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11 Years of Infamy -- US Actions at Guantanamo Prison
By Ann Wright,
There are 166 out of 779 still imprisoned, including 87 cleared for release, but still held at Guantanamo
January 11, 2013, marked the 11th year that the infamous Guantanamo prison has been in operation by the United States. It is also 11 years that Hamid Karzai has the leader of Afghanistan. On January 11, President Karzai met with Barak Obama, the second US president who has presided over the war in Afghanistan. We don't know if President Karzai mentioned the 18 Afghans who remain in Guantanamo out of the 220 who were imprisoned.
But, no doubt there were discussions about the messy turnover of prisons in Afghanistan from US control to Afghan control, in which the US still refuses to hand over some prisoners. In 2012, 570 detainees were released after acquittal in Afghan courts with an additional 485 in the process of being released after a bilateral board of Afghans and Americans determined that there was not enough evidence to prosecute them. On the day prior to President Karzai's departure for Washington, another 80 prisoners were released.
It was 11 years ago, in late January, 2002, when I was on a helicopter that flew then interim-president Karzai from Kabul to Bagram Air Base for him to board a military aircraft for a flight to Washington, DC to meet with President Bush for the first time and for Karzai to be seated next to Laura Bush in the US Capitol gallery for President Bush's 2002 State of the Union message. At the time, I was in the US diplomatic corps and was on the small team that had reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in mid-December, 2001.
Eleven years ago, on January 10 or January 11, another military planehad flown from Bagram Air Base. It was a secret flight known to only a few very senior US officials (I was not one of them) and CIA and military personnel needed to carry out the flight. The plane carried 20 passengers, all strapped down on the icy floor of the plane, hands and feet cuffed, wearing blacked out eye goggles to they couldn't see and wearing diapers so their captors would not have to take them to the toilet in the long 22-hour flight from Afghanistan to Cuba. These were the first of what ended up being 779 prisoners, many of whom the United States government bought in a bounty program ($5,000 to $25,000 for al Qaeda members and $1 million for Osama bin Ladin) who were flown from sites all over the world to be locked up and tortured in a new prison constructed on the US Naval Base at Guantanamo, Cuba.
Eleven years later, here are the statistics that make Guantanamo a word of infamy (with apologies to those who live in the city of Guantanamo, Cuba). Statistics are from Reprieve, a UK human rights group, and Human Rights First...
During the 11 years of Guantanamo prison operations, hundreds of prisoners have gone on extended hunger strikes for treatment according to the Geneva conventions and reasonable condition such as having clean water bottles with meals. Military personal force-fed hunger strikers through painful nasal tubes. <More>
Bruce Gagnon, Veteran member of VFP Chapter 001 in Auburn ME and Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space recent insights on Bringing War Dollars Home was featured on OpEdNews website.
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