Thursday, August 29, 2013

LGC Newsletter – August 2013

British Residents:
Singer PJ Harvey has released a song entitled “Shaker Aamer” to raise awareness about the case of the last Londoner held in Guantánamo Bay.
You can hear the track here:

Shaker Aamer protest outside New Scotland Yard
The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign held a series of protests around London to raise awareness about Shaker Aamer’s case, with protests outside MI6 headquarters New Scotland Yard and the steps of St Martin’s-in-the-Field in Trafalgar Square.

Guantánamo Bay:
Two prisoners were returned to Algeria on 29 August. The two men, Nabil Hadjarab, 34, and Mouati Sayab, 37, were among the first prisoners taken to Guantánamo Bay in 2002 and are the first to be released in almost one year. Neither had ever faced any charges or trial. There are no details yet about what has happened to them since their return to Algeria, however prisoners returned to the country are often held incommunicado for up to two weeks. Algeria does not give any assurances that it will not torture or persecute prisoners returned to the country. Former returnees have seen themselves subject to harassment, unfair trials and further imprisonment. Algeria is not a safe country for prisoners to return to, which is why prisoners such as former British resident Ahmed Belbacha have preferred to remain at Guantánamo Bay. Nabil Hadjarab had been one of the hunger striking prisoners and was force fed. The number of prisoners is now 164 and this latest move demonstrates that Barack Obama can free prisoners without being blocked by Congress when he wishes to.

At the end of August, the number of prisoners still on hunger strike is reported to be 36, with 32 being force fed by nasal tube. The hunger strike, however, which will shortly enter its seventh month and which has now been ongoing for longer than 200 days, is no closer to ending. Many prisoners temporarily ended their hunger strike during the Muslim month of fasting Ramadan, which ended on 8 August. The US military considers a prisoner to be on hunger strike when they have skipped 9 consecutive meals, thus if prisoners are taking the odd meal here and there, they are not considered to be on hunger strike.

According to a new report by investigative journalist Jason Leopold, “The U.S. Department of Defense has been urged to rescreen all Guantanamo prisoners to determine whether heavy doses of an anti-malarial drug administered at the facility between January 2002 and mid-2005 caused brain damage. The drug, mefloquine, was tagged last month with an FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] warning of possible side effects that range from depression and anxiety to psychosis and even suicide.” The FDA’s updated warning states: “Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or vertigo, tinnitus, and loss of balance have been reported. These adverse reactions may occur early in the course of mefloquine use and in some cases have been reported to continue for months or years after mefloquine has been stopped. Psychiatric symptoms ranging from anxiety, paranoia, and depression, to hallucinations and psychotic behavior, can occur with mefloquine use […] Cases of suicidal ideation and suicide have been reported.” It has also been recommended that the seven so-called cases of “suicide” at Guantánamo Bay are reinvestigated to determine whether the deaths were linked to mefloquine. The recommended dose is 250 milligrams for an adult with malaria, whereas each prisoner transferred there was administered 1250 milligrams, and there were only two reported cases of malaria in the period.
Many prisoners released from Guantánamo Bay have complained about being forced to take different kinds of drugs against their will over the years of their detention.

Pre-trial hearings continued this month in the cases of five prisoners accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001 and the case of Abd Al-Nashiri, accused of involvement in the bombing of US military vessels off the coast of Yemen in 2000. All six men face the death penalty. Arguments related to what evidence can be revealed to the defendants, their role in the trials and their lawyers’ ability to represent them as a result. Problems with technological facilities were also raised. Real trials in both cases are expected to start next year.

The latest installation of the popular Splinter Cell computer game franchise, Blacklist, involves a sequence where protagonist and super-spy Sam Fisher breaks into Guantánamo Bay posing as a prisoner, allowing players to torture prisoners. The visuals of the game provide a close look at the prison camp and as with all games in the series, a highly biased pro-US military slant.
A view of the level can be seen at:  

LGC Activities:
August "Shut Down Guantánamo" demonstration
The August monthly “Shut Down Guantánamo!” demonstration took place on 1 August and was a solidarity demonstration with the dozens of prisoners on hunger strike in California against the state’s policy of using long-term solitary confinement as a means of punishment for prisoners, sometimes extending decades with serious physiological and psychological consequences. Solitary confinement is also used at Guantánamo Bay. Ten people attended this demonstration.
The September demonstration will be at 12-1pm outside the US Embassy and 1.15-2.15pm outside Speaker’s Corner, opposite Marble Arch, Hyde Park, on Thursday 5 September:    

