morning. If you cannot make it to DC, but are considering fasting during this time – let us know. We will organize a conference call for everyone fasting across the country and we want to include you.

If you can only come for one day, join us for the rally with our coalition partners on January 11th.  Location is TBD. We will also engage in creative actions around DC between Jan. 4-12 – contact us if you are interested in participating.

Jan 10 we will host a cultural event in collaboration with the Tea Project – more details coming soon.

We also invite you to join us from afar, to participate in our solidarity actions and to organize actions in your own communities to raise awareness of torture and indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay.

January 8 – Workshop on tear gas use in prisons with War Resisters League – https://www.facebook.com/events/226640994413157/

January 9 Action with War Resister League : https://www.facebook.com/events/210198856106456/

You can join us for our annual rally on January 11 at noon at the Ellipse. More information here : https://www.facebook.com/events/1818873991715572/

Jan 10 we will host a cultural event in collaboration with the Tea Project – Space is limited so please RSVP here : https://ccrjustice.org/wordsfromthegrassroots#.

For more info and to RSVP, email us: witnesstorture@gmail.com.

The latest updates are on our Facebook event page.

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Forced-Feeding is Torture! No Secret Courts!

News // Film


Forced-Feeding is Torture! No Secret Courts!

Emergency Call to Action and Solidarity Fast – Witness Against Torture
Gather at the US Federal District Court (333 Constitution Ave) on Oct. 6 and 7
8:30 am. 333 Constitution Ave, Washington, D.C.

On Monday October 6 a trial will begin in which attorneys for Wa-ei Dhiab will seek a stop to the brutal forced-feeding of men at Guantánamo protesting their indefinite detention and abuse at the prison. Witness Against Torture is calling for a public presence at the courthouse to demand an end to forced-feeding and the closing of Guantánamo.

Dhiab is a Syrian man held without charge or trial at Guantánamo since 2002 and cleared for release in 2009 by the US government. He has, according to his attorneys, been forcibly extracted from his cell and force-fed as many as three times a day since the start of the most recent Guantanamo hunger strike in the winter/spring 2012.

Dhiab’s lawsuit seeks an end to forced-feeding. Justice Gladys Kessler, who is hearing the case, has described forced-feeding at the prison as “painful, humiliating, and degrading.” The lawsuit is our best chance to have the courts do what President Obama has been unwilling to do — end forced-feeding.

dhiabInvite


Pack the Court – No Secret Trials

Dhiab’s attorneys will present as evidence videotapes showing Dhaib being violently extracted from his cell and/or force-fed. The government has petitioned that the trial be held entirely in secret so that the press and public may not see or otherwise learn about the gruesome reality of forced-feeding. Judge Kessler has denied the request, describing the government’s request of a secret trial as “deeply troubling.” As of today, portions of the trial will be open to the public.

We need to pack the courthouse and demonstrate that the torture of forced-feeding is immoral, illegal, and unacceptable.

Plan on attending the hearing. The attorneys for Dhiab have requested that there be no signs or anything else that may irritate the judge. Our presence, and gestures of our protest such as orange ribbons on our clothes, will convey our protest.

Click here to read recent news stories:

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article2295641.html

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/02/judge-knocks-government-attempt-keep-gitmo-hearing-secret/


Fast for Dhiab and the Hunger Strikers — Fast for Justice

Witness Against Torture is calling for an emergency fast in solidarity with Wa-ei Dhiab, other hunger strikers, and all the men at Guantánamo. Please consider fasting on October 6 and/or October 7.

If you plan to fast, send an email to witnesstorture@gmail.com. Please included in the email where you live and a brief statement as to why you are fasting.

Witness Against Torture will report to the media, Dhiab’s attorneys, and the public the numbers of those fasting and convey, through attorneys, your messages to Dhiab and others at Guantánamo.

Furthermore, please consider making two phone calls to:

1. Cliff Sloan at the State Department (202-647-4000) to insist he tells the military to stop the inhumane practice of force feeding prisoners on hunger strike and to work more quickly to shut the doors and empty the cells of the prison.

