‘Gitmo secrecy creates environment for abuse’

5c47guantanamo prisoners hunger strike ‘Gitmo secrecy creates environment for abuse’

Lawyers for Guantanamo Bay inmates said that “all but a few men”in one of the prison’s camps are on hunger strike, in protest overalleged disrespect to the Koran and the confiscation of personalitems. The prisoners’ condition is said to be “rapidlydeteriorating and reaching a potentially critical level.”Rights activists in the US have claimed that prisoners’ personalitems were being taken, and exercise was being restricted. RT spokewith geopolitical analyst Ryan Dawson – who has written extensivelyon Guantanamo – to hear his opinion on these accusations.Ryan Dawson: They really have very little other recourseother than a hunger strike. It’s not the first hunger strike – theyhad it before in 2005, when it went to the point when 18 peoplewere hospitalized. What I find disgusting in this one though isthat the US is denying that this strike is as large as it is anddownplaying its scale. But they’ve had to admit that at least fivehave been force-fed food through tubes in their stomachs.So this is obviously real. But what happens is that we have animposition between the [Guantanamo] spokesman, whose name is RobertDurand, and the inmates’ lawyers. You can’t really believeeverything Robert Durand says because has been covering up all thetortures and murders from the Guantanamo Bay the entire time.This infamous case in 2006, when there were three so-calledsuicides, where there was Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman andfour other witnesses who know that these men were murdered. Butagain, the spokesman for the Navy Robert Durand covered that up.So, when it comes to this dispute between the word of the spokesmanof Gitmo and the lawyers – I’m going to have to believe the lawyersand believe that this is a massive hunger-strike.RT: Guantanamo is no stranger to human rightsviolations. How much of a concern is this latest incident? Are welooking at a new low?RD: I think we are looking at the same low: It’s hard toget lower than Guantanamo Bay has been. A lot of these men aredetained without a trial, some without even charges. It doesn’tmean they are innocent, but it doesn’t mean they are guiltyeither.The problem is secrecy. When you have this level of secrecy,you’re just creating the environment for abuse, because they arebasically human beings with no rights. The first hunger strike wasover beatings from the IRF – this is the Inmate Response Force.This again when they are confiscating their items. This is thelittle freedom they have.So this is a really low point, but I don’t know if a new lowbecause it’s continuingly low.RT: Do you expect the military to act and solve this?What do you expect their reaction to be?RD: Well, the rational thing would be to resolve theconflict by, maybe, returning the confiscated items and treatingthe Koran with respect. I mean, that’s what we are told. It couldbe far worse than that. However, they usually don’t act in arational way. They are probably going to just force-feed thesepeople and deny the hunger strike for as long as possible. Ithappened before and they waited till 18 were hospitalized.RT:  Barack Obama promised to closethe facility at the beginning of his first term. Why is it stillopen?RD: Because Barack Obama is a liar. Barack Obama promisedmany things. But he didn’t even attempt to close it, and there aremore prisoners in the Guantanamo Bay now than there were in therewhen he got into office.

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‘Gitmo secrecy creates environment for abuse’

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