On Friday, May 17, the international hacktivist collective known as Anonymous, joined by Code Pink and other political action groups from the U.S. and the U.K., launched Operation Guantanamo to mark the 100th day of a hunger strike within the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
The three day campaign of global action is intended to raise awareness of the human rights violations currently going on at Guantanamo Bay prison camp via social media and on the ground protests. Alleged violations at Guantanamo include the indefinite detention of prisoners, many of whom have been cleared for release years ago.
The following is an excerpt from a press release issued by Anonymous regarding Operation Guantanamo (#OpGTMO):
"With no hope for justice, over 100 men who have been held and tortured for years have gone on a hunger strike. On May 18th, it will have been 100 days since they have eaten voluntarily. Prisoners have died suddenly, violently, and suspiciously. All inmates in Guantanamo Bay have been locked in solitary confinement. Some are being force fed, an international crime. These men face the prospect of a terrible death in prison despite many of them having been cleared for release years ago.
Guantanamo Bay must be closed at once, and the prisoners should be either returned to their home countries or given a fair trial in a federal court. Guantanamo Bay is an ongoing war crime. Anonymous will no longer tolerate this atrocity.
On May 17 to May 19, to coincide with the 100th day of the hunger strike, we urge everyone to join global actions on the ground and hacktivist protests as well as twitterstorms, email bombs, and fax bombs, in 3 days of nonstop action.
Phone Bomb the representatives:
Call the White House and insist that President Obama fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo: 202-456-1111, 202-456-1414
Call the U.S. Southern Command to decry the conditions at Guantanamo: 305-437-1213
Call the Department of Defense, voice your concerns about the treatment of hunger strikers: 703-571-3343
The number of prisoners currently on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay has reached 100, forcing the United States to send 40 nurses and medical specialists to the detention center to monitor the situation over the weekend. Of those on strike, 21 are being force-fed. The inmates, many of whom are held without charge, are protesting their detention with the hunger strike, which began in February.
Although such actions are frequent at Guantanamo, the current protest is one of the longest and most widespread.
Guantanamo officials deny claims that the strike began after copies of the Koran were mishandled during searches of prisoners' cells.
Violence erupted at the prison on April 13th as the authorities moved inmates out of communal cell blocks where they had covered surveillance cameras and windows.
Some prisoners used "improvised weapons" and were met with "less-than-lethal rounds", camp officials said, but no serious injuries were reported.
Nearly 100 of the detainees have reportedly been cleared for release but remain at the facility because of restrictions imposed by Congress and also concerns of possible mistreatment if they are sent back to their home countries.
During a White House press conference on Tuesday, President Obama said he will renew his first-term efforts to close the detention center. Obama reasoned that the existence of the facility damages the country’s image abroad, costs too much money and undermines U.S. counterterrorism efforts by serving as a recruiting tool for militants.
“I’m going to go back at this,” he said. “I’m going to reengage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that’s in the best interests of the American people.”
This is your Moment of Clarity #229: Two-thirds of the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) have been hunger striking since February. Some may soon die. But there's a reason you should care about these men...
The ongoing existence of this abominable experiment in indefinite detention poisons America's claim to be a nation that believes in justice, and the detention of 86 prisoners cleared for release, who are held because it is politically inconvenient to release them, is a disgrace. Please read our latest exclusive report about the cleared prisoners still in Guantánamo, our latest world exclusive from Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, our first report about the hunger strike, and our follow-ups here and also here.
We are a group of lawyers, journalists, retired military personnel and concerned citizens seeking to close the "war on terror" prison at Guantánamo Bay, where 166 men are still held, even though 86 of them have been cleared for release. In June, we published an exclusive report identifying 40 prisoners cleared for release up to eight years ago who are still held. We have also just produced a new report telling the stories of 55 of the 86 cleared prisoners whose names were included on a list released by the Justice Department in a court case in September.
Also, just a few days left for the Moment of Clarity Show kickstarter campaign, to contribute, click here.
Just days after The New York Times published a disturbing Op-ed written by a Gitmo inmate staging a hunger strike, 32 more detainees are now participating in the strike.
Over half of all detainees at the US-run Guantanamo Bay military prison are now taking part in the hunger strike, with many being force-fed, a US military spokesman confirmed today.
The number of prisoners on hunger strike has risen to 84, an increase of 32 since last Wednesday, with 16 now receiving “enteral feedings,” a process involving being force-fed via tubes, and five detainees hospitalized.
The military's Muslim adviser in Guantanamo told reporters this week that one or more of the detainees will die before the hunger strike is over:
Zak, a longtime Muslim adviser at Guantanamo who goes only by his first name for security reasons, said detainees in the U.S. military prison have “perfected their methods” for suicide. He predicted the ongoing detainee hunger strike would lead to deaths.
"There will be more than one death,” Zak said. “I'm saying it right now, so next time we meet, you can say, 'Okay, Zak, you told us.’" The detainees, he said, “wanted to die out of hunger and thirst behind covered cameras.”