2. U.S. Southern Command (305-437-1213) to decry the conditions at Guantánamo, especially the force feeding.

Example script: I am fasting for 24 hours in solidarity with the prisoners at Guantánamo, especially for those who are on hunger strike and being force fed. I am particularly mindful of Wa-ei Dhiab, a prisoner who is being represented by attorneys in Federal District Court October 6th and 7th. His attorneys are seeking a stop to the brutal force-feeding of men at Guantánamo protesting their indefinite detention and abuse at the prison I am calling today out of concern for him and for the rest of the prisoners. I am asking you to stop the inhumane practice of force feeding and resume releasing the number of prisoners on hunger strike.

The men at Guantánamo have repeatedly expressed how important it is to them to know that people in the United States and the world fast in solidarity with them.

Join us on Monday, October 6th at 8:30 am. 333 Constitution Ave, Washington, D.C.


Witness Against Torture on Social Media:

Please “like us on Facebook & follow us on Twitter & Instagram

Post any pictures of your local activities to our flicker account and we will help spread the word on Tumblr.


Donate to support our work:

Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run.  We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work.  If you are able, please donate here. www.witnesstorture.org

 

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Adnan Latif–Presente!!! On Second Anniversary of His Death at Guantanamo

News // Film

“Where is the world to save us from torture? Where is the world to save us from the fire and sadness? Where is the world to save the hunger strikers?”
–Adnan Latif

Dear Friends,
Today marks the second anniversary of Adnan Latif’s death. And still there has been no independent investigation regarding the true cause of his death. As we continue to call for justice for all the Guantanamo detainees, demand an end to indefinite detention and torture and that Guantanamo be closed, let us not forget those who died at Guantanamo, including  Adnan Latif.
With gratitude, Art

Adnan Farhan Abd Al Latif

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ISN_00156,_Adnan_Farhan_Latif

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif
Undated photo of Adnan Latif used by JTF-GTMO in 2008
Born (1975-12-27)December 27, 1975
Aluday, Yemen
Died September 8, 2012(2012-09-08)(aged 36)
Guantánamo Bay, Cuba
Detained at Guantanamo
ISN 156
Charge(s) No charge extrajudicial detention
Status death in custody
Children married, with children

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif (December 27, 1975 – September 8, 2012), also known as Allal Ab Aljallil Abd al Rahman, was a Yemeni citizen imprisoned at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from January 2002 until his death in custody there.[1][2]

Contents

[hide]

Capture and detention

Adnan Latif was in a car accident in 1994, during which he suffered significant head injuries, which left him with on-going neurological problems.[3] Latif said he traveled from Yemen to Pakistan in August 2001 to seek medical treatment, while the U.S. government alleged he went there to receive military training from affiliates of al Qaeda.[4] He was captured in December 2001 at the Pakistan/Afghanistan border in a widespread dragnet of Arabs, and brought to Guantanamo prison in January, 2002.[1]

Judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings

Immediately after his imprisonment, Latif and Guantanamo prisoners generally were blocked from filing habeas corpus petitions because of PresidentGeorge W. Bush‘s doctrine that “war on terror” detainees were not covered by the Geneva Conventions, and so could be held indefinitely without charge and without an open and transparent review of the justifications for their detention.[5] In June 2004, however, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Rasul v. Bush, that Guantanamo captives had basic habeas corpus rights, to be informed of and allowed to attempt to refute the allegations justifying their detention.
Latif attorneys Marc D. Falkoff and David Remes filed a habeas corpus petition on his behalf in 2004.[6][7]

Following the Supreme Court Rasul ruling, in July 2004 the Department of Defense set up its Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT).[5] Scholars at theBrookings Institute, led by Benjamin Wittes, would later, in 2008, list detainees still held in Guantanamo, and the CSRT allegations against them.[8] The allegations were as follows regarding Adnan Latif: the military alleged he was an al Qaeda fighter and operative, that he went to Afghanistan for jihad, that he “… took military or terrorist training in Afghanistan,” and that he “… fought for the Taliban.”[8] Further allegations were that his name or alias had been found “on material seized in raids on Al Qaeda safehouses and facilities,”[8] and that he served on the security detail of Osama Bin Laden.[8] Annual CSRT status review hearings were held in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007,[9] and there is evidence Latif attended his 2004, 2005 and 2007 hearings.

Late in 2005, Guantanamo detainee habeas corpus rights were again restricted and largely replaced with a much more limited review known as “DTA appeal, after United States Congress passage of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006. However, in June 2008, theUnited States Supreme Court overturned provisions of those laws and restored detainee access to habeas corpus.

