Buscador avanzado

I’ve been held at Guantánamo for 20 years without trial. Mr Biden, please set me free

Injustice takes many forms. After 20 years in US custody, most of that time spent in Guantánamo, you could say I am an expert.

It may surprise you to know that I think America has a very good justice system. But it is only for Americans. In the cases of those like me, justice is not something that interests the US. I wish that people understood how Guantánamo is distinct.

In Guantánamo, the torture we are exposed to is not isolated to the interrogation rooms; it exists in our daily lives. This intentional psychological torture is what makes Guantánamo different. There is interference in every aspect of my existence – my sleep, my food, my walking.…  Seguir leyendo »

A section of the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Credit John Moore/Getty Images

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump made a pledge to fill the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay with “bad dudes.” He brought up Guantánamo again on Nov. 1, a day after the Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov was arrested on a charge of killing eight people in a terror attack in New York. Mr. Trump said that authorities should send the suspect to the prison because the American justice system is a “laughingstock.”

But the next day Mr. Trump apparently changed his mind, indicating a preference for trying Mr. Saipov in New York. He said in a tweet that he’d “love” to send him to Guantánamo but “that process takes much longer than going through the federal system.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Una postal de la estación naval de Guantánamo, Cuba, de alrededor del año 1910 Allan Seiden/Legacy Archive, vía Getty Images

El cheque por 4085 dólares se expide cada año en abril, a nombre del tesorero general de la República de Cuba pero ese cargo dejó de cobrarse hace décadas. La última vez que el gobierno cubano cobró ese cheque fue en 1959.

Sin embargo, presentando ese ínfimo pago anual y sabiendo que ni siquiera será aceptado, Estados Unidos continúa sintiéndose con derechos sobre su más antigua base naval en el extranjero, un terreno de 11.655 hectáreas sobre la costa del sureste de Cuba, sin parangón con ninguna otra base militar en el mundo.

El viernes, Donald Trump anunció un retroceso parcial de la apertura del gobierno de Obama hacia Cuba, al volver a instaurar las restricciones a los viajes e interacciones comerciales.…  Seguir leyendo »

This week, we have seen reports that a former British inmate of Guantanamo Bay, Jamal Udeen al-Harith, carried out an ISIS suicide attack in Iraq.

Some will undoubtedly use this news to make the argument that Guantanamo Bay should remain open, that it should be increasingly used to house the current crop of jihadist terrorists and that no further inmates should be released.

Indeed, President Donald Trump has made some of these arguments, and Republicans have put pressure on him to expand the prison in Cuba.

No one is more outraged than me, a counter-extremism specialist, by the reports that a former Guantanamo prisoner joined ISIS and carried out this attack.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Guantánamo Bay detention facility in 2014. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

Instead of blocking President Obama’s efforts to close the costly Guantánamo Bay detention facility, Congress should be working with him to finally shut it down.

I’ve been to Guantánamo twice, once in 2002, with the former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other senators, and again in 2013, with Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff.

Seeing the facility firsthand reinforces my belief in the great need to close this prison, which has cost us billions of dollars and is a real threat to our national security.

Simply put, Guantánamo is one of the best propaganda tools that terrorists have today.…  Seguir leyendo »

Some of the top Japanese war criminals that were convicted--including former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, sitting in the center of the front row wearing glasses--are seen during war crimes trial proceedings in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

After U.S. soldiers broke down the door of his Tokyo residence on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 1945, they found Hideki Tojo struggling to stand despite a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Tojo, who was prime minister when Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, chose an unusual weapon for his suicide attempt: a Colt pistol taken from a captured U.S. aviator. With no physician at hand, the last Axis dictator — as most Americans viewed him — seemed to have little time to live.

Tojo survived, however, thanks to U.S. medical care, and because Sgt. John Archinal of Allentown, Pa.,…  Seguir leyendo »

When President Barack Obama announced his intention to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center on his second day in office, he sounded serious.

He was flanked by more than a dozen retired military leaders, who’d all urged him to close the facility because it had become a virtual recruitment tool for terrorists and a stain on the United States’ reputation for upholding human rights and the rule of law. Obama also had the support of national-security experts across the political spectrum when he signed his historic executive order.

More than six years later, the U.S. facility in Cuba is still open.…  Seguir leyendo »

Guantánamo’s Charade of Justice

Last week, we learned that, only months into the job, the official in charge of the military courts system at Guantánamo Bay was stepping down, after judges ruled he had interfered in proceedings. The appointment of an interim replacement was the sixth change of leadership for the tribunals since 2003.

This is yet another setback for the military commissions, as they tackle two of their highest-profile cases: the joint trial of the chief planner of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and four alleged co-conspirators, and the trial of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused in the bombing of the American destroyer Cole.…  Seguir leyendo »

A protestor holds a placard questioning the American identity in front of hooded fellow protestors during a demonstration against the Guantanamo Bay detention facility on January 11, 2015. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Before the “war on terror,” many Americans knew about Guantanamo Bay only from its depiction in “A Few Good Men.” In the film’s most famous scene, the Marine colonel who commands the U.S. naval base, played by Jack Nicholson, declares during a court-martial: “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.”

We have been told that holding prisoners at Guantanamo for more than a decade is a necessary price for freedom.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Path to Closing Guantánamo

When I began as the State Department’s envoy for closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, many people advised me that progress was impossible. They were wrong.

