US Government support for human rights merely a show?

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As the Guantanamo hunger strike enters its 120th day, the US House of Representatives has voted to keep the notorious detention center open in Cuba, blocking the use of taxpayer money to house any detainees transferred out of the prison.

Follow RT’s day-by-day timeline of the Gitmo hunger strike.

Although President Barack Obama said last month that he was determined to close the facility, where over 100 inmates have been on hunger strike since early February, the recent vote upheld a law blocking the use of taxpayer funds to build or renovate facilities in the US to house suspected terrorists and other prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

Obama first promised to shut down Guantanamo in 2008. Since then, relatives of detainees have held out hope they would be reunited with their husbands, brothers and sons. One family of a Yemeni inmate told RT’s sister channel Russia Al Youm it is unlikely they would ever see their loved ones ever again.

Obama’s recent promise to lift restrictions on Yemeni Gitmo detainees was greeted with sneers in the country. “America’s support for human rights is merely a show! It only cares about its own people, while it destroys the rights of all others. We’ve been suffering for 13 years now,” the mother of Abdurrakhman ash-Shbaty, a Yemeni terror suspect kept at the controversial detention center since 2002, told Abdelaziz Al Khayajim.

And after ash-Shbaty was arrested, his entire family was accused of terror links. “We’re tired of these nonstop lies. Obama remembers about Guantanamo only during election campaigns and on holidays. He promised to shut it down several times and to forward their cases to their home countries. These are all lies,” ash-Shbaty’s brother said.

In May, President Obama announced he was lifting his self-imposed ban on transferring Guantanamo detainees to Yemen, despite reports that detainees returned to Yemen have joined terrorist fighters in the Arab nation. These security concerns prompted Obama to suspend transfers to Yemen in 2010 after a Nigerian man attempted to blow up a US-bound flight on Christmas Day 2009 with explosives hidden in his underwear on instructions from Al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen.

According to Yemen experts in the US, security in the country has improved since last year’s ouster of authoritarian leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. In an effort to combat terror, his successor Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has restored cooperation with the US. Yemen is also demanding $20 million from Washington to build a rehab center for former Guantanamo detainees extradited to the country. The facility’s program would ostensibly discourage them from returning to militant activities.

http://rt.com/news/gitmo-detainee-yemen-relatives-244/

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New website reveals extent of secret CIA flight network of Guantanamo Detainees

A team of academics have launched the world’s largest interactive database detailing suspected CIA rendition flights, many of which may have transported detainees to Guantanamo Bay.

Scotland is the only country so far which has raised any questions on the alleged rendition activity on home soil.

The Rendition Project is a product of a collaborative research between Dr. Ruth Blakely from the University of Kent and Dr. Sam Raphael from Kingston University, London.

Now anyone with an internet connection can understand, view, and track over 11,000 CIA flights detainees may have been aboard between 2001 and 2006 under the US rendition program, a murky operation of secret detention and torture.

“Our purpose is to shed as much light as possible on this system,” Blakely told RT.

Blakely’s team has compiled a unique database sourced from freedom of information requests, testimonies from detainees, Red Cross reports, courtroom evidence, flight records, and invoices.

The data is categorized into four subcategories- flights which definitely had a detainee on board, those which are suspected of having suspected terrorists on board, and ‘dummy’ or test flights, and other circuit flights, all on 122 different US-registered civilian aircraft.

“Our main aim was to try and map the global rendition system to try and provide a comprehensive a picture as possible how rendition took place, which countries were involved,” Blakely told RT.

Most information was already in the public domain, but Blakely hopes by making it web-accessible, the project will assist human rights investigators and lawyers to defend the rights of detainees who have been victims to unfair torture or questionable tactics.

The site will help reveal “how the CIA managed to hide individuals in this system as it transported them around the world to hold them in prisons where they could be tortured and interrogated,” said Blakely.

Watch video and find out how to access the site. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLpKYPt9j-E

http://rt.com/news/secret-cia-flights-rendition–930/

Breaking News 80 to 90 Afghans held at British base without charges

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British troops in Afghanistan are holding 80 to 90 people, some for as long as 14 months, without charging them. Lawyers call it a ‘secret prison’ akin to Guantanamo Bay, but the government says the facility is operated legally.

The prisoners, Afghan nationals suspected of crimes or having links to insurgents, are kept in detention at Camp Bastion, the largest UK base in Afghanistan, housing some 30,000 troops. Normally British troops are supposed to hold prisoners in custody for no longer than 96 hours, but under exceptional circumstances longer detention is possible.