Responding to Latif’s habeas corpus petition in July, 2010, District Court judge Henry Kennedy ordered Latif’s release from detention, his ruling stating that the government had failed to show by a preponderance of evidence that he was part of al Qaeda or an affiliated force.[4][10] Latif attorney Remes said, “This is a mentally disturbed man who has said from the beginning that he went to Afghanistan seeking medical care because he was too poor to pay for it. Finally, a court has recognized that he’s been telling the truth, and ordered his release.”[11]

The decision was, however, appealed and a three judge DC Circuit Court of Appeals panel over-turned the ruling in an October 14, 2011 split decision which granted government allegations stronger credibility.[12][13][14] The Supreme Court decided not to review the appeals court decision.

Life at Guantanamo

Latif and other prisoners described Guantanamo conditions to Latif attorney Falkoff when he and other U.S. attorneys were first allowed to visit them in November 2004: “During the three years in which they had been held in total isolation, they had been subjected repeatedly to stress positions, sleep deprivation, blaring music, and extremes of heat and cold during endless interrogations.”[15] Latif also described to Lakoff a visit to his cell by an ‘Immediate Reaction Force” team:

A half-dozen soldiers in body armor, carrying shields and batons, had forcibly extracted him from his cell. His offense: stepping over a line, painted on the floor of his cell, while his lunch was being passed through the food slot of his door.

“Suddenly the riot police came,” he recounted. “No one in the cellblock knew who for. They closed all the windows except mine. A female soldier came in with a big can of pepper spray. Eventually I figured out they were coming for me. She sprayed me. I couldn’t breathe. I fell down. I put a mattress over my head. I thought I was dying. They opened the door. I was lying on the bed but they were kicking and hitting me with the shields. They put my head in the toilet. They put me on a stretcher and carried me away.”[15]
Latif became a frequent hunger striker, and described being force fed as “like having a dagger shoved down your throat.”[15] The Miami Herald writes that at times Latif “would smear his excrement on himself, throw blood at his lawyers, and on at least one occasion was brought to meet his lawyer clad only in a padded green garment called a ‘suicide smock’ held together by Velcro.”[16]

In 2008 Latif attorney Remes filed an emergency federal court motion stating that Latif was suffering seizures and was not being properly treated. The motion, which requested Latif’s medical records, a pillow and an additional blanket, was denied.[17][18] Falkoff recalled, “he was the guy that we tried unsuccessfully to get medical records for, and a blanket and mattress, after we found him lying on the floor of our interview cell, weak and emaciated.”[16][18]

In a letter described in an April 17, 2009, Al Jazeera report, Latif stated he had recently been abused at Guantanamo.[19] The report also quoted attorneyDavid Remes‘ observations on the appearance of Abdul Latif and his other clients:[19] “Adnan Latif … has a badly dislocated shoulder blade. I’ve seen the evidence of physical torture and I’ve also heard about the evidence of psychological torture.”

Guantanamo’s Psychiatric ward, where Latif was reported to have been confined.

The Associated Press reported on May 11, 2009 that Remes said that Latif had slit his wrists during his most recent visit.[20] Remes said that Latif had used the edge of a strip of broken veneer from the side of a table in the interview room to sever a vein in his wrist, and used the interview table to hide his bleeding wrist from others and the room’s video camera. Remes stated that Latif had tried to commit suicide before, and therefore had at times been confined to the prison’s psychiatric facility.[20] Remes also said Latif needed mental health care, but all camp authorities were doing was attempting to keep him subdued.

A December 10, 2012 article at Truthout reported that Latif had written a letter to Remes complaining of his treatment at Guantanamo. Dated May 28, 2010, Latif complained in the letter that guards were placing contraband items, such as scissors, in his cell.[21] “The way they deal with me proves to me that they want to get rid of me, but in a way that they cannot be accused of causing it,” he told his attorney. The same article reports that on two separate instances in 2010, camp officials tried to get Latif to fire Remes. On one of these occasions, he was given an injection with an unspecified drug before a meeting with a military lawyer. Latif told Remes later (according to attorney notes, as described in the Truthout article) that “they wanted to have no one report” his death.

