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rights, freedoms and repression |
Saturday January 11, 2014 17:59 by Justin Morahan
Hunger strikers news silenced
Two outside the Embassy. Letter refused. !5 hunger strikers being force fed but US military has stopped disclosing information about the hunger strikes since December last "as it serves no operational purpose"
Justin and Colm
Under a clear blue sky, Colm Roddy and I protested outside the US Embassy in Ballsbridge against the continuing US human rights abuses in Guantanamo prison. As usual, Colm was dressed in orange Guantanamo gear and spent most of his time kneeling, while I walked and kept warm.
It was the closing day of the Young Scientists Exhibition and crowds were flocking to the RDS, also located in Ballsbridge. Ironically, the Chargé d'affaires had an input there. (There is no US Ambassador in Ireland since 14 December 2014. Well done to overall winner Paul Clarke. Don't know how politically aware he might be but maybe sometime he will recall that there was a human rights protest, however small, outside the US embassy on the day that he was being deservedly feted for his brilliant achievement.
Being the day it was, there was little enough reaction to our protest. Car horns were blowing as they passed but mostly because of road rage due to traffic jams. A welcome few gave the thumbs up. We tried to hand in a letter but it was not accepted - we were asked to post it, which we will do. Meanwhile we are e-mailing it to the Embassy
Letter to the US Embassy Chargé d'affaires Stuart Dwyer
11 January 2014
Dear Mr Dwyer
We are again protesting the illegal detention of prisoners at the notorious Guantanamo prison on the twelfth anniversary of its opening. The shocking scandal of people who were sold to your predecessor by unscrupulous bounty hunters remains alive - and as disgusting as ever - in 2014. The Gulag of the USA has been condemned worldwide but the USA has not listened to, or responded to, the criticism. As of December 18, 2013, 158 detainees remain in the hell-hole of Guantanamo.
The history of Guantanamo has been one of illegal beatings, torture, force feeding of hunger strikers, and suicides. In the infamous words of an Abu Graib
commander, she had orders that her prisoners were to be treated as Guantanamo prisoners were treated, "like dogs".
Despite your President's promises before his election to close down this infamous place within a year, it remains open. a year into his second term.
As late as 2012, Jimmy Carter criticized the methods used to obtain confessions: "some of the few being tried (only in military courts) have been tortured by water-boarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semi-automatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers. Astoundingly, these facts cannot be used as a defence by the accused, because the government claims they occurred under the cover of "national security" ".
A new wave of hunger strikes arose in early 2013. At its peak in July, 106 of the 166 detainees were on hunger strike, with 45 of them being force-fed.
Without any sense of shame or wrongdoing, on December 4th 2013, the US military announced that it would no longer disclose information about the hunger strikes, explaining that "The release of this information serves no operational purpose"!
Are these the actions of a terrorist State or of a civilised State?
The last disclosed figures in December 2013 showed numbers of hunger strikers rising to 15, with all being tube fed !
Shame on your government. In the face of such infamous secrecy concerning crimes against humans you need more whistleblowers of the calibre of Chelsea Manning - who should be released - and Edward Snowden. Both should be honoured for opposing lies with truth. As should all other people of integrity whom you persecute around the globe.
The President pleads that he cannot undo this wrongdoing because of Congress. That is his problem. The USA opened Guantanamo against all advice from international and human rights organisations. Just now the President is responsible for human rights abuses that are now being hidden. He must find a way.
With best personal wishes
Colm with placards
Colm - typical pose for the day