Apparently there are almost a hundred such exceptional cases currently. Lawyers acting for eight of the men say some of the prisoners have been held without charge for up to 14 months, arguing that it could be amount to unlawful detention. They also say that the situation has been kept a secret from the public.

“The UK could have trained the Afghan authorities to detain people lawfully with proper standards and making sure that they are treated humanely,” Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, told the BBC.

“Parliament has not been told that we have this secret facility,” he added.

UK Parliamentary officials found out about the camp themselves from press reports.

“I found out from the news outlets, but I do understand that it has been on the Ministry of Defence website for some time that there were people who were being held there,” British Labour MP, Barry Gardiner, told RT, going on to say:

“They’re being held without charge, but not without an end to the process,” in comparison to Guantanamo. “I don’t accept the parallel with Guantanamo, but I do agree that it is a very distressing matter that these men have been in detention for so long and it has not yet been brought to a judicial conclusion.”

British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed the detention of the prisoners and their number, but not the time of their detention. He said Ministry of Defence did nothing wrong in the situation and denied the allegation that the government failed to report about the prisoners, saying both the current cabinet and the previous one informed the parliament.

http://on.rt.com/jdm6go

Woman Interrupts President Obama Repeatedly on Gitmo

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President Obama had enough and adressess Woman who was shouting and interrupting him repeatedly during a Press Conference which included Guantanamo Bay on Gitmo during CNN’s Live Coverage. The woman it turns out is Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin.

Watch Video.  http://youtu.be/svkEUPP6FfQ

Gitmo hunger strike passes 100-day mark

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As the hunger strike of detainees at the U-S-run Guantanamo Bay prison reaches it’s a-hundred-and-first day, rights activists are raising awareness about the inmates’ rapidly-deteriorating health conditions. The U-S government’s response to the strike has been to force-feed the prisoners through two-foot tubes that run from their nostrils to their stomachs. The inhumane practice is causing a major concern for many.

Captain Jason Wright is representing two Gitmo detainees, one of whom has been held indefinitely for over 11 years without charge and has lost around 50 pounds since beginning the hunger strike more than 100 days ago.

The infamous prison is still open because the average American public sees the detainees there as terrorists. But according to former Chief Prosecutor of the Guantanamo military commissions, Colonel Morris Davis, a new trend is beginning to form. A recent petition launched by Davis has garnered over two-hundred-thousand signatures.

Diane Wilson is one such American who says the US government is committing egregious human rights violations in her name. Wilson has been on a hunger strike for 17 days now in solidarity with Gitmo detainees.

Each detainee costs US taxpayers around $nine-hundred-thousand dollars per year. Over half of the prison’s population has been cleared by the government for release.

Protests in solidarity with Gimo hunger strikers have been and will continue to take place. Activists are trying to build momentum in raising awareness of the American public about the worsening health conditions of the prisoners there. They hope it will increase political pressure on U-S President Barack Obama to honor his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/05/17/303962/gitmo-hunger-strike-passes-100day-mark/

‘Political football’: Gitmo detainees ‘abandoned’ by US government

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Left in legal limbo, desperation continues to drive the Guantanamo hunger strike on its 100th day. Facing a chronic lack of political will from Washington, the fate of the prisoners remains ambiguous, investigative journalist Andy Worthington argues.

On Thursday the number of Guantanamo’s 166 prisoners now taking part in the mass hunger strike reached 102. Thirty of the detainees are being force-fed, and three are being observed in the detainee hospital.

Follow RT’s day-by-day timeline of the Gitmo hunger strike.

In the eleven and a half years that the prisoners have been held in the detention camp, some 90 per cent of them have not been charged with a crime. That, coupled with the fact that many of the detainees were already cleared for release but have faced stiff resistance from Congress and equivocation from the White House, has forced the prisoners to risk life and health to be heard, Worthington told RT.

http://on.rt.com/dcnj95

Guantanamo Detainees being Sexually assaulted?

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As the Guantanamo hunger strike enters day 100, the inmates’ lawyers have revealed details of abuses their clients are subject to, while the prison authorities keep denying they are resorting to practices violating human rights.

A fair trial would have been a natural step. To have all of the parties heard and resolve the crisis, believes Clive Stafford Smith, founder of legal group Reprieve, and an attorney for several detainees in the Guantánamo Bay camp.

Follow RT’s day-by-day timeline of the Gitmo hunger strike.

RT spoke to the activist who was first to reveal some of the harsh methods allegedly used in Guantanamo, including degrading body searches, which inmates have to undergo just to phone their representatives.
http://rt.com/op-edge/gitmo-hunger-strike-lawyer-371/