Clearances for release

On April 25, 2011, whistleblower organization WikiLeaks published formerly secret assessments drafted by Joint Task Force Guantanamo analysts.[22][23]Latif’s nine page long assessment was drafted on January 17, 2008 and signed by camp commandant Mark Buzby, and it recommended that he be transferred out of Department of Defense control.[24][25] Historian Andy Worthington, the author of The Guantanamo Files, writes that the 2008 assessment repeated earlier recommendations that Latif be released.[26] Worthington reported that in addition to being cleared for release by Joint Task Force Guantanamo, and by the US District Court Judge Henry Kennedy, Latif had been cleared for release by the Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Barack Obama had set up when he came to office in 2009.

Death

n September 10, 2012, Latif died at Guantanamo.[27] He had been held there for 10 years, 7 months and 25 days, after arriving there on January 17, 2002.[9][28] On September 10, camp authorities informed the press that a detainee held in the punishment cells of Camp five had been found dead early in the afternoon of September 10, but did not reveal the detainee’s name, and stated that the cause of death was not apparent.[29] The next day it was acknowledged the prisoner was Adnan Latif, and later a military autopsy reportedly declared suicide the cause of death. The results of a full Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation were not expected to be known until sometime in 2013.[27][30]
Before the publication of Latif’s identity, Wells Dixon, a lawyer who helped several Guantanamo detainees with their habeas corpus petitions, described the captives’ feelings of despair, which he attributed to recent judicial reverses.[29]

Further reading

See also

References

  1. ^ a b “Military Identifies Guantánamo Detainee Who Died”. Washington, DC: New York Times. September 11, 2012.
  2. ^ “List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006”. United States Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2006-05-15.  Works related to List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006 at Wikisource
  3. ^ Marjorie Cohn (2012-06-20). “Hope Dies at Guantanamo”. The Jurist. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11.
  4. ^ a b “Adnan Farhan Abd Al Latif, Guantanamo Detainee, To Be Released For Lack Of Evidence”. Washington, DC: Huffington Post. August 16, 2010.
  5. ^ a b “U.S. military reviews ‘enemy combatant’ use”. USA Today. 2007-10-11. Archived from the original on 2012-08-11.
  6. ^ “Latif Autopsy Report Calls Gitmo Death a Suicide: Questions Remain”. truthout. November 26, 2012.
  7. ^ Carol Rosenberg (2012-09-12). “Dead Guantánamo detainee won, then lost federal court-ordered release”. Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2013-05-19.
  8. ^ a b c d Benjamin Wittes, Zaathira Wyne (2008-12-16). “The Current Detainee Population of Guantánamo: An Empirical Study”. The Brookings Institute. Retrieved 2010-02-16.  mirror
  9. ^ a b Margot Williams (2008-11-03). “Guantanamo Docket: Allal Ab Aljallil Abd Al Rahman”. New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  10. ^ “Kennedy Ruling”. Empty Wheel. August 16, 2010.
  11. ^ Yemeni psych patient ordered freed – Guantánamo – MiamiHerald.com Archived 15 February 2011 at WebCite
  12. ^ “(No. 1:04-cv-01254)” (pdf). CADC. October 14, 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-19.
  13. ^ Joe Wolverton (2011-11-14). “D.C. Court of Appeals Overturns Release of Gitmo Prisoner”. New American. Archived from the original on 2012-09-13.
  14. ^ Benjamin Wittes (2011-11-09). “Latif: A Very Big Deal”. Lawfare.
  15. ^ a b c “Poems from Guantanamo”. Amnesty International USA. December 12, 2007.
  16. ^ a b “Dead Guantánamo detainee won, then lost court-ordered release”. Miami Herald. September 11, 2012.
  17. ^ Thomas F. Hogan (2008-09-22). “Guantanamo Bay Detainee Litigation: Doc 471” (PDF). United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  mirror
  18. ^ a b Tom Ramstack (2008-09-23). “Federal court won’t hear plea for blanket”. Washington Times. Retrieved 2008-09-25.  mirror
  19. ^ a b “New abuse claims at Guantanamo”. Al Jazeera. 2009-04-17. Archived from the original on 2009-04-17.
  20. ^ a b Ben Fox (2009-05-11). “Lawyer: Gitmo prisoner slashed wrist, hurled blood”. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2009-05-11.
  21. ^ “Lawyer: Latif Letter About Guantanamo Speaks From the Grave”. Truthout. December 10, 2012.
  22. ^ Christopher Hope, Robert Winnett, Holly Watt, Heidi Blake (2011-04-27). “WikiLeaks: Guantanamo Bay terrorist secrets revealed — Guantanamo Bay has been used to incarcerate dozens of terrorists who have admitted plotting terrifying attacks against the West – while imprisoning more than 150 totally innocent people, top-secret files disclose”. The Telegraph (UK). Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2012-07-13. “The Daily Telegraph, along with other newspapers including The Washington Post, today exposes America’s own analysis of almost ten years of controversial interrogations on the world’s most dangerous terrorists. This newspaper has been shown thousands of pages of top-secret files obtained by the WikiLeaks website.”
  23. ^ “WikiLeaks: The Guantánamo files database”. The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  24. ^ Mark H. Buzby (2008-01-17). “Recommendation for Transfer out of DoD Control (TRO) for Guantanamo Detainee, ISN US9AG”. Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Retrieved 2012-09-18.  Media related to File:ISN 00156, Adnan Farhan Latif’s Guantanamo detainee assessment.pdf at Wikimedia Commons
  25. ^ “Guantanamo Bay detainee file on Adnan Farhan Abd Allatif, US9YM-000156DP, passed to the Telegraph by Wikileaks”. The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2012-09-18. “Recommendation: Transfer out of DoD control.”
  26. ^ Andy Worthington (2012-09-12). “Obama, the Courts and Congress Are All Responsible for the Latest Death at Guantánamo”. Archived from the original on 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2012-09-18. “He had been cleared for release under President Bush (in December 2006) and under President Obama (as a result of the Guantánamo Review Task Force’s deliberations in 2009). He had also had his habeas corpus petition granted in a US court, but, disgracefully, he had not been freed.”
  27. ^ a b “Guantanamo prisoner who died challenged his confinement, was rebuffed by Supreme Court”. Newser. 2012-09-11. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11.
  28. ^ “Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (ordered and consolidated version)”. Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, from DoD data. Archived from the original on 2009-12-21.
  29. ^ a b “US says a prisoner has died at Guantanamo; investigation pending into cause”. Washington Post. 2012-09-10. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10.
  30. ^ “Latif Autopsy Report Calls Gitmo Death a Suicide: Questions Remain”. Truthout. 2012-11-26.