Reporters listening to morning prayers were evacuated from the higher security Camp 5 after a detainee began feeling faint and had to be evaluated by medical personnel:
The detainee that prompted the code yellow was okay, military officials later tell reporters. He was feeling dizzy and faint. Medical professionals checked him out and left him in his cell.
It was unclear if the detainee was part of the hunger strike, as reporters were unable to see if detainees refused their meals due to the code yellow evacuation.
It's been 11 years since the first detainees were brought to Guantanamo Bay. But the future of the prison, and the fate of the men inside it, is far from certain. With 59 detainees at Gitmo currently on hunger strike, by the military's count, here's a primer on what's going at the island prison.
What started the hunger strike?
It began after guards allegedly mishandled detainees' Korans in a cell search in early February — but it's certainly become about more than the holy books.
The military says detainees have previously hidden "improvised weapons, unauthorized food and medicine" in the spines of the Korans, and that the February searches were standard, conducted by Muslim translators. (Koran searches had set off hunger strikes before, in 2005.)
Attorneys for hunger strikers say the detainees have offered to relinquish their Korans rather than have them searched. The military initially would not accept that option, but now says, "if they choose not to have one, they choose not to have one."
General Kelly, of U.S. Southern Command, said last month that detainees had watched Obama's State of the Union address, and heard no mention of Guantanamo. "That has caused them to become frustrated and they want to ... turn the heat up, get it back in the media," Kelly said.
In an account published in the New York Times last weekend, a Yemeni hunger striker named Samir Moqbel said he hoped "that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late." (Moqbel had recounted his story by phone to his lawyers.)
Another detainee, a Saudi Arabian named Shaker Aamer, also recently wrote an op-ed. Calling himself "a bit of a professional hunger striker," Aamer said "this one is a whole lot different." Lawyers say the strike is far more widespread than the military's count.
According to the military, two detainees have attempted suicide since the strike began.
An inmate at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, took to the pages of The New York Timesto tell about the degradation and misery the hunger strikers are experiencing at the prison. His name is Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, and he can only "write" by dictating to his lawyers, through a translator, over the phone. Moqbel and his fellow strikers are tied down and force-fed twice a day, often painfully. “I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose,” he writes. “I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.” Moqbel, who has been imprisoned for 11 years and three months, has been fasting since February 10.
Over the 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 say was 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."
Documents from 2008 published by the Times indicate that Moqbel was captured in December 2001 and identified as a guard for Bin Laden. Moqbel obviously disputes this claim.
There are lots of "springs" happening across the world, following Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. A "spring" is not just another protest, it gets to the heart of what's wrong with that particular country and regime. It exposes the historical reasons for needing a regime chance, and articulates the possibility of spring, a different kind of future beginning now. #Idlenomore pricks at the vital nerve of Canada's foundational and ongoing colonialist enterprise. This movement stands for everything about Canada that ought to be defended. It's significance cannot be overstated.
This video captures the spirit of #Idlenomore. It was produced before Harper agreed to meet with a delegation of First Nations Chiefs. This upcoming meeting (Friday January 11th) will discuss treaty rights. Chief Spence will be joining, continuing her hunger strike until then and potentially afterwards, depending on the outcomes of the discussion. As Spence says, "we'll see what the results are, if there's really a positive result, because there are a lot of issues that we need to discuss."
Another Gitmo prisoner has died, reports the Associated Press:
The latest death occurred in Camp 5, a section of the prison used mostly to hold prisoners who have broken detention center rules.
This prisoner had recently splashed a guard with what military officials call a "cocktail," typically a mixture of food and bodily fluids, which is why he was on disciplinary status, Durand said.
He was on a hunger strike earlier this year but stopped it on June 1 and was at 95 percent of his ideal body weight and 14 pounds heavier than when he came to Guantanamo, the spokesman said.
Durand, the prison spokesman, said the man who died Saturday had not been charged and was not designated for prosecution.
According to the NCIS documents, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.
Al-Zahrani, according to the documents, was discovered first, at 12:39 a.m., and taken by several Alpha Block guards to the camp’s detention medical clinic. No doctors could be found there, nor the phone number for one, so a clinic staffer dialed 911. During this time, other guards discovered Al-Utaybi. Still others discovered Al-Salami a few minutes later. Although rigor mortis had already set in—indicating that the men had been dead for at least two hours—the NCIS report claims that an unnamed medical officer attempted to resuscitate one of the men, and, in attempting to pry open his jaw, broke his teeth.
The prisoner's identity has not been released yet pending notification of next of kin.
This Youtube video has good footage of the damage as a result of the July 18, 2012 riot at the Maruti Suzuki plant in India, but it is a continuous loop of the same images for over 6 minutes.
Outsourcing to cheap foreign labor may have to eventually become a thing of the past as now auto workers in India have resorted to deadly violence in their desperate efforts to have India's outdated labor laws overhauled, and their wages increased.
Hiding in his office near New Delhi as workers armed with iron bars and car parts rampaged through the factory, Maruti Suzuki(MRTI.NS) supervisor Raj Kumar spent two terrified hours trying to comprehend the warzone his workplace had become.