In the two years before I started, on July 1, 2013, only four people were transferred from Guantánamo. Over the past 18 months, we moved 39 people out of there, and more transfers are coming. The population at Guantánamo — 127 — is at its lowest level since the facility opened in January 2002. We also worked with Congress to remove unnecessary obstacles to foreign transfers. We began an administrative process to review the status of detainees not yet approved for transfer or formally charged with crimes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Estados Unidos, hoy, tiene más de dos millones de reclusos. Entre ellos no se contabilizan los 137 que quedan en la prisión de Guantánamo, como ninguno de los que les antecedieron en la misma. Seguramente aquellos presos oficiales no sufrirán las técnicas de tortura que han padecido los denominados enemigos encerrados en una isla de impunidad bajo el Programa de Rendición, Detención e Interrogatorio, creado por George W. Bush, el 17 de septiembre del 2001 y que permitió a la CIA desarrollar métodos como el waterboarding (ahogamiento simulado), walling (golpear contra el muro), humillaciones y violencia sexual, golpes, amenazas de muerte, privación de sueño, “hidratación y alimentación rectal”, entre otras, en forma sistemática, hasta el cierre de ese siniestro programa en el 2009 por orden del presidente Obama, quien, sin embargo, no exigió al fiscal general que abriera ninguna investigación pero sí pidió “comprensión” para los torturadores.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nearly eight years ago, 14 men arrived at Guantánamo after years in Central Intelligence Agency custody. Since then, only one has been tried and convicted with the case upheld on appeal. That was Ahmed Ghailani, a Tanzanian national who received a life sentence for his role in the 1998 bombings of the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 223 people. Mr. Ghailani was tried in federal court in New York, and he is serving his sentence in a federal prison in the United States. His 13 comrades from the C.I.A. detention and interrogation program are still in limbo at Guantánamo, where justice for them and the families of their victims remains elusive.…  Seguir leyendo »

The transfer to civilian custody of accused al Qaeda operative Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, also known as Abu Anas al-Libi, presents the Obama administration with a high-profile opportunity to demonstrate the efficacy of prosecuting terrorist suspects in the U.S. criminal justice system. It also rebuts critics in Congress who maintain that military commissions at Guantanamo Bay are the only sensible venue for terrorism prosecutions.

Al-Libi, who was captured by U.S. military forces in Libya earlier this month, was indicted in 2000 with 20 other defendants in the Southern District of New York for his reputed role in the 1998 terrorist bombings of the U.S…  Seguir leyendo »

The detention facility on our military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is holding 166 individuals. Most of them have been there a decade or more.

Operating Guantanamo costs about $450 million a year — or about $2.7 million a detainee, according to the Defense Department. Consider this: It costs $78,000 to hold a convicted terrorist in the most secure federal prison in the United States, Supermax in Colorado. With the sequester stretching budgets and Defense Department employees under furloughs, the U.S. is spending, per Guantanamo detainee, roughly 35 times the amount it spends at Supermax detaining a convicted terrorist.

This is a massive misuse of taxpayer money.…  Seguir leyendo »

About two months ago I learned that some of my books had been banned at Guantánamo Bay. Apparently detainees were requesting them, and their lawyers were delivering them to the prison, but they were not being allowed in because of “impermissible content.”

I became curious and tracked down a detainee who enjoys my books. His name is Nabil Hadjarab, and he is a 34-year-old Algerian who grew up in France. He learned to speak French before he learned to speak Arabic. He has close family and friends in France, but not in Algeria. As a kid growing up near Lyon, he was a gifted soccer player and dreamed of playing for Paris St.-Germain,…  Seguir leyendo »

For the last week I have been fasting in solidarity with the men on hunger strike in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, forgoing all food and taking only liquids. I began day one thinking about a book I had recently read: former detainee Ahmed Errachidi's The General. Errachidi had worked as a chef in London for 18 years but was sold for a bounty to US forces after he travelled to Pakistan. He was finally released from the prison in 2007, but not before he had been held in isolation for three years and tortured relentlessly. The book describes his five and a half years in Guantánamo, being abused along with his fellow detainees.…  Seguir leyendo »

In his rush to pull out of Afghanistan, close Guantanamo and declare the fight against “violent extremists” over, President Obama is again pressing for Taliban peace talks just days after releasing a complete list of Gitmo detainees, finally identifying 46 of 166 men held in indefinite detention.

Though his broader strategy is highly suspect, the timing is impeccable. Orchestrating peace with the Taliban and efforts to dismantle indefinite detention at Gitmo naturally go hand in hand.

To help kick-start the process, the Taliban want to trade five Gitmo detainees who are top leaders for one U.S. soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who went missing from his post near Pakistan in 2009.…  Seguir leyendo »

Here I am in Guantánamo Bay. I was meant to be a Muslim extremist, one of the "worst of the worst", according to the former United States defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Indeed, because I am still here and 613 detainees have left, you might think that I am the worst of the worst of the worst – although perhaps the fact that I was cleared for release six years ago would give you pause for thought.

As I sit alone in my cell, I learn about acts of terrorism that take place around the world. Because the censors here do not let us have the news any more as a punishment for being on hunger strike, I have only heard the bare bones of what happened in Woolwich but, even without knowing all the facts, it is easy for me to condemn it.…  Seguir leyendo »

One man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch.…  Seguir leyendo »

A hunger strike is spreading at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp. The main reason, as the military has acknowledged, is the growing sense of frustration and despair among the detainees. As Gen. John Kelly, the head of U.S. Southern Command, explained to the House Armed Services Committee last week, detainees “had great optimism that Guantanamo would be closed. They were devastated . . . when the president backed off. . . . He said nothing about it in his inauguration speech. . . . He said nothing about it in his State of the Union speech. . . . He’s not restaffing the office that . …  Seguir leyendo »