External links

 

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I Refuse to Participate in this Criminal Act

News // Film

Navy Nurse Refuses to Torture Guantánamo Prisoner

By Helen Schietinger and Jeremy Varon
July 16, 2014 | 22:57EST

These are the words of a Navy nurse assigned to force-feed prisoners who are hunger striking at Guantánamo Bay prison:

I refuse to participate in this criminal act.

Abu Wael Dhiab, one of the hunger strikers, witnessed the nurse’s courageous stand and reported it to his lawyer. Dhiab, as quoted through his attorney, described the nurse as “very compassionate” in his treatment of detainees over the prior months. “Initially, he did carry out his orders,” says Dhiab. “He decided he could not do it anymore.”

The nurse’s refusal is an extraordinary act of conscience.  It speaks to the brutality of forced-feeding, which the hunger strikers describe as torture and medical and human rights bodies have denounced. It affirms the ethical obligations of medical professionals, which prohibit forced-feeding.  And it underscores the broader criminality of Guantánamo, where men are held indefinitely without charge or trial and further brutalized when they protest.

Witness Against Torture praises the heroic act of the Guantánamo nurse, who should not suffer disciplinary consequences for his principled stand. We hope his act inspires other staff at Guantánamo to refuse to execute camp orders. Most of all, we hope the nurse’s resistance further awakens the American people and President Obama to the barbarity of Guantánamo and hastens the closure of the prison.

Force feeding poster

Refusing food is among the only means the detained men have to protest their indefinite detention and abusive treatment. Such treatment includes the defilement of the Quran, genital and body cavity searches before and after leaving their cells, being beaten by Forcible Cell Extraction teams when taken from cells, and being held in solitary confinement for months and even years.

Rather than addressing these grievances, President Obama has allowed the continuation of forced-feeding — a tactic the military admits is intended to break the 18-month-long hunger strike. The procedure, while couched in secrecy, is shockingly violent compared to medically warranted tube-feeding.

As described in letters from detainee Emad Hassan, the hunger striker is strapped into a restraining chair, often tightly around the abdomen. A tube larger than one used for standard nasogastric tube-feeding is forced through delicate nasal passages, down the throat, and into the victim’s stomach. Nutritional supplement, at times containing medication or water, is injected rapidly in large quantities into the stomach, sometimes causing nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The tube is then removed — and is sometimes yanked quickly from the nose, causing trauma in the nasal passages.