Dan Viesnik from the London Guantánamo Campaign spoke to Russia Today about the ongoing hunger strike and the repressive measures taken to deal with it on 1st August:

Val Brown from the London Guantánamo Campaign spoke at the CND’s annual Hiroshima Day event in Tavistock Square on 6th August to mark the 68th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima in Japan:

The London Guantánamo Campaign marked the 200th day of the current Guantánamo hunger strike with a brief action at the Notting Hill Carnival in west London and an online Twitter storm, which trended at number 5 in the UK for a while. Activists from the Campaign against American Bases also held a vigil outside NSA Menwith Hill, a US army base.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

200 Days of Guantánamo Hunger Strike Twitter Storm Package: 6pm BST today!

#GTMO200 Twitter storm Package!
** DO NOT BEGIN TWEETING UNTIL 13:00 EST/ 12:00 CST/ 18:00 BST/ 19:00 CET **

Raise awareness through social media that the current Guantanamo Bay hunger strike has now reached the 200-day mark. The mainstream media has overlooked the seriousness of the issue and the US government has responded with increased violence and repression of prisoners held without charge and trial for almost 12 years.

Date & Time: Sunday, 25 August:  13:00 EST/ 12:00 CST/ 18:00 BST/ 19:00 CET

Length: 1 hour

Copy + Paste these tweets. Do NOT retweet, the hashtag will not trend.

If you are writing your own tweets, make sure to include the #GTMO200 hashtag!
Suggested Tweets:
#GTMO200 @BarackObama close Guantanamo or give back your Nobel peace prize

#GTMO200 Guantanamo is a crime against humanity

#GTMO200 200 days of #GitmoHungerStrike – how has it come to this?

#GTMO200 @barackobama show us a change we can believe in - shut down Guantanamo, make good on your promises

#GTMO200 @David_Cameron @FCOHumanRights why is #ShakerAamer still held without charge or trial at #Guantanamo after almost 12 years?

#GTMO200 having lunch with @BarackObama at #Guantanamo these days ain't no picnic #closegitmo” #London

#GTMO200 "‘US support for human rights merely a show’ – relatives of Yemeni Gitmo detainee"  #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 Adnan Latif deceased hunger striker died due to "Widespread Breakdown of Safeguards at Gitmo"

#GTMO200 hunger strikes can lead to long-term health problems, organ failure and fatalities #GitmoHungerStrike #CAHungerStrike

#GTMO200 “Guards are sexually assaulting me, says the last Briton in Guantanamo Bay” #ShakerAamer

#GTMO200 ‘#Gitmo is Killing Me’ #SamirMoqbel #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 ‘I will not eat until they restore my dignity.’ #SamirMoqbel

#GTMO200 ‘I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.’ #SamirMoqbel #Gitmo

#GTMO200 ‘I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way.’ #SamirMoqbel #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 ‘I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.’ #SamirMoqbel #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 'I hope that because of the pain we are suffering,the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.'

#GTMO200 ‘Death is Preferable to Life at Obama’s Guantanamo’ #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 hunger strikes can kill: 8 of 9 deaths of prisoners at #Guantanamo were previous hunger strikers,died in "suspicious circumstances"

#GTMO200 @BarackObama ‘I don't want these individuals to die’… so I will force feed them instead #GitmoHungerStrike #CAHungerStrike

#GTMO200 Grandmother's hunger strike for Guantanamo Bay's #ShakerAamer @widowsforpeace

#GTMO200 'I am meant to sleep on concrete, and when I say alone, I mean alone in a very lonely world' #ShakerAamer 

#GTMO200 ‘When you’ve  not eaten for two months or more, having any food sit around in the cell is pure torture’

#GTMO200 #ShakerAamer ‘I often quote 1984 by George Orwell ‘Torture is for torture, the System is for the System.’’

