Monday, August 19, 2013

Tarak's letter

First person Account of Guantanamo

After 58 days of my own hunger strike in solidarity with the prisoners at Guantanamo, I have little patience for the bigotry, ignorance and gullibility of Robert Fusco, who wrote last week defending force-feeding and other criminal Obama policies concerning Guantanamo prison.

At any rate, here are some facts to keep in mind.

During its 11 years of existence, the prison has violated international human rights laws by holding prisoners without charges or right to trial and subjecting them to severe conditions, including indefinite detention, prolonged solitary confinement, physical violence, and psychological abuse.

Most Gitmo detainees were imprisoned illegally and have never been charged with a crime. Most were arbitrarily taken and turned in to the U.S. government after 9/11 by opportunists and/or disgruntled neighbors who received bounties of $2,000-$5,000 for pointing a finger at a neighbor or Arab foreigner. Over 90% of those incarcerated at Guantanamo were never even remotely connected to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

Gitmo has been condemned internationally for inflicting cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Interrogation tactics and practices of torture include sleep deprivation, water-boarding, shackling in stress positions, extended exposure to very cold temperatures, beatings, religious and sexual humiliation.

It is in response to such horrific conditions that prisoners resort to the extreme measure of hunger striking.

Robert Fusco’s opinionated letter stated “it is also a hunger strike done by . . . individuals who believe suicide is rewarded in the afterlife, especially if they kill a mass of innocents with them.”

One wonders how long Fusco has been mainlining Donald Rumsfeld’s brand of bigotry and hatred.

The prisoners want to be free to live, like all people, not just exist in what must be equated with hell itself.  The hunger strike is the only option they have left to call attention to their plight.

Obama and Congress’ indifference and inaction are heartless but that’s no surprise.  Diane Wilson, the writer of An Unreasonable Woman and a 58 day water-only solidarity hunger striker, said, “If the chains of American indifference continue, hard and unabated, as they currently have been, then the men of Guantanamo Bay might remain there until hell freezes over."

I just returned from the 2013 Veterans For Peace National Convention in Madison.  Captain James Yee, former prison chaplain at Guantanamo, gave a chilling account of what actually transpires at Gitmo, as well as his own experience when accused of aiding the enemy.  To watch the video, google “James Yee at VFP. “