Dhiab’s lawyers are challenging his forced-feeding in federal court. In a related lawsuit, Judge Gladys Kessler granted the disclosure of videotapes of forced-feeding sessions to attorneys. One attorney described the footage as “so ‘grim’ that I had trouble sleeping.” Media groups are asking a judge to release the videos to the public, which absolutely should happen.  Regardless of the ruling on the tapes, President Obama should view them and ask himself if forced-feeding is something he or the United States can condone.

The nurse refusing to obey the order to force-feed prisoners displayed great courage and integrity. Nonetheless, it is astounding that it has taken until now for a medical professional to refuse to engage in forced-feeding.The professional code of ethics directs all nurses to “practice with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth and uniqueness of every individual” and “protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.” (American Nurses Association Code of Ethics, 2001)  The World Medical Association insists that, “Forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable. Even if intended to benefit, feeding accompanied by threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment.” (WMA Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers, 2006).  In a letter to the Pentagon, the American Medical Association stated, “the forced feeding of detainees violates core ethical values of the medical profession.” (J. Lazarus, AMA President, 4/25/2013)

The military defends forced-feeding as a humanitarian measure to save the lives of detainees. The men, however, are crying out against their abusive treatment by prison staff and their unjust detention. They don’t have to be force-fed to be kept alive. The solution is for the Obama administration to: 1) order the military to immediately end forced-feeding and cease and desist from all abuse of the prisoners in its custody 2) release without delay all the men who have been cleared for transfer by the US government 3) and finally close Guantánamo, ensuring human rights and proper due process for all the men detained there.

Abu Wael Dhiab is among the six prisoners whom Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel just recently designated for transfer to Uruguay. His release would mean the dismissal of his lawsuit seeking an end to his forced-feeding. But the forced-feeding of others — and lawsuits challenging their treatment — will continue, as will the immoral and illegal detention of men at Guantánamo. We owe it to Mr. Dhiab, to those who continue to suffer at Guantánamo, and the men who have died there to close Guantánamo and newly respect the human rights and dignity of all.

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July Newsletter: WAT Takes Action to Support Survivors of Torture

News // Film

Report Back from Torture Survivors Week: June 26 Photos, Video and Update

June 27, 2014 / The White House / Source: Flickr
June 27, 2014 / The White House / Source: Flickr

Last week, members of Witness Against Torture gathered in Washington, D.C. for the International Day in Support of Survivors of Torture. Our group of about fifteen attended a panel organized by National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) on U.S. sanctioned torture, engaged in nonviolent direct action at Senator Ayotte and McCain’s offices, and participated in an all-day vigil with Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC)On Sunday, we retreated to the Peace Oasis to put in motion a framework for January 11, 2015.

 

No pushback now! Release those unjustly bound.

Got 90 seconds? Please watch & share the video of Witness Against Torture delivering letters to Senator Ayotte and McCain. This is our response to an amendment that could stop all transfers from Guantanamo. The bill has passed the House and is now awaiting the Senate before becoming law.

Click here to read full report & see photos.

Extended video

Click here to read the letters sent to Senator Ayotte and McCain Offices. 

 

SAVE THE DATE– January 5– 13, 2015

Every January, the Witness Against Torture community gathers to fast and take action in Washington D.C. to remember the opening of the prison camp in Guantanamo.  This year January 11th, 2015 marks 13 years of torture and indefinite detention.  We will be gathering from January 5th – 13th, 2015 to fast for justice and a week of actions. Join us as we stand in solidarity with those that remained unjustly detained. Save the date and stay tune for more information. If you have any questions please email WitnessTorture@gmail.com

 

Friday Fast for Justice

Susan / Boston
Susan / Boston

Join in solidarity with the men on hunger strike in Guantanamo by fasting on Fridays. We invite you to consider joining the Friday Fast for Justice. Go without food in solidarity with the hunger strikers in Guantánamo.  If you are already participating in or are interested in participating please sign up here. You can commit to fasting on a specific Friday; weekly for a particular time period; until Guantánamo is closed; or whatever works for you. If you join the fast, we would ask you to:

  • Fast on Friday, in any form you like;
  • Make three phone calls (click here to see who we are currently focusing our calls on)
  • Write to a prisoner at Guantánamo. (click here for instructions on how)
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