#GTMO200 Gitmo hunger striker: 'What more can they do to me?' #ShakerAamer

#GTMO200 PJ Harvey Releases New Track 'Shaker Aamer' for Guantanamo Detainee #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 PJ Harvey’s Harrowing & Brilliant Protest Song in Support of Guantanamo Prisoner Shaker Aamer

#GTMO200 @FrankieBoyle goes on hunger strike to support #ShakerAamer - the last British detainee in Guantánamo Bay

#GTMO200 @FrankieBoyle hunger strike in support of #ShakerAamer #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 Judge: Only @BarackObama has the power to end the force feeding at #Guantanamo #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 #ThankManning for the#Guantanamo Files

#GTMO200 #NabilHadjarab, un triste anniversaire: a birthday while on hunger strike

#GTMO200 Guantánamo Bay: the US was dead wrong, but no one can admit it #JohnGrisham #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 @BarackObama this is a hunger strike, not Weightwatchers; it’s not about the numbers, it’s the years of indefinite detention & torture

#GTMO200 don’t forget the prisoners on hunger strike at #Guantanamo and in #California #GitmoHungerStrike #CAHungerStrike

#GTMO200 more than half of remaining 166 #Guantanamo prisoners cleared for release – why not let them go home?

#GTMO200 in almost 12 years of #Guantanamo, only a handful of charges and even less convictions and even those can be appealed

#GTMO200 @BarackObama you know #Guantanamo is not working, so why not close it down?

#GTMO200 the system ain’t work and the hunger strike has now spread to #California #GitmoHungerStrike #CAHungerStrike

#GTMO200 @BarackObama do you even know what the #GitmoHungerStrikers’ demands are?

#GTMO200 They are artists of torture, They are artists of pain and fatigue, They are artists of insults and humiliation - #Adnan Latif 1/3

#GTMO200 Where is the world to save us from torture? Where is the world to save us from the fire and sadness? - #AdnanLatif 2/3

#GTMO200 Where is the world to save the hunger strikers? - #AdnanLatif 3/3

#GTMO200 #AdnanLatif died at #Guantanamo September 2012, former hunger striker

#GTMO200 Shock video ft. Mos Def re-enacts gruesome Gitmo-style force-feeding @mosdefofficial

#GTMO200 Mos Def Force-Fed Gitmo Detainee Style #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) force-fed under standard Guantánamo Bay procedure – video

#GTMO200 How we marked 100 days of the #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 100 days ago…outside US Embassy #London

#GTMO200 @chunkymark on the #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 Still Starving for Justice #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 How we marked 3 months of the #GitmoHungerStrike…now day 200!!

#GTMO200 speaking on day 100 of #GitmoHungerStrike this little girl’s father is still on hunger strike in Iraq

#GTMO200 And what about the prisoners at #Bagram @BarackObama?

#GTMO200 The hunger strike song #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 @BarackObama end the hunger strike & #closegitmo
#GTMO200 that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into @BarackObama #GitmoHungerStrike #CAHungerStrike

#GTMO200 almost 12 years without charge or trial & indefinite detention? This is a hostage crisis

#GTMO200 @BarackObama the prisoners at #Guantanamo who you hold without charge or trial or evidence have families too

#GTMO200 Guantánamo Bay 'is a two-finger salute to the rest of the world' #GitmoHungerStrike

#GTMO200 How we marked 100 days of the #GitmoHungerStrike in the UK:

#GTMO200 Revised Guantanamo force-feed policy exposed #GitmoHungerStrike
Why this Twitter storm?
Saturday 25 August marks day 200 of the current hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay. A protest that started in February 2013 against worsening conditions of detention and perpetual indefinite detention without charge or trial that has already lasted almost 12 years for almost all the prisoners, the response was first denial, followed by repression and torture, through the use of solitary confinement, the removal of personal items from cells, beatings, physical searches tantamount to rape, the use of plastic bullets, force feeding by nasal tube and other forms of disproportionate pressure against debilitated prisoners.

While the number of prisoners reported to be on hunger strike more than six months later has fallen to around 40, with several dozen being force fed, this does not mean that the hunger strike is any closer to ending. Promises made by President Obama to look into the issue and the detention of prisoners again have yet to produce any concrete results three months later. Although he recently appointed an official within the State Department to look into the release of prisoners, he had fired the person he had previously chosen to do this job in 2009 a week before this year’s hunger strike started.