By the end of the day, one of his colleagues had been burnt to death and dozens wounded, many with broken bones, as a long-running struggle between the shop floor and management exploded at a factory racked by mistrust.
While police investigate and the carmaker counts its mounting losses, the July 18 clash has rattled corporate India and shone a light on outdated and rigid labour laws in a country where cheap labour drives manufacturing and draws foreign investment. High inflation, a shortage of skilled labour and rising aspirations have emboldened workers' demands.
"There was always a strong sense of unease," Kumar, 43, told Reuters as he stood outside the locked factory gates more than a week after the riot in the industrial town of Manesar.
"We are living in fear... The kind of violence these guys showed was unbelievable."
Hyundai and Honda plants located in India have also seen labour unrest in their plants as some labor laws date as far back as 1920.
Since July's rioting, Maruti Suzuki has remained on shut down, with its some 2,500 workers in hiding fearing punishment from the company, criminal charges or both.
Troubles for Maruti began as far back as 2000, when workers hunger-striked for better wages. The best and highest paid manufacturing workers in the area are paid 25,000 rupees a month, the equivalent of just $445.79 in U.S. currency.
Behind the Recall: The Rise and Fall of Scott Walker: Made in the style of a "Behind the Music" episode, this video is a shocking account of Scott Walker's tarnished legacy. It traces his rise to Tea Party stardom, and his bitter fall from grace with average Wisconsinites.
More on Scott Walker from Daily Kos, The Underreported Story of Scott Walker and Foreclosure Fraud: Do you know someone whose life has been affected by foreclosure? Chances are, in 2012, you do. That's why it's so important that you know the story of what Scott Walker did with the funds meant for victims of foreclosure fraud.
Woman Who Couldn’t Be Intimidated by Citigroup Wins $31 Million: "By 2006, the bank was buying mortgages from outside lenders with doctored tax forms, phony appraisals and missing signatures, she says. It was Hunt’s job to identify these defects, and she did, in regular reports to her bosses.
Executives buried her findings, Hunt says, before, during and after the financial crisis, and even into 2012." Full report here.
OCCUPY LA: Banners went up on Day 4 of the Siege on the CCA last night!! We had around 100 activists peacefully assemble right at the doorstep of the ONE-PERCENT’S LOBBY.
Occupy Skid Row, LA CAN, Occupy the Hood, and Occupy Los Angeles held it down with lots of guests to the action. We had several NEWCOMERS who attended the GA, took the streets, and occupied for the first time! There were also several occupiers from around the state (SF, Ventura, Riverside, Long Beach, Venice) and country (Oregon, New York, Arizona).
A Fracking Foreclosure: "Help us keep the River in Riverdale": Day of Action for Riverdale, Monday, June 4: International Day of Solidarity with the Riverdale Community on Monday, June 4 Riverdale residents and supporters are calling for an international day of solidarity action in support of the Riverdale community this Monday, June 4. As relocation resister Deb Eck has put it, you are invited...
Thank a Union: 36 Ways Unions Have Improved Your Life: "Let's get one thing straight...
Employers and Corporations did not feel generous and decide to give you two days off every week to have a social/personal life. (We now call them weekends). Corporations did not just feel like being nice one day and give their employees paid vacations. CEOs didn't get together in a board room and say "Let's give our employees more rights at work" or "Maybe there should be laws to limit our power over an employee". Read full post here.
"Minneapolis police were braced for a violent confrontation with Occupy Minnesota activists intent on reclaiming a home the police had seized. Instead, the police were peacefully serenaded while a pastor from across the street led the crowd in prayer."
This has been a fascinating case to watch. Local police seem determined to boot out the occupiers and the owner of the home, but Occupy Minnesota is just as determined to win this fight against the banks.
"Twenty-three have been arrested during five eviction attempts in the last week as part of an ongoing defense of the Cruz family’s home that has garnered national attention. Monday June 4, Occupy DC has organized a demonstration in front of the Freddie Mac office in Washington, DC." More here.
"As hundreds of protesters arrested during months of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations get their day in court, their arresting officers aren't even bothering to show up. When they have, as in the first two cases to go to trial, the NYPD testimony was disproved with photographic and video evidence, resulting in both protesters getting acquitted."
Hunger/AIDS Medication Striker to Trinity Church: "Forgive Us Our Trespasses" : "Jack Boyle's hands are nothing but trouble. Not only is his right thumb bent completely out of shape, injured during his forcible eviction from Zuccotti Park in November, but his fingertips are increasingly numb, as his peripheral neuropathy kicks in more, and more. It's been twelve days since he took his medication and eight days since he's eaten, and he is starting to feel it. He used to take Truvada once daily and Lexiva and Norvir twice daily. He says the "a" at the end of Truvada and Lexiva like "er," the way many of his fellow fifty-something native New Yorkers would. But he won't take any of those pills ever again, unless Trinity Church forgives him and his friends their trespasses." Continue reading here.