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Dublin Opinion >>

Guantanamo protest -yet again

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Saturday January 11, 2014 17:59author by Justin Morahan Report this post to the editors

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
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 Charg 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 Charg 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

Justin Morahan

Colm Roddy

Colm with placards
Colm with placards

Colm - typical pose for the day
Colm - typical pose for the day

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:48Report this post to the editors

Witness against Torture, a dynamic group in the United States aim to make Guantanamo history and close it down. They have been staging an impressive list of protest actions including a Guantanamo fast now in its sixth day.

Related Link:
author by Justin Morahanpublication date Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:58Report this post to the editors

An e-mail from Mathew Daloisio of Witness against Torture captures the emotion and strength of the anti-Guantanamo protest outside the White House yesterday:

Dear Friends,

This has been a day full of emotion -- "day 5 of a fast is often my
crying day," shared one long-time faster in our morning reflection.
(He then spoke about the nine men who have died while imprisoned in
Guantanamo, moving many in the circle to tears.) Our emotion is not
unaccompanied by resolve.

As you know, one way our resolve moves us is to try to carry a message
to people on the street here in DC. We have been surprised and often
inspired by the responses of those less familiar or altogether without
knowledge of Guantanamo. This week, we have witnessed folks freeze in
their steps to listen as we begin to softly sing the words, "We're
gonna have a nation that don't torture no one / But it's gonna take
courage for that change to come." Many take out phones to film us
perform street theatre based on Shaker Aamer's December 5th letter on
being referred to as a package by prison personnel. Many more have
approached our leaf-letters, asking, "can you tell me what is this

At the vigil at the white house today, Luke N. asked all present,
"What would you do if a Guantanamo prisoner was your brother?" We
invite you to hold your answers to this question in your heart as we
mark this 12th anniversary of the prison in Guantanamo.

In Gratitude,

Matthew Daloisio

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Sun Jan 12, 2014 13:32Report this post to the editors

See and read about a stirring occupation-protest of the Museum in a press release from Jeremy Varon and Frida Berrigan. Including 2 amazing vdeos - one long version and one short version.

The occupation lasted with song and speech and exhibits for 2 hours. No arrests were made!

Related Link:
author by Justin Morahanpublication date Sun Jan 12, 2014 13:42Report this post to the editors

Colm and I have sent our letter to the US Charg d'affaires by e-mail and post as promised. By contrast with what's happening State-side our protest barely kept a flickering candle alive.

Today, Colm travelled to Shannon airport to join the monthly protest there. War planes continue to pass through our civilian airport without inspections for drone parts or military equipment while our supine government ignores the issue. Shannonwatch keep an eye on what's happening there and several non-violent actions have ended up in court.

author by irishmanpublication date Sun Jan 12, 2014 15:59Report this post to the editors

Good on Ye Lads. Keep embarrassing the bastards with their blatant international criminality and exceptionalism. They think we are another of their vassal states. Some sort of glorified aircraft carrier. It's a wonder they haven't actually built one of their military bases here yet. Probably only out of deference to their co conspirators and allies in the UK. Well either that or else they think there's not enough oil / gas for them

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