Many people are still unaware of this hunger strike and the mainstream media has played down its importance, focusing mainly on the process of force feeding and the use of force and less on the reasons for the hunger strike and the prisoners’ legitimate demand to know why they are still held there after almost 12 years without any charges against them or prospects of release. Hunger strikes can be fatal and cause long-term serious health problems.
Please join us to raise awareness and show solidarity with the Guantánamo hunger strikers. Follow us on Twitter @shutguantanamo

Saturday, August 24, 2013

MEDIA RELEASE: Activists to mark 200 days of Guantánamo Hunger Strike at Notting Hill Carnival, Sunday 25th August, 1-3pm

24 August 2013 - For immediate release
On Sunday 25 August, the current hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay will enter its 200th day.  Thirty seven prisoners are currently reported to be on hunger strike, almost all of whom are said to be force fed by nasal tube [1]. The hunger strikers being force fed include British residents Shaker Aamer [2] and Ahmed Belbacha [3].
Activists from the London Guantánamo Campaign [4] will hold an action at the Notting Hill Carnival in west London at 1-3pm with activists in orange jumpsuits and black hoods to raise awareness of this increasingly desperate situation.
Aisha Maniar, an organiser from the London Guantánamo Campaign, said:
“Just as President Obama’s recent pledges to take action on Guantánamo Bay bring the world no nearer to the closure of this twenty first century concentration camp, the recent reported fall in the number of prisoners on hunger strike is not indicative that the action is coming to an end. This is not a question of statistics or a maths problem, but the more fundamental issue of how the US can continue to imprison 166 men, almost wholly without charge or trial for nearly 12 years, and then counter their legitimate, peaceful protest with violence and torture?”
Contact:          E-mail:     
1. There are currently 166 prisoners still held at Guantánamo Bay.
4. The London Guantánamo Campaign campaigns for justice for all prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, for the closure of this and other secret prisons, and an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sunday 25 August: London Guantánamo Campaign to mark 200 days of Guantánamo Hunger Strike

The current ongoing hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay will enter its 200th day on 25 August. To show solidarity with the prisoners and their families, and to raise awareness of their plight, the London Guantánamo Campaign will mark this date with two actions:

1: Action at the Notting Hill Carnival
Between 1 and 3pm, the London Guantánamo Campaign will visit the Notting Hill Carnival in west London with activists wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods and raising awareness about the hunger strike among the general public.
The Carnival is attended by over one million people each year and is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness, as well as coinciding with this date. We last held an action at the Notting Hill Carnival in 2008 when campaigning for local resident Binyam Mohamed; he returned to the UK in early 2009. His return was sought at the same time as that of Shaker Aamer, who remains at Guantánamo Bay, and on hunger strike. Why has he not returned as well?
We are looking for volunteers for this action. Please get in touch with us if you are attending and would like to get involved: by e-mail

2: Twitter storm at 6pm BST/ 1pm EST
The London Guantánamo Campaign will also hold a Twitter storm at 6pm BST to raise awareness. Full details will be provided on our website with the relevant hashtag and tweets for this purpose closer to the time. You can take part if you are on Twitter from anywhere in the world on an electronic device with internet access. Check out our website: or follow us on Twitter @shutguantanamo
Please contact us at the above e-mail address if you require any further details.

The current hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay has been ongoing since 6 February this year. While the number of prisoners taking part has recently been reported to have fallen to around 50 from a reported maximum of over100 prisoners, out of the remaining 166, held almost wholly without charge or trial for nearly12 years, this does not mean that the hunger strike is close to ending. Instead, the US now faces a larger hunger strike of over 1000 prisoners in California and has this week ruled to allow prisoners on hunger strike in prolonged solitary confinement there to be force fed in the same manner as at Guantánamo Bay. Join our actions and show your solidarity.
On 17 March, the London Guantánamo Campaign held the first demonstration anywhere in support of the Guantánamo hunger strikers and on the weekend of 17-19 May, we led an international weekend of action to mark the 100th day of the hunger strike
It is unfortunate that we will soon mark the 200th day of this dangerous and life-threatening action by prisoners held as hostages by the US administration for almost 12 years.
Join us in taking action – if you are planning an action elsewhere in the UK, please let us know about it.